Wamda Capital, an investment vehicle initiated by Fadi Ghandour,
has launched what is believed to be the largest growth stage venture fund
in the region.
Wamda MENA Ventures I, a $75 million regional investment
fund, aims to address an emerging equity funding gap for growth stage start-ups in the region.
According to the Wamda Research Lab’s 2014 report, 68
percent of investments in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, which had received
$500,000, never received any follow-on funding.
The launch included the announcement of the new fund’s
investment in News Group International, a MENA- and India-focused news content
consultancy, and Jamalon, an Arabic online book store.
A number of regional and international investors
contributed to the new fund, including the International Finance Corporation
(IFC) a member of the World Bank Group, the Abraaj Group, Crescent Enterprises
and Zain Group.
To found Wamda Capital, Fadi Ghandour partnered with Khaled Talhouni, Walid Faza
and Lana Alamat.
In 2010, they first established Mena Venture Investments,
an early stage angel investment network,
which has been targeting investments in high growth tech start-ups led by
exceptional entrepreneurs, leaders in their markets.
With the launch
of their new growth-stage fund, Wamda Capital is now managing two funds to
support start-ups in both phases of their development – early stage and growth
stage investing – and help them scale beyond MENA borders and create successful
exits, about which Ghandour said: “The tech sector is
being fuelled by rising demand and has the potential to drive development,
employment and innovation across the region. We have been working with tech
entrepreneurs from the very early stages of this industry and will be
continuing our journey.
“We are at the cusp of an incredible phase of growth
in the MENA region’s tech sector.”
is also the chairman of Wamda Platform, an entrepreneurship ecosystem enabler
for MENA launched during the Celebration of Entrepreneurship in Dubai in 2010.
Habib Haddad is the Platform’s founding CEO.