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Saudi Arabia tops MENA VC funding in H1 with $412 million

The kingdom's share of total MENA VC funding has jumped from 38% to 54% in one year.

Saudi Arabia tops MENA VC funding in H1 with $412 million
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

According to data platform MAGNiTT, Saudi Arabia maintained its position as the top dog in venture capital funding in the MENA region for the second year running. The kingdom secured $412 million in the first half of 2024, a slight 7% decrease from the same period last year.

A massive $130 million deal involving Salla contributed significantly to the total, marking the only “mega-round” investment in the MENA region in 2024. Overall, deal flow activity dipped slightly by 3%, solidifying Saudi Arabia’s position as the second-most active country in transactions.

However, the kingdom’s influence within the region is undeniable. Its total MENA VC funding share has jumped significantly, rising from 38% in the first half of 2023 to 54% this year. This growth comes despite a more pronounced 34% decline in overall MENA funding.

Fintech remained the most popular sector for investors in terms of deal volume, while e-commerce took the crown for funding amount. Two of the top five Saudi deals originated from this booming industry.

Investor participation also saw positive signs. The number of entities backing Saudi startups reached 72, up from 62 in the same period last year. 

This enthusiasm extends beyond domestic borders. The share of international investors surged by 17 percentage points, capturing 28% of the total VC space in Saudi Arabia.

The report highlights a growing focus on early-stage ventures. A significant 84% of all transactions involved early-stage investments, compared to 82% last year. Series A funding also saw an uptick, rising from 10% to 14%.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity remained relatively quiet in Saudi Arabia, with only two transactions recorded in 2024 compared to four in the same period last year. 

Notably, all M&A activity occurred in the first quarter. Despite this, following the UAE, Saudi Arabia ranked second in the MENA region for exit activity.

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