Startup Revolution: Top 3 Industries in Qatar

Qatar is fast establishing itself as the next space to watch amongst Emerging Venture Markets. The country’s startup ecosystem has witnessed rapid development, growing at a CAGR of 67% between 2016 and 2020.

Not only has the ecosystem successfully sustained the impact of COVID-19 but is also on its way to another exemplary year. As we close in on half-year 2021, MAGNiTT’s data revealed that Qatari startups have already exceeded the funding they raised in full-year 2020. At this pace, we could see Qatar’s entrepreneurship space outperform the QR41M raised in 2017, highest over the past few years.

With more and more startups leading the way, we set out to discover which industries are on the forefront of prompting tech innovation in Qatar.

1. Fintech

As observed across MENA, Qatar’s Fintech space is gaining increasing popularity amongst startups and investors. With four registered transactions in 2020*, the industry ranked first in Qatar by deal count. In terms of funding, Fintech startups accounted for 9% of capital deployed in the country in 2020.

The industry has recorded three additional deals so far in 2021, amounting to over QR15M. Fintech startup SkipCash raised a Seed round in April 2021 that contributed to 50% of this amount.

*As MAGNiTT continues to strive for data accuracy and completeness, this number now stands at seven, as reflected on our data charts


2. E-commerce

E-commerce accounted for two of the largest deals in Qatar in 2020. Startups Snoonu and Urban Point together contributed to one-fifth of capital deployed in the country in the year. With the onset of COVID-19, the funds raised by Qatari E-commerce ventures spiked by 40x.

Furthermore, with three deals claiming QR19M in 2021, the sector is leading the country’s startup industries in terms of funding. Two more Snoonu deals, backed by Qatar Development Bank and Qatar Fintech Hub, were primarily responsible for this surge in capital.

3. Home Services

Home Services stood to draw plenty of positives from the pandemic as the need for digitalization and convenience rose. The sector saw startups close three deals in 2020, with the largest being Ebultler’s QR1M round. In 2021, BFive Qatar closed a QR99K round to keep the industry relevant even after the waves of the pandemic have relatively settled.

2020 marked an improvement from the sector’s performance in 2019 when only one startup raised funding from the industry. This QR1M round also belonged to Ebutler.

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