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UAE Startups Secured $353 Million in Debt Funding in 2023

This marks a 222% year-over-year increase, according to Magnitt’s FY 2023 Venture Debt report.

Laleh Bergman

UAE Startups Secured $353 Million in Debt Funding in 2023

UAE-based start-ups secured $353 million in debt funding in 2023 according to venture data platform Magnitt’s FY 2023 Venture Debt report. This marks a 222% year-over-year increase.

The report also states that Middle East startups attracted a record $757 million in venture debt over the past year. The UAE ranked first in the MENA region in terms of transaction volumes taking place over the year, despite seeing six transactions and a 25% year-over-year decline. Saudi startups secured 53% of the region’s total debt in a 602% year on year jump, while Egyptian startups saw venture debt funding slump 86% year-on-year.

Fintech was revealed as the standout sector, accounting for 79% of MENA’s total Venture Debt lending in 2023 This was largely due to UAE-based BNPL giant Tabby and Saudi-based Tamara, which together raked in $600 million of the total $601 million financing for fintech players. Transport and logistics followed with $150 million, and e-commerce had a seat at the table with $3 million.

This is indicative of a changing financial ecosystem, as the venture debt lending to equity financing ratio shifted to 28% in 2023 from just 1.4% in 2020.

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