A new $60 million venture capital fund led by an ex-Google executive and Silicon Valley venture capital firm veteran will invest in 120 early-stage startups across the MENA region, amid an anticipated boom in tech post-COVID.
Plus Venture Capital (+VC) will have key operations based in Bahrain, with offices in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt. +VC will invest in tech and tech-enabled startups across all sectors, including FinTech, HealthTech and EduTech in addition to Logistics, Content and Ecommerce at a time when the fund managers say capital is “barely keeping up with the pace of Middle Eastern innovation.”
The firm’s leadership, ex-Google executive Sharif El-Badawi and Silicon Valley venture capital firm veteran Hasan Haider, bring more than 35 years of combined investing and operating experience. Having completed more than 200 transactions together, the managing partners have a wealth of knowledge and track record of building new ideas into globally successful firms.
The MENA region is fast emerging as a key startup ecosystem, having seen several recent exits including the $3bn acquisition of Careem by Uber in 2019 and Souq by Amazon in 2017. The region offers a young, highly connected market of more than 400m people with similar cultures and languages.
According to regional data platform MAGNiTT, despite the impact of COVID-19, more than $659m was invested in MENA-based startups in the first half of 2020 – representing a staggering 95% of total venture investments in the previous year.