Islamic Finance

MENA start-ups received more than $1 bln in VC funding in 2020 – study

For the first time ever, start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa received more than $1 billion in venture capital last year, says a new study.

Start-up data platform Magnitt said VC funding in the MENA region reached $1.031 billion last year, up 13% from 2019. Funding volumes were bigger as total deal count decreased by 13% to 496, said the Dubai-based company.

$1.031 billion:

  • $711 million in disclosed funding
  • $170 million estimated undisclosed proxy
  • $150 million of what Magnitt considers “mega deals” of more than $100 million

There was only one mega deal last year, $150 million that went to Dubai-based Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG). The Series E round was led by OLX Group. EPMG’s property portals include Bayut in Dubai, Zameen in Pakistan, and Mubawab in North Africa.

Key MENA stats from Magnitt’s Emerging Venture Markets report:

  • Top 3 countries by number of deals: UAE 26%, Egypt 24%, Saudi Arabia 18%
  • Top 3 countries by investment value: UAE 56%, Egypt 17%, Saudi Arabia 15%
  • Top sectors: E-commerce $162 mln (12% of total deals), F&B $122 mln (5% of total deals), Healthcare $72 mln (5% of total deals)
  • Top 5 funding rounds: EMPG $150 mln Series E, Kitopi $60 mln Series B, Vezeeta $40 mln Series D, Jahez $36.5 mln Series A, $35 mln Series C
  • Investors with >10 deals: 500 Startups, Oqal, Saudi Venture Capital Company, Vision Ventures, OTF Techween, Flat6Labs Cairo, Impact 46, Shorooq Partners, Startupbootcamp Smart  City, Global Ventures, Misk 500 Accelerator, OTF Wadi Accelerators

Separately from MENA data, Magnitt also gave details for Turkey and Pakistan.


VC funding in Turkey almost tripled last year to $383 million: $239 million disclosed funding, $14 million undisclosed proxy, $130 million from one mega deal that went to online furniture platform Vivense. The Series E round was led by private equity firm Actera Group

  • Total number of deals increased by 10% to 140 transactions
  • Top sectors: E-commerce (37% share of total funding), Delivery & Logistics (12%), Ads & Marketing (10%)
  • Top funding rounds: Vivense $130 mln Series E, Getir $38 mln Series A, Insider $32 mln Series C
  • Most active investors: Teknasyon, TechOne Venture Capital, twozero Ventures, Keiretsu Forum


In Pakistan, VC funding was up by 97% to $77 million, from 48 deals: $66 million disclosed, $11 million undisclosed proxy.

  • Top sectors: Transport (28% share of total funding), E-commerce (21%), Delivery & Logistics (17%)
  • Top funding rounds: Airlift Technologies $22 mln Series A, Bykea $13 mln Series B, Finja $9 mln Series A
  • Top investors: Karavan, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Indus Valley Capital, Lakson Investments Venture Capital, Sarmayacar, Walled City Co, Y Combinator

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