The startup scene in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region witnessed a significant decline in funding, as per the latest report by MAGNiTT, a data platform for startups in the region.
The study says that MENA-based startups raised $247 million through 67 deals in March 2023. This is a 67% drop from the previous month and a 17% drop from the previous year. But startups raised more than $1.1 billion in funding in Q1, a 17% rise from Q4 to Q1.
Saudi Arabia had the most investments, with $175 million spread across 20 deals. This was mostly because Tamara, a buy now, pay later (BNPL) startup, raised $150 million in a debt financing round led by Goldman Sachs.
The United Arab Emirates came in second with 18 deals totaling $59 million. Fintech, food tech, and edtech were the top three industries.
While late-stage funding activity had a considerable slump, the research indicates that the early funding stages experienced significant investor traction, accounting for most transactions. Fintech was the favored sector for investors in March, accounting for 73% of VC activity.
But the study pointed out a worrying trend: male-led startups got 98.8% of the money raised, while female founders and mixed-gender teams got only 1.2%.
The eight startups, Almatar, Vuz, Nuqtah, telfaz, Amplifidor, HORIZOONX, Ygii, and neutrality. One did not publish their financial information