The UAE attracted 70% of all start-up funding invested across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2018, according to the latest MENA Venture Investment report published by investment analyst Magnitt.
Thirty percent of all investment transactions across the region also involved UAE headquartered start-ups, according to the report.
Last year saw 366 investments in start-ups across the MENA region, equating to $893m in total funding. This marked a 31% increase in investment compared to 2017.
Ride-hailing app Careem attracted the largest single tranche of funding, raising $200 million in October. Other high-profile investments included Gobi Partners investment in online travel agent HolidayME and General Atlantic’s investments in UAE-based real estate portal Property Finder.
According to the report, the top 10 deals signed in 2018 accounted for 65% of total investment throughout the year, marking a rise of two percent compared to 2017. In terms of exits, 2018 has seen 14 start up exits take place across the region.
The region profile as an attractive destination for investment is rising, as evidenced by the fact 30% of all entities that made start-up investments in 2018 were based outside the region.
Commenting on the results for 2018, Philip Bahoshy, Magnitt founder and CEO, said: “This is an extremely positive signal. 2018 saw more international investors enter the foray than before, new accelerator programmes created the region, multiple government initiatives spurring innovation and established regional Venture Capital firms closing out new funds to deploy further capital.
“As start-ups mature and grow, 2018 has seen more later stage investment deals at Series B and beyond than ever before and we expect this trend to continue into 2019 as startups scale to get closer to exits.”