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Saudi startups see higher investments, female participation – Arabnet

Saudi startups see higher investments, female participation – Arabnet
UAE and Saudi Arabia maintained the top two spots in investments between 2013 and 2018

Riyadh – Mubasher: Startup investments in Saudi Arabia have grown over the past few years, which is largely attributed to the Saudi Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia aims to build a thriving economy by supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, fostering and investing in startups, according to the 4th edition of the “State of Digital Investments in MENA 2013-2018” report by Arabnet.

The strategic futuristic Vision 2030 aims to diversify the Kingdom’s economy and boost non-oil economic to reduce dependency on crude oil exports.

The Arabnet report, developed in partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development (Dubai SME), shows that Saudi Arabia is home to 95 active startups and the highest number of inactive startups at 39 startups that went through the valley of death during the five-year period.

The report further found that the ratio of female founders reached 16% in Saudi Arabia, which shows a rising role by Saudi women in the startup scene.

Coming in the second place following the UAE, Saudi Arabia accounts for 17% of investors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as well as the Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have maintained the top two spots on the list of investors between 2013 and 2018, according to the Arabnet report.

Meanwhile, 70% of MENA corporate investors concentrated in the GCC, and Saudi Arabia holds the second-highest ratio of corporate investors at 19%, following the UAE with 36%.

It is worth noting that the report showed that the number of investment deals decreased in 2018 to 26, down from 41 in 2017.

While the number of deals decreased, the value of deals remarkably grew from $39 million to $59 million, which is mainly due to the significant investment in Unifonic at $21 million.

Over the five-year period, Saudi Arabia witnessed a total of 180 investment deals, ranking in fourth place in the region, as shown by the analysis report that is based on data collected from 59 investors and accelerators across the MENA region, especially from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, and Yemen.