Over $1BN invested in MENA’s startup ecosystem in 2020 across 496 deals

What’s Inside: The report identifies trends in capital allocation in these industries across MENA countries, startup maturity stages and across various business types. It also deep dives into the top investment rounds of the top 7 industries in MENA, as well as into the 5-year evolution of each sector. The appendix of the report gives details on deals and funding across all industries in the region that happened in 2020.


• Shifts in industry focus in 2020: Despite the overall drop of venture capital transactions across all industries, the top 7 tech sectors all saw increased funding YoY, especially Healthcare, Food & Beverage, and E-Commerce. This indicated re-prioritization of industries according to their relevance in the COVID-19 crisis

• Specialization of the 3 innovation hubs in MENA: Capital allocation in the top 7 sectors clearly revealed the focus of 3 innovation hubs, the UAE, Egypt, and KSA, in specific industries, such as FinTech, Healthcare, Transport or E-Commerce

• Shifts in stages in 2020: The average tickets across all industries trended up, indicating the investors’ preferences to larger and less risky investment rounds. Although 4/5th of the deals registered in MENA-based startups occurred in the rounds <$3M, the vast majority of funding was allocated to the deals >$3M

• Less mega deals and more consistency in capital inflows across industries: Within 5 years, the spread across average transaction sizes in the top 7 sectors shrank from the range of $0.3M - $50.4M to $1.6M - $5.8M, with more niche technologies attracting more VC investments and less mega deals happening across MENA

• Business Types Shifts: The split in 2020 funding revealed a clear focus on consumer-oriented B2C solutions in Education, E-Commerce, and Healthcare, while other sectors were dominated by funding in B2B enterprise ventures

• Both MENA-based and international investors were cherry-picking their deals: While E-Commerce was the top sector in terms of capital invested in 2020, FinTech attracted the largest number of active investors and was almost the only industry that saw the number of investors increase YoY. International investors showed an increased interest in F&B, Healthcare, and FinTech


*This report aggregates and analyses tech startup investments in 17 countries in the Middle East and North Africa - listed alphabetically: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (KSA), Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Yemen. 

Since 2016, MENA-based technology startups have been growing both in number and size. With increased funding, government support, and international interest, the region’s once-upon-a-time nascent startup ecosystem showed the signs of maturity. In 2020, MENA VC investment data has revealed gradual diversification of the industries involved in digital transformation, as well as prioritization of certain sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The chart below shows a comparison between the number of deals in 2019 to 2020 for the top 7 performing industries, displaying the effect of the pandemic on investment activity in the MENA region’s startup ecosystem.

Below you can find a presentation of a sample from the report to see what is included:



Access previous Venture Capital Funding Reports:

MENA Venture Investment Report 2021 
MENA Venture Investment Report Q3 2020 
MENA Venture Investment Report H1 2020 
MENA Venture Investment Report Q1 2020
MENA Venture Investment Report 2019
MENA Venture Investment Report Q3 2019



This report was created with data from MAGNiTT, which is a comprehensive directory of emerging tech and new business strategies through tools like:


Investment directories, a comprehensive list of all startup venture funding across the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, and Turkey

Market Sizing Tools to visualize investment growth and trends across industries, geographies, and stage

Startup Resources including a deal flow tool for applications to leading Venture Capitalists for investment

Exit comparisons, looking at Mergers & Acquisitions from across the region 


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