Dubai angel investors Arya Bolurfrushan and Paul Kenny just announced the launch of a new venture capital firm, Emerge Ventures, with three investments already made from their pipeline.
Paul Kenny is the ex-CEO of daily deal site Cobone which was sold for a reported $40 million to Tiger Management. Arya Bolurfrushan of Bolurfrushan family, a prominent industrial and mercantile family of Iranian origin, is a young Harvard-educated angel investor with a track record of 24 investments. (Emerge Ventures has already made its first three investments: The Impact Hub, an incubator, Lumba, a silicon valley based mobile gaming company, and Elevision, a digital media network.)
Emerge Ventures is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code SINDE1.
More details follows
Dubai-based investors Arya Bolurfrushan and Paul Kenny today announced the launch of their new venture capital firm, Emerge Ventures, focused on high-impact early stage investments in Middle East technology companies.
With a strong conviction in the growth potential of technology companies in the region, Emerge Ventures aims to give international and regional investors access to the budding tech start-up market in the Middle East, with a particular bias towards infrastructural e-commerce.
Today’s announcement coincides with the close of the firm’s first investment fund, MENA Fund I, which has committed capital to deploy in early-stage MENA technology companies, who will benefit from capital, along with expertise, access, discipline and guidance from Emerge Ventures advisors, for equity in their business.
Emerge Ventures has already made its first three investments. The first companies within the fund are all UAE-based and include The Impact Hub, a collaborative incubator and co-working space due to open in Souk al Bahar in Dubai in December 2013; Lumba, a silicon valley based mobile gaming company focused on the Arabic-speaking world; and Elevision, a new digital media network that broadcasts news, information & advertisements from screens inside the lifts of premier towers in the UAE.
Kenny, who is the founder and CEO of one of the largest ecommerce websites Cobone and travel website Triperna, and Bolurfrushan, a Harvard-educated international angel investor with a track record of 24 investments and 3 successful exits, CEO of Bolurfrushan International Group and CFO of RAK Petroleum, launched the fund in August this year and succeeded in closing the fund with capital from select well known global venture capital funds, family offices and ultra high net worth individuals.
Speaking from the Entrepreneurship Conference at Harvard Business School earlier this week, Kenny said, “Our focus is to find the best entrepreneurs and back them with smart capital – financial as well as intellectual - becoming true partners with the entrepreneurs to help them innovate, succeed and ultimately grow their business. We have been there and done it ourselves and our experience can help any company scale fast.”
Bolurfrushan added, “We see massive growth potential in the MENA technology infrastructure space, with the UAE in particular investing heavily to develop innovation and technological readiness. As economies in our part of the world mature and move higher up the value chain towards the highest calling of man innovation - we are honoured to be a vehicle bringing the smartest global capital to serve as a catalyst in this transformation. We are pleased that such illustrious investors have entrusted us with their capital. We in turn will strive to add genuine value to the entrepreneurs we back and provide stellar returns for our investors.
The fund’s advisors include Harvard Business School Professors; the global CEO of Rocket Internet and a number of other veteran investors, entrepreneurs and advisors.
MENA Fund I successfully closed in Q4 of 2013 and Emerge Ventures is not seeking any further investments until it launches MENA Fund II.
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