MEVP to fuel innovative start-ups with $125 million Middle East fund
The Middle East focused venture capital firm MEVP announced today an additional $65 million in LP [limited partner] commitments, reaching a total fund size of $125 million for its latest fund, Middle East Venture Fund III (MEVF III).
The Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), which invests in the early and growth stages of innovative companies, held its Annual Investor Conference today, in Dubai. The one-day event drew about 200 key investors and entrepreneurs.
“We are witnessing a transformational era for the tech ecosystem in MENA. Many startups that were seeded a couple of years ago, have matured and have become regional champions in their respective verticals,” said Walid Hanna, MEVP Founder, and CEO.
During the event, MEVP also confirmed that it is in advanced talks with regional wealth funds and government institutions to reach its $200 million fund target.
“In the GCC, countries are actively diversifying their economies away from oil and placing more focus on startups, technology, and the knowledge economy. The Al Waha Fund of Funds aims to be part of this economic shift across the dynamic business ecosystems of the GCC – and we will work closely with funds in the UAE on this,” said Areije Al-Shakar, Senior Vice President and Head of Development Services, Bahrain Development Bank.
So far, MEVF III has invested $12 million in 5 companies: One Click, a technology-enabled on-demand last mile logistics provider; The Luxury Closet, a leader in pre-owned luxury and fashion vertical; Eat App, a SaaS provider to restaurants and table booking marketplace; Sarwa, the region’s premier regulated financial robo-advisory; and Nana, a Saudi Arabia-based platform for grocery ordering and delivery. MEVP is also in the closing mode for an additional $2 million in a Pakistan-based marketplace providing ride-hailing, parcel and food delivery services.
“There is huge potential in the GCC and the wider MENA region but one of the things holding back startups from scaling faster – one of the reasons the region hasn’t yet produced the global technology success stories to rival Silicon Valley or China – is access to funding and a nascent VC ecosystem. We have the talent in the GCC and the region as a whole– that’s clear from what the likes of Careem, PropertyFinder and Talabat have already achieved – but the Careems of tomorrow need access to capital in order to thrive, create jobs and develop the technology, systems and business models that will drive this new era of economic development in the Gulf,” Areije Al-Shakar said.
The speakers at the event highlighted significant digital trends globally and what this means to the region as well as recent changes in the investment landscape.