Two out of the five North African mega investments received this year went to the Maghreb region as of November 2022, suggesting that it has the potential to grow into a significant startup hub.
Yassir, an Algerian super app currently available in 45 cities across North and West Africa, made global headlines earlier this month when it announced a $150 million series B led by BOND, one of the world’s most prolific venture funds. According to the company, the new capital injection, which is the largest single investment ever raised by a North African startup, has made it the most valuable startup in North Africa and one of the few on the continent and in the Middle East. This comes about eight months after Instadeep, a Tunisian Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup, raised $100 million in series B funding, making history as the first mega funding ever raised by a startup from the Maghreb region and Africa’s first mega funding in 2022.
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Additionally, Chari, a Moroccan e-commerce platform digitizing informal retailing in Northern and French-speaking African countries, was last valued at $100 million and has made three acquisitions, including Axa Credit, the credit arm of Axa Assurance Maroc, which it bought for $22 million.
Startups across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia raised an estimated $72 million in 2021. Algerian startups raised $30 million; Morocco recorded an all-time high of $29 million, and Tunisia closed north of $23 million.
This is a landmark growth from the $20.1 million the entire region raised across 19 deals in 2020.
While Egypt remains the leader with $600 million in funding in 2021, investors are beginning to open their wallets for the Maghreb ecosystem, and it has now raised over $260 million this year alone — over a 280% increase from what it raised between 2019 and 2021.
However, while Maghreb startups are establishing themselves as a growth market region, they have only just begun to build their resume. For example, funding remains concentrated on a few startups, while early-stage startups continue to clamor for a piece of the pie.
Yassir’s series A constituted the entire fund raised in Algeria in 2021. Expensya, a Tunisian fintech, also raised $20 million in 2021, accounting for the bulk of the $23 million that came into Tunisia, and Instadeep’s series A round of $7 million accounted for almost all that was raised in 2019.