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Startup Investments: The evolution of the MENA ecosystem in 2016 [Report] 


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2016 was a booming year for investments, with startups collecting over $815 million. Two regional companies, Careem and, achieved the coveted ‘unicorn’ valuation, making them the first companies in the region to do so.

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Startup Investments: The evolution of the MENA ecosystem in 2016 [Report] 

  1. 1. Startup Investment Report 2016 Highlights of the MENA region March 2017
  2. 2. 8% 63% 18% 12% 2016 was a favorable year for MENA startups Startup Investment Report 2016 2Wamda Research Lab 59% 30% 9% 2% Investment Stages Seed Series A Series B Series C $815M+ Collected by Startups in 2016 $350M Careem $121M Top 5 Rounds (After Careem & Souq) 67M Bayut 20M Propertyfinder 20M The Luxury Closet 7.8M Holiday.ME 7M $69M Raised by 32 Startups By number of investments: $275M In addition to 28 undisclosed deals By transaction value: 𝑛1 = 53 1: The sample consisted only of stages publicly disclosed by the involved parties
  3. 3. Fintech Ecommerce Food & Dining Cars 20% 14% 8% 8% Egypt currently has the largest share of seed stage investments and further investments at the Seed and Series A stages are likely to increase given the $55.6M in raised by two funds to support Egypt’s startups The UAE remains the most prominent startup hub in the region, with the highest concentration of investments and the region’s two unicorns: and Careem. 6 7 15 16.3 11.4 13.2 UAE Jordan Lebanon Egypt Disclosed Investments / Country Number of Deals Disclosed Amounts ($M) 27 764 Startup Investment Report 2016 3Wamda Research Lab With Investments concentrated in four hubs 50% of investments were dedicated to four sectors: % of investments
  4. 4. Startup Investment Report 2016 4Wamda Research Lab In addition to increasing financial support Venture Capital 41% Corporate Venture 29% Private Equity 9% Support Institution 7% Other 14% Corporate venture capital forms a sizable portion of this year’s investors, which comes with a surfeit of benefits for startups that include access to markets and distribution channels otherwise unavailable. In addition, the emergence of late stage private equity deals from non- MENA investment firms in the UAE signals investor confidence in the potential of regional tech companies. This marks the beginning of the UAE’s transition into a mature ecosystem. Available funding rose 287% above the disclosed 2015 amounts. Moreover, there is an increased focus on providing funding past the seed stage (Only 4 of the 11 new funds target seed stage companies exclusively). This is crucial to bridging the funding gap that would enable startups to effectively scale up and expand internationally. Turn8 Fund $60M Seed Innov Invest $51M Seed Ibtikar Fund $12M Seed Flat6Labs Fund $5.6M Seed Algebra Capital $50M Series A/B Dubai Future Accelerators Fund $275M Multi-Stage Oman Technology Fund $200M Multi-Stage Hikma Ventures $30M Multi-Stage Bedaya $16M Multi-Stage Riyadh Tanqia Capital $133M SME-Focused Who were the investors of 2016? $833M In Venture Capital Raised by 10 new funds
  5. 5. Fintech 10% E-Commerce 9% Cars 6% Ad Tech 6% Software 6% Analytics 6% Learning 4% 1 Others 49% Consumer Productivity 6% Startup Investment Report 2016 5Wamda Research Lab Furthermore, 2016 saw an uptick of startup acquisitions Investors and founders currently favour consumer services sectors Acquirer Acquired Sector My Fatoorah Taajr (60% Acquired) Fintech Network International Emerging Markets Payments($340M) Fintech Talabat ($3M) E-Commerce Careem Savaree Travel Selektimmo Real Estate El Grocer E-Commerce Wuzzuf Viriphy Recruitment Stillfront Group Babil Games ($17M) Gaming The rise in M&A activity amongst startups may represent the early stages of consolidation in some sectors which can catalyze the development of regional powerhouses in multiple industries. Startups Founded in 2016 M&A Activity
  6. 6. Startup Investment Report 2016 6Wamda Research Lab Regional investments occurred against a backdrop of supportive governmental & academic initiatives  New federal bankruptcy law encouraging investment and increasing the ease of doing business  Launch of Dubai Future Accelerators program  Abu Dhabi Global Market launch the region’s first Fintech regulatory sandbox  Announcement of Vision 2030 aimed at diversifying the economy in addition to the plan to establish a $1.1B fund to support SME growth  New banking law in Morocco legitimizes digital currencies, in addition to allowing the creation of cards (pre-paid) by non-bank institutions. This law goes into effect at the end of 2016  New York University Abu Dhabi introduces Venture Launchpad, a 10- day entrepreneurship boot camp to complement their entrepreneurship platform and incubator  American University of Sharjah and the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre sign an MoU to develop UAE talent through the Entaliq Scholarship Program  King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Saudi British Bank (SABB) launch the ‘Taqadam’ Accelerator  The University of Jordan establishes an Innovation center  The American University of Beirut announces its innovation center
  7. 7. Startup Investment Report 2016 7Wamda Research Lab Coupled with rising efforts from private support institutions 15 Accelerators launched 26 Major events organized  Most active organizers: Wamda, Seedstars, and Arabnet  BDL Accelerate 2016 had the highest attendance at 20,000 people  STEP Conference, BDL Accelerate, and RiseUp are the top 3 most attended regional events 5600 12600 30000 2014 2015 2016 Attendance at the top 3 events Examples of Founding Partners:
  8. 8. Corporates playing a bigger role Global corporate investments in the form of Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) or direct investments were present in 15% of the total deals closed. In MENA, this figure reached 29% in 2016 . Some notable funds: Globally, venture capital is showing some noticeable trends Startup Investment Report 2016 8Wamda Research Lab Global VC funding slips Global funding levels fell during the second half of 2016, particularly during the final quarter. Total VC deals amounted to $21.8B, the lowest figure since Q1 of 2014 (KPMG). 2016 also marks the first year that total VC funding fell on a year-on-year basis since 2012, accompanied by a steady decrease in deal numbers that started in Q1 2015. The global decrease in deals appears to be concentrated in the Americas and Asia, as European deal growth remains positive over the past years (Atomico). Highest relative decline was among the seed stage The total number of seed stage deals drastically decreased globally, standing at 33% of all deals in Q3 2016; the lowest it has dipped in five quarters (KPMG). This decrease was likely driven by market uncertainty during the second half of 2016 as well as a rising preference for later stage deals targeting more established companies. Interestingly, the percentage of seed investments in the UAE stands at 38% (MENA: 59%), further indicating a shifting preference towards later stage deals $2.7B Dedicated to CVC funds by European corporations (Atomico) BMW i Ventures bolster their fund by 500% to $500M with a focus on urban mobility Google Ventures is raising a new $230M fund targeting the healthcare sector
  9. 9. Authors: Tarek Faycal, Elias Boustani Contributors: Jonas Feller, Edoardo Giorgetti Editors: Maya Rahal, Dana Ballout Wamda is a platform of integrated programs that aims to accelerate entrepreneurship ecosystems throughout the MENA region. Its core focus includes media, community development, research and corporate and government advisory services. In the past few years, Wamda has become the leading grassroots community and knowledge platform for entrepreneurs and supporting stakeholders. The Wamda Research Lab is Wamda’s research program that produces studies on entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and seeks to foster thought leadership in this field. Its agenda is to inform investors, policymakers, and other stakeholders on barriers to and solutions for developing entrepreneurship in MENA. MENA Investment Report by the Wamda Research Lab is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).
  10. 10. Appendix Startup Investment Report 2016 10Wamda Research Lab
  11. 11. Startup Investment Report 2016 11Wamda Research Lab I. Resources MENA Ecosystem Data (Figures & Graphs) : Wamda Research Lab Data & Analysis Atomico, 2016: The State of European Tech. KPMG Enterprise, 2017: Venture Pulse Q4 2016. KPMG Enterprise, 2016: Venture Pulse Q3 2016.
  12. 12. Wamda Capital Ibtikar Fund 500 Startups Arzan VC BECO Capital Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) twofour54 A15 Equitrust Precinct Partners Silicon Badia Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund’s (EAEF) Jabbar Internet Group Levant Investment Bank Samih Toukan Addventure Al Tayyar Group Alsop Louie Partners Amr Awadallah Aramex Ventures Startup Investment Report 2016 12Wamda Research Lab II. Investors B&Y Partners Berytech Fund BPI France Cairo Amman Bank Capital Bank Digital Currency Group Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority Endeavor Catalyst Fund Etihad Bank Force Over Mass Capital Fransabank iMena Group Insure & Match Capital iSME Holdings Isource Jim Payne Kamelizer KAUST Innovation Fund Kickstart Accelerator Zurich Millenial Partners & Co. MTN Naspers Oncu GSYO OTMT Holding Company PayFort Pinnacle Rabea Ataya Samena Capital Saned Partners Standard Chartered Private Equity STC Ventures Techstars Ventures Tiger Global Management Venture Friends Vostok New Ventures YCombinator Jisr Venture Partners Mulverhill Associates Rakuten Inc. Accel DASH Ventures
  13. 13. Mini Exchange Movesouq Mumm Mumzworld Myki NOMADD OfficeRock Orcas Ousta PayMob PinPay Reserveout SchoolApply Shaghalni Shezlong Silkroad Images Smart Medical Services TanitCash Tasameem The Luxury Closet Torch UnnyHog 5QHQH Anghami ArabiAuto Bayut Bayzat Beekast BitOasis Boxit Brate Careem Cantalop CashBasha Collectionair Compareit4me Drofie Eventtus Fadfid Falafel Games Holiday.ME Instabug InstaShop joi Startup Investment Report 2016 13Wamda Research Lab III. Investments Kharabeesh Liwwa Lunch:on M media Madfoo3at Masari Mashvisor Matic Wirez Worknizer Wrappup Mr Usta