2014 was a very good year when it came to new funds entering the tech scene in the Arab region. Rather than just seed and early stage, we saw more funds target growth stage startups. From Lebanon to Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, entrepreneurs should be looking to those on our list below for their next pitch.
- IMPACT Fund by Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)
Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) announced this year its IMPACT Fund. The IMPACT Fund is the first fund to comply with Banque du Liban Intermediate Circular 331, and with investor commitments in excess of $50 million USD, it is the largest non-government sponsored VC firm in the region.
To date, IMPACT Fund’s Investment Committee has approved five investments worth $12.5 million USD in aggregate, four of which have been finalized, with one expected to close by the end of 2014.
The startups that received investment include the international online book distribution company Bookwitty, and telecoms software provider called Mobinets.
- Mobily Ventures
As part of the telecom corporation Mobily’s recent efforts to expand from the telecom sector towards the broader ICT and new data spheres, the leading Saudi telecom created their venture capital fund Mobily Ventures. In August, the company announced that it had allotted between $300,000 and $3 million USD for companies that it sees as potential partners.
So far the company has invested in the web streaming music platform Anghami, developing with them a bundle whereby users pay 7 Saudi riyals ($1.87) per week for unlimited music streaming.
MV’s next investment was in Easy Taxi and its ability to provide something more than just cash was clear. In October MV announced its investment in the Germany-based food delivery platform Hellofood.
- Badia Impact Fund by Silicon Badia
Badia Impact Fund is a venture capital fund, started by tech accelerator silicon Badia, dedicated to investment in early-stage start-ups in the technology sector in Jordan. It provides support, networks, and capital for entrepreneurs to achieve global impact. Its investment ticket size is between $200,000USD and $3,000,000USD.
In May 2011 Cisco announced $6 million USD investment in the Badia Impact Fund to support early-stage online and mobile innovation, health care technologies and services, e-commerce, consumer Internet and digital media services in Jordan.
By the end of 2014, Badia Impact Fund invested (with one other) a seed round of $2 million USD in Arabia Weather. Earlier this year it had invested $5 million USD (with two others) in Wysada; and in April 2014, along with three others, it invested $1 million USD in Mixed Dimensions Inc. (MXD3D), as a seed round.
- Wamda Fund
As covered by The Wall Street Journal, the Wamda Fund was announced earlier this year. It comes under the umbrella of Wamda Capital, and will target $75 million USD in commitments, and make USD $2 Million to USD $5 Million ticket size investments primarily in growth-stage technology and technology-enabled companies with operations in the Middle East and North Africa region. The IFC will invest between $10 million and $15 million in the fund, according to Mouayed Makhlouf, regional director for the IFC.
[If you think we missed on any big funds let us know in the comments box below]