QDB, MAGNiTT Release First Qatar Venture Capital Market Report

Jul 02, 2021 by QDB

Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has cooperated with research platform MAGNiTT to release the first of its kind “Qatar Venture Investment Report 2020”. The report, which was prepared by MAGNiTT, was commissioned by QDB, given its position as one of the key players in the venture capital (VC) investment field in the State of Qatar.

The landmark report aims to showcase the impact of venture investment in Qatar, the evolution of the Qatar funding ecosystem, give an overview of the Qatar investment landscape, and provide a map of the Qatari ecosystem. It focuses on VCs due to their importance in any economic market in general, since they are one of the first sources of support for SMEs and start-ups, being among the first investment sources to quickly transfuse this important sector with the funds it urgently needs to achieve its growth and harness the innovation it can bring to the market.

Commenting on the release of this important report, QDB’s CEO Mr. Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, said: “In our goal to continue supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs due to their importance to the diversification of our economy, we set our sights toward venture capital, which is considered an integral component of the support ecosystem for this important sector. VCs are at the forefront toward unlocking the unbound potential of startups & SMEs and accelerate their growth and specifies incentives and commitments that help them achieve competitiveness. This report will highlight the continuous growth we are witnessing in this area thanks to the forward-thinking, collective efforts of QDB and the other stakeholders operating within the country. It is these efforts and this cooperation which are helping us drive the development and diversification of our economy and forge a bright future with a thriving economy with a truly prosperous SME sector able to grow and achieve sustainable success both locally and internationally.”

The report highlights some very crucial key points, including VC funding in Qatar’s persistence through COVID-19, with a growth of 9% between 2019 and 2020. Startups in Qatar raised QR22M in 2020, slightly more than the QR21M deployed in 2019. Although the VC ecosystem demonstrated resilience against the pandemic, the number of registered deals only rose by two YoY to finish 2020 at 24.

The report also sheds light on the critical role played by accelerators in driving investment rounds in Qatar in 2020, contrary to the regional trend. It shows that, in Qatar’s venture investment ecosystem, accelerated programs were responsible for 33% of all transactions. This defied the trend noted in MENA where COVID-19 forced a slowdown of accelerator programs, with accelerated deals dropping by nine percentage points YoY in 2020 (accounting for 23% of all deals in 2020).

On his part, Mr. Philip Bahoshy, CEO of MAGNiTT said: “The Qatari ecosystem, similar to other leading ecosystems across MENA, has shown signs of a positive rebound from 2020 and the pandemic. A strong start to 2021 has been driven by increased government initiatives, private participation in investment rounds and increased capital being deployed into tech-based startups which was charted in the 2020 Qatar Venture Investment report. We look forward to seeing how the rest of the year progresses as the ecosystem matures”

Furthermore, the report highlights that the need for digitalization in 2020 made a positive impact on the E-commerce, F&B and Home Services sectors, adding that in terms of Qatar's top startup industries by funding, F&B and E-commerce collectively accounted for 53% of all VC funding in the ecosystem. It also states that the number of startups to raise funding from the Home Services sector went from one in 2019 to three in 2020.

The MAGNiTT report does not limit its coverage to QDB’s activities, but also covers the broader investment ecosystem in the country. It is considered the first of its kind for Qatar and among the first in the region, with only a handful of reports being release for the MENA region to date.

To download the full report, please visit the QDB website at www.qdb.qa/en/publications