2019 has been a revolutionary year for the MENA startup ecosystem with a total of $704 million venture capital funding. Let us now find out how the first quarter of 2020 has has gone.
MENA-based startups raising $277 million VC funding in the first quarter of 2020 – according to Magnitt’s Q1 2020 MENA Venture Investment report.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the VC investment in MENA startups came down to 22 percent compared to Q1 2019. The report denoted that the majority of startup funding came in January and February which was before the COVID-19 lockdowns took hold of the economies.
Top funding deals of MENA startup ecosystem – Q1 2020
The following top funding updates of MENA are listed in descending order i.e. highest to lowest funding amount.
1. Kitopi – Dubai-based cloud kitchen platform raises $60 Mn from Knollwood and Lumia Capital
The Dubai, UAE-based Kitopi, a delivery platform for restaurants across UAE, US, UK, Kuwait and KSA in February raised $60 million in a Series B round led by US-based Knollwood and Lumia Capital with participation from existing investors including BECO, CE-Ventures, GIC, Rise Capital, Reshape, Global Ventures and Wilshire Lane Partners.
2. Vezeeta – Egypt-based healthtech platform raises $40 Mn funding from Gulf Capital
Vezeeta, the Cairo, Egypt-based digital healthtech platform in February scooped $40 million in a Series D round led by Gulf Capital. Existing investors Saudi Technology Ventures (STV) also participated in the funding round. The platform quickly enables patients in the Middle East and Africa to search, review and book doctors, and medical services. The company is operating in over 50 cities across Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon and claims generate 4 million annual appointments, tripling year over year.
3. SellAnyCar raises $35 Mn funding to expand to KSA
The UAE-based SellAnyCar.com in February raised $35 million from Sanabil Investments (a subsidiary of Public Investment Fund, KSA), Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC), and Olayan Financing Company. The US-based Evercore, an advisory firm acted as a financial advisor for SellAnyCar for the latest funding deal.
4. Saudi’s online grocery platform Nana scoops $18 Mn from STV, MEVP, Wamda & more
One of the fastest-growing tech startups in the Kingdom, Nana in March raised a whopping sum of $18 million in a Series B round led by Saudi Technology Ventures (STV) and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) with participation from its existing investors including Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Wamda Capital, Watar Partners, and Impact46.
5. iMile – Dubai’s last-mile delivery startup scoops $10 Mn from a China-based VC
Dubai-based last-mile delivery startup iMile in January raised $10 million in a Pre-Series A funding round led by a China-based venture capital firm, as reported by The National. The name of the venture capital firm has not been disclosed yet.
6. Okadoc scoops $10 Mn – MENA’s largest Healthtech Series A funding
Dubai-based instant doctor appointment booking platform Okadoc on Wednesday (12 February) announced at the Step Conference that it has raised $10 million Series A round led by Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Ithmar Capital Partners.
To sum up
It is clear that the majority of top fundings in the MENA based startups came in February, which was before the COVID-19 lockdowns, still Nana raised a gigantic $18 million in March. The rate of funding came 22 percent down as compared to the same time last year, but it is wise to say that the first quarter of 2020 would have gone better than that of 2019 if we were not hit by the pandemic