03 April 2017
· On average founders of the top 100 startups have 9 years of experience before starting

· 40% of startups were created by sole founders and 39% are two co-founder

· 12% of successful founders are female in comparison to 15% in the EU and 17% in the US

· While the UAE hosts 50% of MENA's top funded startups, only 1% of founders are UAE nationals

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – In the third of their series on the MENA startup ecosystem and to celebrate over 3,000 startups listed on the platform, MAGNiTT today releases its research on the founders of MENA’s top 100 funded startups.

Off the back of a record year of $870m+ in startup investment, MAGNiTT analyzed the backgrounds of the founders of MENA’s most successful startups, ranked by total disclosed funding. The top 100 startups together have raised over $1.42 BN in funding and each startup has raised more than $500k individually.

Key takeaways from MAGNiTT’s research include:

1. Team structure: The 100 Startups, including the likes of Careem, Souq and Fetchr, are made up of a total of 189 founders. Research also shows that:

·         40% of startups were created by sole founders

·         Up to 79% were either sole or two founders which is higher than international comparisons where 69% are made up of teams of 2 or 3 founders

·         In MENA, 12% of successful founders are female in comparison to 15% in the EU and 17% in the US

2. Experience: Research showed that on average in MENA, founders had 9 years worth of experience before starting their companies in comparison to the US unicorns that had 6 years.

Founder Philip Bahoshy states “Entrepreneurship has multiple challenges including growing a business, raising funds and developing a strong team and culture. The data highlights that founders in the region have often come from corporate backgrounds. This indicates that the experience and knowledge provides them with the tools to tackle and overcome such issues.” In fact, the research shows that:

·         41% of the startup founders graduated from MBAs including Harvard, INSEAD and LBS

·         35% of founders came from Management Consulting and Banking backgrounds

·         MENA founders demonstrate a higher technical background with 48% graduating with IT or Engineering degrees

·         35% of founders previously had startup experiences in the region with Yahoo Maktoob, Dubizzle, Bayt and Zawya alumni making up 8% of the top 100 MENA startup founders

Bahoshy added, “Such individuals are likely to have the cash to bootstrap, experience to deal with the regulatory environment and perseverance to succeed in a nascent ecosystem”.

3. Geography: 68% of MENA startup founders originate from the Middle East, despite many having dual citizenship. The data highlights:

·         38% of MENA’s 100 startup founders are from Lebanon and Jordan with only 16% of startups headquartered there

·         While the UAE hosts 50% of MENA’s top funded startups, only 1% of founders are UAE nationals

In conclusion, this latest report raises awareness of key characteristics behind founders of successful startups in the MENA region in comparison to their international counterparts. Bahoshy commented, “While celebrating the tremendous success of the likes of Souq and Careem, both of whom have founders with a wealth of experience, our research highlights areas that can be developed and fostered through policy changes and investment to further help shape the startup ecosystem across MENA.” MAGNiTT continues to drive transparency in the startup ecosystem through data driven research. You can download the full 10 page report on www.magnitt.com.


MAGNiTT, founded by Philip Bahoshy, is the largest online engagement platform for startups across the MENA region. Based out of Dubai, UAE, MAGNiTT connects entrepreneurs directly with ecosystem stakeholders including funders, mentors, support services, and talent. Startups can apply for funding directly to VCs and angel networks from MAGNiTT . Investors, Corporates, Mentors and Service providers are able to review information on over 3,000 startups including their funding history. MAGNiTT is also a provider of data and analytical reporting for the MENA startup ecosystem.

For more information, interview requests and high resolution images contact info@magnitt.com

For more information about MAGNiTT http://www.magnitt.com

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About Philip Bahoshy, CEO & Founder:
Philip Bahoshy is the founder and CEO of MAGNiTT, an online community that connects MENA entrepreneurs with stakeholders across the MENA ecosystem. Raised in the UK with Iraqi origins, Philip obtained an MBA from INSEAD in 2013 and a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. During his time in Dubai, Philip worked at Oliver Wyman in the Financial Services practice for three years, followed by nearly three years at Barclays Wealth working as Chief of Staff to the CEO advising on strategic initiatives. Philip has lived in the UAE for more than eight years and is passionate about developing the MENA startup ecosystem.

© Press Release 2017