500 Startups closes $15M fund to back founders in the Middle East and North Africa

Fresh off closing a $10 million fund earlier this yr for Latin American startups, five hundred Startups has pulled alongside one another capital for a new $15 million fund that will solely goal startups in the Center East and North Africa (MENA).

Inspite of just closing nowadays, five hundred Startups has already built 39 investments in MENA out of other resources, so the group does have encounter deploying money in the area. The Oman Expense Fund and the Qatar Science and Technological innovation Park are serving as anchors for the new fund. The Oman Expense Fund has earlier invested money into five hundred Startups’ most important fund, but the Qatar Science and Technological innovation Park is new.

Hasan Haider, the handling director of 500’s MENA fund

Hasan Haider, the handling director of the MENA fund, has a large activity in advance of him. The Center East by itself encompasses a land spot approximately the sizing of the United States, and, as these types of, the part will include a ton of traveling. Haider is based in Bahrain but will be earning frequent trips to cities that are hotbeds for business action, like Cairo, Riyadh, Dubai and Doha, wherever 500’s Sequence A program is positioned.

Initially Haider will be joined by Sharif El-Badawi, a former Googler and a current chief of TechWadi, an association of tech-concentrated Arabs in Silicon Valley. To augment initiatives and increase the arrive at of the tiny staff, the two are advising the Wadi Accelerator in Oman and helping them with neighborhood activities.

five hundred is calling this a very first closing, which implies it is doable that the sizing of the fund could improve in the long run — it is targeting $thirty million. Preferably this would suggest raising the sizing of the staff to in between 7 and 9 individuals to support the fund’s initiatives. Fairly than hold out it out, five hundred has determined to get on the ground quicker fairly than later on to take gain of the rising exit action in MENA.

“The Amazon acquisition of Souq was actually a watershed second for the area,” Dave McClure, founding lover of five hundred Startups, spelled out to me in an job interview.

The implication is that there is major regional fascination in venture money investment. SoftBank grabbed headlines final yr when information broke that the company was planning a $a hundred billion investment fund that would have considerable backing from Center Japanese buyers. The Saudi Arabian Public Expense Fund’s $3.5 billion investment in Uber also comes to mind as indicative of the craze.

“Right now government-supported packages are incentivizing individuals to set up VC resources,” notes Haider. “M&A interest is coming from Europe and the Far East.”

Federal government-sponsored packages heavily incentivize country-particular investments, but Haider told me in an job interview that he thinks it is incorrect to seem at the area as siloed-off countries. Alternatively, the strategy is to mature the area as an ecosystem, functioning to improve the range of acquisitions and in the end convincing more individuals to take the risk of setting up a startup.







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