Forbes Middle East has released its list of the “50 Most-Funded Startups In The Middle East,” highlighting the young businesses that have been most successful in securing multi-million-dollar investment rounds. Together they have raised a total of $959 million in combined external funding. More than half of that was secured by the top 10 startups, amounting to around $546 million.
For more than half of the startups, this year has been an extremely lucrative one. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic 29 startups together raised funding in 2020 worth a total of $425 million, showing it is possible to find growth opportunities amidst economic uncertainty. Startups in fintech, agri-tech, prop-tech, transport, delivery, restaurant platforms, and cloud kitchens received the most significant chunks of investment.
The list features startups from six Middle East countries. The UAE appears to have the most active startup ecosystem, with 33 of the 50 startups headquartered in the emirates. Among the top 10, seven startups were established in the UAE. Saudi Arabia comes in second with seven startups, two of which feature in the top 10. Egypt is home to four, Jordan to three, Lebanon for two, and Kuwait to one.
UAE-based startup Pure Harvest Smart Farms tops the list after it secured $135.8 million from investors, including Wafra International and Shorooq Partners, to fuel its ambitious expansion plan. Nana, an e-grocery marketplace platform, is the highest-funded Saudi startup on our list after it raised a total of $28.9 million from investors. Whereas the only Kuwaiti startup on the list — digital laundry service JustClean —has pulled in $20 million from Faith Capital.
The most active investors were 500 Startups, RAED Ventures, and Wamda Capital, with investments in 10, eight, and seven startups, respectively. To construct the ranking, Forbes Middle East looked at startups founded no earlier than 2013 with a minimum of $5 million in total funding from external investors, excluding founders' shares and loans. Cut off for funding was Sept. 25, 2020. — SG
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