Fadi Ghandour, one of the most notable angel investors from Dubai and the Middle East, today announced a new venture capital fund with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as co-investor.
Fadi, an early investor in Maktoob internet portal that was sold to Yahoo for $164 million, is the chairman of logistics firm Aramex and an active investor from the Middle East. His other investment firms are Wamda Capial and MENA Venture Investments.
(More details about his firm "MENA Venture Investments" can be found in the Middle East Investors Directory under the code SINX1)
More details follows from Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal: The venture capital space for tech entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa just got slightly brighter.
Serial angel investor and entrepreneur Fadi Ghandour has teamed up with the International Finance Corporation to launch a new VC fund aimed at plugging a gap for tech startups across the region.
The fund, which will come under the umbrella of Mr.Ghandour’s existing company Wamda Capital, will offer series A funding of between $1 million and $3 million, a largely non-existent funding space in the region, according to Mr, Ghandour.
“There’s plenty of talent in the tech space,” he said on the sidelines of a media briefing organised by the IFC, which is part of the World Bank. “The education system in the Arab world is quite good, even though we complain about it.”
The fund will aim to close in April with $75 million to invest, Mr. Ghandour added, and had already received institutional investor interest from abroad.
The IFC will invest between $10 million and $15 million in the fund, according to Mouayed Makhlouf, regional director for the IFC. “Our main interest is to support Fadi in starting one of the first professionally run VC funds in the region, and hopefully kick start the sector in MENA,” Mr. Makhlouf said, adding the tie-up is a first for the IFC in the region.
Mr. Ghandour is one of the Middle East’s most well known angel investors and entrepreneurs. He was the founder of pan-Arab logistics company Aramex, which was once listed on the Nasdaq in New York, and since stepping down from every day operations, has been heavily involved in angel investing.
His portfolio includes, or has included, success stories such as Maktoob, the portal bought out by Yahoo; Souq.com, one of the region’s biggest e-commerce players; and Instabeat, a small Beirut startup that recently entered the wearable technology market.
However, Mr. Ghandour is certainly not the only investor to establish a professional VC fund for tech startups in the region. Even recently, others have entered the space.
Dubai-based entrepreneurs Arya Bolurfrushan and Paul Kenny last month founded Emerge Ventures to invest in tech advertising, mobile, payments and logistics. What’s more, a trickle of accelerator funding programmes has also begun to flow, with the recent additions of Juice Labs in Cairo and Afkar in Dubai.
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