MENA Tech StartupMarket Difficulty Report2024

Analysis and ranking of how difficult 30 sectors are for tech startups in MENA

Clearworld Best Practices

Charts
38
insights
72
Not
Published
Before
68

What are the top sectors to build a startup in MENA in 2024

The real hurdle in front of startups in MENA is how willing customers are to work with startups.

A startup can enter a sector with a huge market size only to discover that there isn't enough business given to startups to grow and scale. Moreover, it finds itself competing with other startups over a small leftover of the market pie.

In this seminal work, we analyze 2018-2023 actual data to provide insight on investor demand, customer demand and competition among startups in 30 sectors in MENA 2024.

This is the first source to cover the level of difficulty MENA startups face by sector.

It is also the first to provide data insights on customer demand by sector and level of competition among startups in each sector.

What Is This Report's
Real World
Value

What's covered

  • Investor Demand for MENA Startups by Sector 2024 - Clearworld
  • Customer Demand for MENA Startups by Sector 2024 - Clearworld
  • Number of Funded and Unfunded MENA Startups by Sector 2024 - Clearworld

Investor Demand and Customer Demand For Tech Startups In MENA 2024

How many investors allocate in each sector

How to use this knowledge to estimate customer demand for tech startups in each sector in a reliable way

Includes worked out figures as of Jan 2024

  • Market Competition Difficulty for MENA Startups by Sector 2024 - Clearworld
  • Number of MENA Startups by Sector 2024 - Clearworld

How Difficult It Is To Compete In Each Secor for Tech Startups In MENA 2024

How many startups are there in each sector

How many fail

How to use this knowledge to estimate competition difficulty with in a reliable way

Includes worked out figures as of Jan 2024

  • MENA Startup Market Difficulty Map by Sector 2024 - Clearworld
  • Ranking of 30 Sectors In MENA by Difficulty for Startups 2024 - Clearworld

MENA Startup Market Difficulty Map 2024

List of 30 sectors in MENA ranked by difficulty for startups, based on demand, supply and competition level

Visual map: Market Difficulty Map


Includes worked out figures as of Jan 2024

  • Using Data to Pivot From A Heavy Competition Market in MENA 2024 - Clearworld

What To Do If You’re In A Difficult Sector

5 different strategies on how to use the insights from the Market Difficulty Map to guide your pivot, role or job switch


Includes worked out figures as of Jan 2024

  • How Difficult Fintech Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
  • How Difficult Commerce Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld

Dedicated One-Card Dashboard For Each Sector In MENA 2024

One-card summary for each sector, containing information on its customer and investor demand, its level of competition between startups, and its population of startups

Includes worked out figures as of Jan 2024

  • How To Use Funding Data To Derive Competition Severity For MENA Startups By Sector 2024 - Clearworld

Methodology Explained

Visual explanation of the methodology used to generate the insights from actual performance data from the tech startup scene in MENA.

With this explanation, tech startup founders, tech investors, policymakers and analysts will be able to communicate what each insight means, as well as replicate the insights and generate new ones for their specific case every year.

The Dataset Used In This Report

As of Jan 2024

MENA tech ventures 4,120
Control group: Non-tech companies of similar sizes 7,772

Companies

11k
MENA based investors 834
Non-MENA based investors active in MENA 994

Investors

1.8k
By MENA companies 4,061
By non-MENA companies with MENA investors 2,224

Deals

6k

MENA Tech Startup Market Difficulty Report 2024

Content Creator Brief

What's in it to you and your audience

Is this your niche?

Who
You cover one of following topics:
- Tech
- Startups
- Investment, VC and PE
- Economy and Business
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation

What is this report?

What
MENA Tech Startup Market Difficulty Report 2024 is an industry data insights report that analyzes 30 industry sectors in MENA to see which ones are easier on startups to and which ones are difficult.

It looks at difficulty to raise capital, difficulty to reach customers, and how heavy market competition among startups is in each sector.

It uses actual data from the last 6 years up to Jan 2024.

It is the first in the region's history to cover and solve this problem.

Which content can you use this for?

How
Cover the report itself:
Podcast, blog, media and news, influencer
Use the report's findings in discussion:
Interview, commentary, thought leadership pieces

The value for your audience

Why
The report's value for founders and entrepreneurs:
Show founders which sectors have demand for startups. It will save them from wasting their life (roughly 1.5 years) and money (roughly $1M) building in a difficult sector where many startups had failed.
The report's value for policymakers:
Show policymakers which sectors need their intervention to make them more welcoming for startups and tech innovation.
The report's value for investors:
Show investors which sectors allow startups to scale and make larger return on investment.
Value To You
- Engage your audience
- Show you are up to date with industry news
- Activate the discussion with your interview guests
- Add your own commentary and thoughts to the report's findings

Talking points and basic recommendations

Keywords and titles

SEO
Primary keyword:
mena tech startup market difficulty
Example titles:
How difficult each sector is on MENA startups?
Are all MENA markets ready for tech innovation?
Is it easy to do tech innovation in MENA?

Interesting findings and example angles for your content

Talking Points

Looking to the Future

With this report, we give our brilliant minds a better chance
- Founders won't waste their life stuck in a difficult sector.
- Policymakers will focus of difficult sectors to make the conditions better for startups and external tech innovation in it.
- Investors who have an edge in a difficult sector can double down on it.

5 Positive Points

Tech innovation is spreading to a wide part of economic activities in MENA
Insight: At least 40% of startups in each of the 30 sectors got funded
Chart: Page 6 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- Celebrate how MENA is increasingly embracing innovation
- Tech is becoming more essential in our lives in MENA
Startup access to funding coverage across 30 sectors in MENA 2024 - Clearworld
FINTECH: Demand for fintech in MENA continues to be strong
Insights:
- Fintech is more welcoming to startup-led tech innovation than 86% of the other sectors in MENA
- There is more than 500 fintech startups in MENA today, that's the second largest community after e-commerce
- 45% of the top 50 investors in MENA have invested in 1 or more fintech startups in the last 5 years
Charts: Pages 37-38 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- The golden age for fintech in MENA
- The ongoing advances in building the infrastructure for fintech and role played by regulators and central banks in MENA, and how it empowered and accelerated innovation
- The role fintech plays in MENA's super apps and the creation of unicorn companies
How Difficult Fintech Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Fintech Sector Is For MENA Startups Compared To Other Sectors 2024 - Clearworld
AI: Demand for AI in MENA is so big it makes even fintech look tiny in comparison
Insights:
- Demand for AI startups is extremely high: 64% of AI startups got funded, that's higher than any other sector in MENA
- 1 of every 3 investors invested in 1 or more AI startups in the last 5 years
- There is more than 200 AI startups in MENA today, which is not a big community (11th in MENA), meaning there is room for more to join
- AI startups have better conditions than 90% of sectors in MENA
Charts: Pages 33-34 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- AI is becoming MENA's new favorite business
- MENA's chance to lead the world in using AI in every aspect of life
- Government role to develop a strong infrastructure for AI in MENA with support from global industry leaders (Nvidia, Microsoft)
- The importance of local AI foundational projects such as Falcon
- What AI startups need now to reach their potential
- Attracting AI scaleups from outside MENA to raise the quality of the AI community
How Difficult AI Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult AI Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
STEM: Science and engineering startups are doing well more than commonly expected
Insights:
- 61% of science and engineering startups got funded, that's 3rd highest in all sectors in MENA
- 1 of every 4 investors invested in 1 or more science and engineering startups in the last 5 years
- There is slightly more than 200 science and engineering startups in MENA today, much higher than commonly expected
- Science and engineering startups have better conditions than 73% of sectors in MENA
Charts: Pages 45-46 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- From biotech and biopharma to robotics, demand for science and engineering startups is on the rise
- R&D and commercialization in MENA for tech innovation
How Difficult Science and Engineering Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Science and Engineering Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
AR AND HARDWARE: Conditions for hardware startups are getting better
Insight:
- 50% of science and engineering startups got funded, finally reaching the MENA average
- 1 of every 4 investors invested in 1 or more hardware startup in the last 5 years
- There is more than 200 hardware startups in MENA today, much higher than commonly expected
- Hardware isn't as difficult a sector as it used to be, now it's better than 50% of sectors in MENA
Chart: Pages 52-53 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- Drones, augmented reality and 3D printing: what is making 2024 better for hardware startups in MENA
- The role played by the regulator to improve the conditions for hardware tech innovation
- R&D and commercialization in MENA for tech innovation
How Difficult Hardware Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Hardware Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld

6 Interesting Trends and Challenges

E-COMMERCE: E-commerce is extremely competitive, most of startup failures happen in it
Insights:
- E-commerce continues to be the biggest sector for startups in MENA 2024
- E-commerce is extremely competitive most of startup failures happen in it
- Being the most popular sector led to a larger supply of startups competing over investor and market demand
- It's the only sector that has more than 1000 startups in it, fintech a distant second at about 600
- Half of the top 50 investors in MENA have invested in 1 or more e-commerce startups in the last 5 years
- Competition is extremely high, causing 56% of startups to fail. That's the 7th highest percentage in all sectors, and the highest in raw count
Charts: Pages 41-42 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- E-commerce is the most seasoned sector for startups in MENA
- How can startups survive the extremely competitive e-commerce sector in MENA
How Difficult Commerce Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Commerce Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
WEB3: Blockchain, Web3 and Crypto is difficult in MENA, yet it is growing very fast
Insights:
- MENA has more than 100 startups in crypto and web3, larger than 33% of sectors in MENA, including sectors like sports and advertising
- That large community in MENA despite an extremely low demand: only 8% of the top 50 investors funded any crypto/web3 startup in the last 6 years.
- This is a result of: the more favorable environment for crypto/web3 in MENA today, and them relying on non-VC sources for funding
Charts: Pages 78-79 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- Silently taking over a global industry: how attracting crypto leaders to UAE is flourishing a local ecosystem that serves global markets outside MENA
How Difficult Crypto/Web3 Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Crypto/Web3 Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
GAMING: The gaming sector needs a much bigger push to develop demand for local gaming companies
Insights:
- Despite its digital scalabale nature, gaming is more difficult than 67% of sectors in MENA
- There is more than 100 gaming startups in MENA 2024
- 50% of gaming startups in MENA fail
- Only 12% of the top 50 investors funded any gaming startup in the last 6 years.
- This is despite the launch of $37.8 billion Savvy Games fund in 2022.
Charts: Pages 68-69 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- The impact of attracting the global leaders in the gaming industries to MENA: is it making life easier or harder for local gaming startups
- What can be done to make local gaming startups able to compete with global industry leaders
How Difficult Gaming Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Gaming Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
MANUFACTURING: Manufacturing startups have a tough time
Insights:
- Manufacturing is the 9th smallest community in MENA (#22 in size) with less than 100 active startups
- 50% of manufacturing startups in MENA fail
- Only 10% of the top 50 investors funded any manufacturing startup in the last 6 years.
- Outside of startups, manufacturing being traditionally strong in MENA. The low demand for startups indicates that the sector doesn't need startups to do its work.
Charts: Pages 76-77 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- How does the manufacturing sector evolve with the times in MENA
How Difficult Manufacturing Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Manufacturing Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
AGTECH: There is very, very few agriculture startups in MENA
Insights:
- Agtech is the 4th smallest community in MENA (#27 in size) with roughly less than 50 active startups
- Only 6% of the top 50 investors funded any agtech in MENA in the last 6 years.
- However, only 40% of agtech fail in MENA, the 3rd lowest failure rate across all sectors. A sign of more room for more, or high resilience despite hardships.
Charts: Pages 64-65 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- So few: why we don't hear much about agriculture tech in MENA
- What makes agtech have one of the lowest failure rates in MENA
- How to increase demand for agtech in MENA
How Difficult Agtech Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Agtech Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
CLEAN TECH: It is good that sustainability is getting attention
Insights:
- Sustainability and clean tech is the 9th most difficult sector on startups in MENA (rank #22 out of 30 sectors)
- It has the 7th smallest community in MENA (#24 in size) with roughly 50 active startups
- Only 7% of the top 50 investors funded any clean tech startup in MENA in the last 6 years.
- 46% of clean tech startups fail in MENA, which is slightly better than average, showing potential for more demand
Charts: Pages 72-73 [Download PNG below]
Angles:
- Beyond COP 2023: Can the recent sustainability drive turn around the hard conditions facing local clean tech in MENA
How Difficult Clean Tech Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - ClearworldHow Difficult Clean Tech Sector Is For MENA Startups 2024 - Clearworld
About the Report
Title:
MENA Tech Startup Market Difficulty Report 2024
or "Market Difficulty Report" for short
Cover:
MENA Tech Startup Market Difficulty Report 2024 cover
Who made it:
Clearworld, an insights and consulting firm in Dubai
When it was published:
February 2024
It will be released every year
Who funds it:
Clearworld
Why it is free:
It is under Clearworld's not-for-profit initiative "Common Intelligence". The initiative is created by Clearworld in 2023 to speed up the evolution of tech innovation in MENA by maximizing the level of visibility everyone has on the tech market. This includes founders and entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers.

How you can support us

Share your thoughts

On your social media or directly to the editor

Tell others about our work

Share this URL: https://clear.world/mena-tech-startup-market-difficulty-report-2024

Feel free to share our PDFs directly or host them on your network.

Sponsor our work

If you want to sponsor one or more of Common Intelligence public projects, reach out to us: corporate@clear.world

OR
Know & Call Clearworld
All the information you need
to vet and contact us to work togther
OR
Extensive insights on tech innovation,
tech investment and digital economy in MENA

Navigate

to your value

Common Intelligence
Our initiative to expedite the evolution of tech innovation in MENA has three collections:
MENA Early Stage Data Handbook
MENA Tech Startup Market Difficulty Report
Best Practices
Policymaker Assets
For Content Creators
Prepared elements ready for you if you want to use or cover our insights in your news, channel, blog or podcast
All Publications
List of all our reports and guidebooks
Clearworld homepage
Copyright © 2021-2024 Clearworld Management Consultancies. Dubai, UAE. All rights reserved.
Clearworld is the only firm in MENA that maximizes data-informedness to provide decision insight. Common Intelligence is the first and only private-sector economic development not-for-profit initiative built to push tech innovation in MENA to evolve into systemic industrialization by empowering guided economic activity through publicly accessible highest quality market insights. Common Intelligence is developed using the Clearworld Model.