Startup fever has gripped the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Last year was once again a record year, with 366 deals, attracting $893 million in investment, according to the latest report from Magnitt, a Dubai-based entrepreneurs’ network. That was modest compared to other parts of the world, but momentum is building fast.
And when it comes to digital startups, fintech is attracting the most interest—accounting for 12% of all deals in the region, closely followed by e-commerce. MENA fintech, which barely existed a few years ago, is now a $2 billion market. With dozens of new companies launching each year, annual growth is expected to reach $125 million by 2022, according to Beirut-based consultants MENA Research Partners.