Middle East and North Africa
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has known a remarkable rise in venture capital activity in the last three years, fostered by a young and tech-savvy population, a large potential market, strong government support, and strengthening links with the rest of the world.
For the purpose of this guide, the MENA region includes: Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.
Azerbaijan, Libya, Oman, Mauritania, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are considered low VC activity regions, hence details of their respective VC investment is not provided.
Israel is not included as part of the MENA region.
Venture capital investment into MENA exploded in 2021 and 2022, launching the region into a higher echelon.
While investment fell by 10% between 2021 and 2022, amid a global pullback in venture capital, this drop was much less pronounced than global VC (-31%).
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The share of MENA in the Middle East and Africa overall is at its highest in the last 10 years. It has grown 1.8x since 2020, while the combined share of Israel and the rest of Africa has decreased in the last two years.
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The United Arab Emirates ranks 1st in MENA for VC investment raised, followed by Türkiye and Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the fastest growing among the top 3 between 2021 and 2022, with Jordan, Bahrain and Tunisia as fast-growing notable newcomers as well.
Compare country startup ecosystems within the MENA region and globally here on the app.
Dubai, Istanbul and Riyadh are the leading tech cities in MENA, ranking as the top three startup ecosystems by VC investment over the past 5 years.
Compare city level startup ecosystems within MENA and overseas, here on the platform.
Food and Fintech are the most prominent funding category in MENA, over-indexing compared to the global average.
Explore funding rounds into MENA by industry here on the Dealroom platform.
Gaming and Robotics are the fastest-growing top industries.
Explore the data for the most active investors into the MENA startup ecosystem as well as the most active MENA investors here on the Dealroom platform.
Combined with other innovation data, patent intelligence add an entirely different perspective to innovation mapping, with a different set of industry players and longer time horizons.
Below are the top categories by the number of patents granted and pending in 2021 per superclass and subclass by companies based in the MENA region.
Since 2000 the fastest-growing areas of innovation and patent filing in the MENA region have included Spectrometry sensors, Ultrasound sensors, and Robotics.
Top countries by patent filing
More patents were filed in Saudi Arabia over the past decade than in all other MENA countries combined.
Spotlight: Healthtech in MENA
The remarkable growth of MENA's healthcare sector over the previous decade, fueled by both public and private finance, has firmly established the region’s healthcare as a worldwide player.
Healthtech investment in the MENA region is just getting started, with records being set since 2020.
VC industry segmentation
VC investment is particularly active in telemedicine and biotech & pharma.
The United Arab Emirates is the Healthtech hub of MENA, followed by Türkiye and Egypt.
Report: Explore all our MENA focused reports
Report: Compare MENA based startup ecosystems against other global ecosystems in our Benchmarking Report
Dealroom Data: Explore 90k+ funded startups headquartered in MENA.
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