While investments raised by startups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) rose to a total of $2.87 billion across 639 deals in 2021, investments in startups founded by women, across 52 deals, dropped to just $34.6 million, or 1.2 percent of the total, according to a report by startup platform Wamda.

Start-ups with both male and female co-founders raised $210 million across 61 deals. When combined, female representation in investments amount to 8.5 percent of the total raised in 2021, or $244 million.

Start-ups founded by men attracted 91.5 percent of the $2.87 billion raised across 526 deals. The biggest round last year--Kitopi’s $415 million Series C--accounted for 14 per cent of the total raised in 2021.

Women-led start-ups iMile and BitOasis raised $40 million and $30 million respectively, both start-ups have male co-founders and so are counted as part of the mixed-team category.

Tarjama, raised the highest amount among women-founded start-ups in an undisclosed round led by Amethis Finance.

The most active ecosystem for women founders and co-founders is the UAE which saw $187 million invested across 46 deals, followed by Saudi Arabia where female and mixed co-founding teams raised $14 million across nine deals and Egypt which raised $12 million across 20 deals.

Egypt-based Flat6Labs was the most active investor in women and mixed-team start-ups, participating in 18 deals, the Wamda report said.

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Seban Scaria) 


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