InstaDeep, a Tunisian artificial intelligence startup, announced its exit to BioNTech, a German next-generation immunotherapy company, in a deal worth £562 million ($697 million) Jan. 10. The German vaccine maker will pay a total upfront of £362 million ($449 million) in cash and shares, and the remaining £200 million ($248 million) will be paid out depending on InstaDeep’s future performance. This deal, expected to be closed by the first half of 2023, comes after BioNTech participated in InstaDeep’s $100 million Series B funding round in January 2022.
The deal is the biggest publicly disclosed acquisition in the African startups ecosystem and likely the second biggest in the Middle East, after Careem's $3.1 billion exit to Uber in 2019. This deal might be the game-changer the Maghreb region needs to unlock the next growth stage, three operators — Noureddine Tayebi of Algerian Yassir, Ismail Belkhayat of Moroccan Chari, and Grégoire de Padirac of Orange Venture — told Al-Monitor in December.