MENA startups raise $55 million in April 2024, 78% less than March

The amount invested in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region fell dramatically in April 2024, with only 19 startups raising $55 million, a 78% decline from the previous month (mummy) of $254 million raised in March, but an 87% increase compared to last year (YoY).

Apparently the ecosystem is still suffering from the first quarter downturn, with most venture capital (VC) firms continuing to tread cautiously.

The largest ticket size last month went to Fortisa UAE-based fintech company that raised $20 million in Series A, followed by WEEs $10 million before the Series A round and Tunisia’s Qodek, which received $8 million in the Series B round.

One of the most notable trends over the last month was a decline in investments in Saudi Arabia: just three Saudi startups received $4.8 million, while UAE-based companies earned $32 million in six deals followed of Egyptian startups that raised $8.7 million in five deals.

Fintech was the most funded sector in April. Four companies raised $25.7 million, of which $20 million went to Fortis. Then there’s e-commerce, which raised $10.5 million in two rounds, and an AI startup (Qodek) raised $8 million. Meanwhile, three SaaS providers received $3.5 million.

Last month, the majority of investment went to later-stage startups, as Fortis raised $20 million in its Series A round, while its pre-Series A round attracted $14.3 million and $8 million US dollars went into the Series B round.

Investor appetite for business-to-business (B2B) remains strong, with 12 deals valuing $42.5 million. B2B2C raised $11 million and the business-to-consumer (B2C) model secured $1.2 million.

In April, only one female-founded company secured $100,000 in funding, while male founders received $43 million, with the rest going to companies co-founded by men and women.

Movement within the ecosystem

Last month, the Egyptian and Saudi ecosystems came together and ten Egyptian companies were given the opportunity to explore the Saudi market and expand into the Kingdom as part of the joint Saudi-Egyptian program VMS bridge.

Numerous venture capital firms launched their funds in April, including Abu Dhabi ADQ, which partnered with the Oman Investment Authority (OIA) to launch Jasoor Fund, a $180 million technology-focused fund. Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV), a Nigeria-based venture capital firm, has also completed a $60 million final close on its pan-African VC fund.

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions (M&A), the Bahrain-based alternative asset manager operates Investcorp acquired NSEIT, the digital technology arm of India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE), in a deal valued at $120 million.

In April, US technology giant Microsoft also showed interest in becoming a regional AI player. G42and invested $1.5 billion in a minority stake with the aim of providing advanced AI solutions using Microsoft Azure across various industries and markets.

These monthly reports are a collaboration between Wamda and Digital Digest.

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