Mena startups secured $103 million in January 2023

Mena-based startups grabbed $103 million in January across 22 deals, translating into a 17 per cent month-on-month decline in funding value, signalling a cautious start to the year ahead. 

The report was compiled by Wamda— the platform that accelerates entrepreneurship ecosystems across the Middle East.

Year-on-year, the funding value declined by 66 per cent from $299 million while the deal count fell drastically, sinking to 73 per cent from 81 deals recorded in January last year.

It was the UAE that secured most deals, with its start-ups grabbing $92.6 million across 12 deals, translating to 90.6 per cent of the total funds raised. Egypt came in second with $3.45 million across three deals.

Saudi Arabia was the third with $3.3 million secured across only several investments. In the GCC region, the remaining three per cent of the total funds went to Qatar and Morocco.

The largest chunk of the funding value was mostly prompted by UAE’s buy-now-pay-later start-up tabby, whose $58 million round amounted to 57 per cent of the deal value. Metaverse start-up Numi was responsible for the second largest round, raising $20 million from the recently-launched Venom Ventures. 

Noteworthy, last month witnessed a surge of capital allocated to early-stage startups, which accounted for 36 per cent of the total funding value. As is nearly always the case, early-stage rounds persevere as leaders regarding the deal count.

Several trends observed in previous months carried forward to this year. Fintech retained its top position as the sector with the most investment, scooping up 67 per cent of the deal value.  In terms of deal count, however, fintech sector was closely rivalled by  food e-commerce platforms.

Other notable sectors that attracted singificant funding include metaverse mostly thanks to Numi’s round.

Of the 22 deals, 10 got direct foreign investment, while 12 attracted regional investors, with Saudi investors being the most active. 

Interestingly, for the first time, all the investments recorded in January went to male-founded start-ups.