DUBAI: One in four investment deals was made in the fintech sector, pulling nearly 30 percent of all the funding raised during the year, which was $2.1 billion in 220 deals, according to a year-to-date report by consultancy firm RedSeer.
A “favorable regulatory environment” has pushed the Middle East’s financial technology (fintech) scene to be the most-funded sector, according to the report.
RedSeer said financial free zones such as the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Dubai International Financial Centre have contributed to this growth, particularly with initiatives including regulatory sandboxes and accelerators.
“This has allowed regional fintech companies to innovate at a fast pace and partner with leading companies to create new products and services,” the report said.
Consumers in the region have also shown positive adoption rates in recent months, the report showed, with “very high adoption” in payments and remittances.
Other fintech products such as lending and insurtech “are more nascent,” but consumers said they are willing to use the technology more in the future.
Payments and remittances emerged the most successful in the value and volume of deals within the sector, followed by lending.
The report also stated that early stage funding rounds contributed 65 percent to the total number of deals struck in the Middle East and Africa region. Early stage and Series A investments dominated the mix with over 83 percent of the total deals, it added.
But large investments in Series B+ rounds and debt funding “has also been observed in 2021,” it said.
The average value of deals also jumped across stages, the report showed, which Red Seer said is an indicator of “more sizable funding inflow, which will enable the robust growth over the medium term.” Companies are also scaling up faster year-to-date, as average time between funding rounds have reduced.
“The average time between subsequent rounds has been decreasing consistently over the years now, falling below the one-year mark in 2021,” the report said.