time to read 3 minutes

Saudi investment in local startups peaked in 2020MENA

Saudi investment in local startups peaked in 2020

Saudi Arabian startups recorded the highest venture capital funding ever last year with a total of $152m in investments. According to a new report, KSA startup investment was the fastest-growing of all MENA countries in 2020, which was particularly impressive considering how much the slump in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic impacted the local economy. The number represents a 55% increase in total funding deployed from the previous year.

There were 88 deals struck in 2020 in startups based in Saudi Arabia, with the majority of them taking place in the first half of the year. Furthermore, foreign investment also rose from the previous year.

In the startup ecosystem, the e-commerce and FinTech industries took the top spots. Collectively, these two sectors accounted for nearly a third of all deals in the Kingdom. Notable individual investments include food and grocery delivery startups Jahez and Nana having raised a whopping $36.5m and $18m, respectively.

why it matters
It makes sense that e-commerce and FinTech bagged the most cash considering the spike in online transactions since the onset of COVID-19. With countries around the world, including in the Gulf region, imposing further restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, we can expect both industries to continue welcoming a great deal of funding in 2021 too.