Saudi Arabia’s startups raise $198 million in March 2024

SaaS providers dominate region's investment landscape
Saudi Arabia’s startups raise $198 million in March 2024
Across the Middle East and North Africa region, startups secured a total of $254 million during March

In a landmark month for the region’s startup ecosystem, Saudi Arabia emerged as the hot spot of fundraising activities, with total investments soaring to $198 million in 25 transactions. This surge, the highest in the region, underscores the growing vibrancy and investor confidence in Saudi Arabia’s startup landscape.

Software as a Service leads growth

A report from Wamda and Digital Digest revealed that the bulk of the investments in startups ($130 million) went into the pre-IPO round of Saudi Arabia-based Software as a Service (SaaS) provider Salla. This significant injection of capital reflects the increasing appetite for innovative solutions and underscores Saudi Arabia’s position as a growing hub for technology-driven enterprises.

SaaS providers emerged as the frontrunners in fundraising in the region. They raised a total of $130.6 million across nine deals. Fintech followed closely behind, securing $40 million in 12 transactions, while e-commerce startups raised $18 million.

Regional overview

Across the Middle East and North Africa region, startups secured a total of $254 million during March, bringing the total for the first three months of the year to $429 million. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the UAE secured remarkable investments with 12 startups raising $39 million in March. Meanwhile, eight startups in Egypt raised $7 million during the same period. This diverse distribution highlights the growing prominence of various regional players in the region’s startup ecosystem.

In terms of the number of investments, Saudi Arabia ranked first with 25 deals, followed by the UAE with 12 and Egypt with eight deals. This robust activity reflects the growing startup ecosystem in the region, with Saudi Arabia emerging as a particularly attractive destination for investors.

While male-founded startups continued to dominate the funding landscape, comprising 89.7 percent of total investments, 10 percent of investments went to startups that had both male and female founders. Meanwhile, female-founded startups formed only 0.2 percent of transactions.

Read: Saudi Arabia’s greenfield FDI inflows surge over two-fold to $28.78 billion

Impact of LEAP 2024

LEAP 2024, which Saudi Arabia hosted at the beginning of the month, significantly contributed to the Kingdom’s startup landscape. Moreover, the event witnessed the announcement of billions of dollars in investment funds including the $500 million KSA Logistics Fund III, Saudi Arabia’s National Development Fund’s two VC funds, and the UAE Gulf Capital and RDIA’s $100 million investment.

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