MENA investors hold stakes in 8 current global unicorns, including Careem Networks, Jetsmarter, Uber, and Apttus.
Since 2009, investors based in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have participated in deals to back 12 global unicorn companies valued at $1B+.
MENA’s unicorn hunters include sovereign wealth funds such as the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), as well as MENA-based venture capital firms Wamda Capital, BECO Capital, and others. The KIA and QIA are the only MENA investors that have backed more than two unicorns since 2009.
Using CB Insights Business Social Graph tool, we visualized MENA’s unicorn hunters and their unicorn investments over the last eight years.
Desert Unicorn Hunters
Click on the image below to enlarge.
MENA investors hold a stake in 8 companies that are part of the current global unicorn club as of 5/5/2017, all tracked on CB Insights real time unicorn tracker.
Four companies with backing from MENA investors have exited the global unicorn club in recent years. Of those four companies two exited for over $1B: NantHealth (IPO, June 2016, valuation at exit $1.69B) backed by the Kuwait Investment Authority, and JD.com (IPO, May 2014, valuation at exit $28.6B) backed by the Kingdom Holding Company in Saudi Arabia.
The on-demand ride hailing company Careem Networks, located in the United Arab Emirates, is the MENA region’s only unicorn as of 5/5/2017. To date, Careem is backed by 8 investors from MENA, as well as investors in the US, Japan, and Russia. Careem’s MENA based backers include: Al Tayyar Travel Group (Saudi Arabia), BECO Capital (UAE), El Sewedy Group (Egypt), Saudi Telecom Company (Saudi Arabia), The Abraaj Group (UAE), Wamda Capital (UAE), STC Ventures (Saudi Arabia), Arzan Venture Capital (Kuwait & UAE).
The e-commerce company Souq.com, based in the UAE, was valued at $1B in 2016, before getting acquired by Amazon in March this year for $650M – $750M.
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