COVID hit startups badly – but something surprising is happening

At the end of last year, the Middle East's startup scene was on the up and up. The region's ride-hailing service, Careem, was acquired by Uber in a $3.1bn deal, and the wider industry witnessed record levels of engagement. 

Research from MAGNiTT, a startup data platform, revealed that $704m was invested across 564 different startups across the region in 2019. "To put it into perspective, 2009 saw $15m of funding in five venture deals," the company noted. 

"The story remains success breeding success," Christopher Schroeder (SHS 1982) co-founder Next Billion Ventures and author of Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East, told ZDNet. "The massive mobile penetration [is] attracting investment from within the region," Schroeder observed, and that investment is coupled "with more global tech companies exploring ways to enter".

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