The number of venture capital deals raised by start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa increased to 169 during the nine months to the end of September, already surpassing the 164 deals completed in total last year, according to a new report.
The study, released on Sunday by online start-up community MAGNiTT, showed that 62 deals were carried out during the three months to September, with $76 million raised. Financial technology (fintech) companies attracted the most money during the quarter, making up three of the top five investments, with Paytabs raising $20 million, Souqalmal $10 million and Beehive $5 million.
Despite this, the overall monetary value for 2017 is unlikely to top 2016, when Careem raised $350 million and Souq.com raised $275 million, bringing the total raised last year to $907 million. So far this year, a total of $404 million has been raised, with $150 million raised by Careem, including a $62 million stake sale to Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding.
The report said the United Arab Emirates remained the most active market in the region, with firms based in the country securing 50 percent of the deals and 37 percent of the disclosed funding. About 20 percent of the deals done so far this year did not disclose funding amounts.
In a press release announcing the report's results, MAGNiTT’s founder, Philip Bahoshy, said: "The summer is generally perceived as a quieter period in the region. However, we saw a flurry of announcements in September and we expect this trend to continue through to year end”.
The firm also said that despite the continued strengthening of the ecosystem to fund start-ups, there is still a requirement for new funds to fuel both new and existing companies' growth.
Last week, Wamda Capital's founder Fadi Ghandour said at a press conference held to showcase this week's Gitex Technology Week that start-ups in the region have to overcome more hurdles than their counterparts in the United States, due to the various regulations and barriers between countries across the region.
Last month, Middle East Venture Partners announced it is raising a new, $250 million technology fund, which will predominantly be invested in Series B funding rounds, providing growth capital to existing venture capital-backed businesses.