Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), a Middle East-focused venture capital firm that invests in the early and growth stages of innovative companies, held its Annual Investor Conference in Dubai, which drew over 250 key investors and entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities and growth prospects in the MENA tech ecosystem.
The conference highlighted the significant need for dedicated capital for regional tech entrepreneurs to create and raise local champions, to the likes of Souq, Careem and Anghami, as well as continued support through specialised expertise, and operational backing to enable them to reach their next level of growth.
In his opening statement, Walid Hanna, MEVP Founder & CEO, said: “MEVP has been the pioneer and leading force behind the region’s venture capital investment industry for 11 years, and we will continue to nurture the growth of the region’s tech-focused entrepreneurial space. Despite the market evolution, there remains a significant lag in the amount of local capital available for growth stage venture capital funding – especially at such an opportune time for the region. Globally, we are noticing increased interest from international tech companies and venture capital investors who are eyeing favourable fundamentals reinforced by an acceleration in digitisation. This emphasises our ambitions to continue being a key player and position the region’s startup ecosystem as one of the most attractive and thriving in the world.”
During the conference Hanna revealed that while there has been a lag in funding, the region has seen startups go over the record US$1 billion of investment last year and already raised more funding by Q3 this year compared to 2020. More than a third of all capital raised in 2021 is attributed to increased foreign investment. MEVP’s own portfolio companies received follow-on funding by leading international and regional investors including Prosus (Naspers), Paradigm, Mubadala, General Atlantic, and Coinbase.
In addition, he explained that MENA startups have announced 23 exits by the end of Q3 2021, seven of which were MEVP portfolio companies, further reaffirming the region’s healthy ecosystem. Exits and partial exits for MEVP this year include Anghami (the first Special Purpose Acquisition Company SPAC in the region), Fresha, TreasuryXpress, The Luxury Closet and Fadel. Three of MEVP’s portfolio companies, Fresha, Rain and MNT-Halan, have received strong valuation upticks and are on their way to becoming soon Unicorns, or “Soonicorns”.
The Annual Investor Conference also featured keynote presentations and panel discussions by leading figures in the regional technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem, who covered a wide range of topics including the challenges and opportunities of scaling businesses in the region, the new wave of Fintech, disruptive trends in logistics and Healthtech verticals as well as Anghami’s SPAC journey. A select group of founders from the MEVP portfolio companies also presented their recent achievements and plans during the conference.
MEVP has $400+ million total assets under management including co-investments across three regional funds. MEVP is expected to continue its growth trajectory by building on its track record in MENA, further strengthening its position in Egypt, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa after recently completing its first investment in Nigeria. With its strong network of investors, ecosystem partners and regulators, MEVP continues to be a transformational force behind the growth of the tech ecosystem in MENA.