Saudi Arabia’s venture capital space continues to grow

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - CAIRO: Silicon Valley-based investor Plug and Play Tech Center, renowned for its early investments in successful firms such as Dropbox and PayPal, is seeking to raise $100 million to support Saudi startups, Bloomberg reported. 

The venture capital firm is in discussions with Jada, a $1 billion fund of funds established by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund the Public Investment Fund, to collaborate on this initiative, Saeed Amidi, Plug and Play’s founder and CEO, stated. 

The fund is expected to launch in January, with Plug and Play contributing up to 10 percent of the total amount, while the remainder will be raised from Saudi funds and family offices.  

Amidi emphasized that Plug and Play’s decision to establish the fund stems from the improved quality of Saudi startups in recent years.  

He added that the firm’s commitment to maintaining high standards would not waver, regardless of the location.  

Saudi Arabia is actively promoting entrepreneurship and the venture capital industry as part of its efforts to diversify its oil-dependent economy and generate employment opportunities within the private sector.  

Jada, for instance, previously supported a $50 million Middle East fund managed by Hambro Perks Ltd. in 2021. 

With a current portfolio of five funds totaling $500 million, Plug and Play aims to expand its influence further to establish an additional five funds, creating more avenues for investment and growth opportunities.  

The firm’s entry into the Saudi market not only highlights the increasing attractiveness of the country’s startup ecosystem but also reinforces its potential as a hub for innovation and technological advancement. 

By fostering collaboration between Plug and Play and Saudi tech startups, the venture aims to accelerate the growth of the startup ecosystem in the Kingdom, bolster the economy, and drive job creation as Saudi Arabia continues to prioritize diversification and technological advancement.

SVC invest $30m in Shorooq Partners Bedaya Fund II 

Saudi Venture Capital has made an investment of $30 million in Shorooq Partner’s newly launched Bedaya Fund II, which has a total fund size of $150 million.  

The fund, launched in March, is dedicated to supporting startups in sectors such as fintech, software, platform verticals, and digital assets. 

This investment follows SVC’s recent commitment to allocate $7.5 million for the Endeavor Catalyst fund in May.  

These strategic investments demonstrate SVC’s dedication to fostering the growth and development of the startup ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. 

By providing substantial financial support to initiatives like the Bedaya Fund II, SVC aims to contribute to the success of innovative startups and drive economic diversification in the Kingdom.  

The agreement for the investment was signed by Nabeel Koshak, CEO and board member at SVC, and Mahmoud Adi, founding partner at Shorooq Partners.  

The signing ceremony was also attended by prominent figures including Yousef Al-Benyan, chairman of the SME Bank, and Abdulrahman Mansour, acting CEO of the SME Bank.  

SVC is dedicated to providing financing pre-seed to pre-initial public offering stages with a total investment capital of $1.6 billion. 

To date, SVC has successfully invested in 38 funds, which have in turn supported 674 companies through 1,257 deals.

Egypt’s Sharia-compliant fintech Agel raises pre-seed funding round 

Egyptian fintech startup Agel has secured a pre-seed funding round for an undisclosed amount from Plus Venture Capital, Seedstars International Ventures, Flat6labs, SEEDRA Ventures, Banque Misr Acceleration Program, and other angel investors. 

The seven-figure investment will empower Agel to pursue its mission of providing Shariah-compliant lending services for small and medium enterprises in Egypt. 

Founded in 2021 by Abdelrahman Saeed and Ahmed El Sherbiny, the fintech offers innovative financing solutions such as Murabaha, a cost-plus financing model adhering to Islamic principles. 

SPEEDREAD

• With a current portfolio of five funds totalling $500 million, Plug and Play aims to expand its influence further to establish an additional five funds.

• The firm’s entry into the Saudi market not only highlights the increasing attractiveness of the country’s startup ecosystem but also reinforces its potential as a hub for innovation and technological advancement.

• The venture aims to bolster the economy and drive job creation as Saudi Arabia continues to prioritize diversification and technological advancement.

With the newly raised funds, Agel aims to obtain a non-banking financial institution license, further refine its product offerings, and expedite its expansion across Egypt. 

Agel is also preparing to launch a co-branded banking card service in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to cater to the needs of merchants.  

Through the partnership, Agel aims to expand its reach and provide comprehensive financial services to a broader customer base.

Egypt’s fashion e-commerce TFK acquires OPIO 

Egyptian fashion e-commerce marketplace The Fashion Kingdom has recently completed the acquisition of OPIO, a direct-to-consumer fashion brand. The financial details of the deal remain undisclosed. 

Founded in 2020 by Marianne Simaika, Fadi Antaki, and Karim Abdel Kader, TFK offers a comprehensive platform of support to its brands, encompassing manufacturing, operations, marketing, and content creation.  

Leveraging a scalable tech stack, TFK empowers its partner brands with a robust infrastructure to thrive in the competitive fashion industry. 

The acquisition of OPIO is a strategic move for TFK, aligning with its vision to establish a venture stylized as THE FASHION KINGDOM with the goal of creating an all-in-one fashion aggregator and venture builder. 

The cooperation between TFK and OPIO will enable the combined entity to offer enhanced offerings and experiences to fashion-conscious consumers in the region.

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