Ever since the implementation of Circular 331 of the Central Bank of Lebanon, the Lebanese entrepreneurial ecosystem thrived making Lebanon one of the capitals of digital innovation in the MENA. As a result, more accelerators, venture capitals, and ecosystem support programs followed suit. Given the space to grow, entrepreneurs are thinking digitally, are oriented to move forward, and are driving digitization in Lebanon. 

The state of digital investments in Lebanon in 2018 witnessed a setback, particularly in terms of number of investment deals and their values. Although the number and deals of investment have decreased in 2018, the number of investors increased from 7% in 2013 to 11% in 2018 reflected by investors’ interest in the Lebanese startup scene. 

Despite only holding 12% of the total MENA corporate investors, Lebanon has stepped up the pace and has witnessed a big spurt over the period between 2013 and 2018. The Touch Innovation Program has been playing a big role in this area. We will soon be publishing a post focused on corporations partnering with and investing in startups.

Lebanon falls third in the number of investment deals in 2018 (40) with a cumulative of 213 deals over the period between 2013 and 2018. 

Lebanon is home to 125 active startups and 7 inactive startups who have gone down the valley of death whereby it holds the lowest proportion (5.3%) compared to all other countries in the MENA region over the period between 2013 and 2018. 

When examining the ratio of female founders of those startups by market, 20% of founders in Lebanon are females whereas the rest of the 203 founders are men. With that being said, the Levant continues to exhibit the highest proportion of female founders in MENA with both Lebanon and Jordan at 20%. 

The data in this article is extracted from the 4th edition of “State of Digital Investments in MENA 2013-2018” report developed by Arabnet, in partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME). The report provides a holistic analysis of MENA technology investors and investments over the period between 2013 and 2018. 

To learn more about the pulse of the region’s startup scene, make sure to read the report here