Plus Venture Capital (+VC) has announced the launch of its operations and its debut fund focused on investing in early-stage tech startups across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and its diaspora.
Founded by veterans of the startup ecosystem - ex-Google executive Sharif El Badawi and investment veteran Hasan Haider - the company is taking an innovative approach to supporting early-stage companies, leveraging more than 35 years of combined investing and operating experience.
Having completed over 200 transactions together, the firm's managing partners have a wealth of knowledge and proven track records of helping portfolio companies achieve operational milestones and building global companies.
As an entrepreneur and former investment banker, Hasan has been investing in startups in the region for the past 10 years.
Prior to +VC, he worked in venture capital in Silicon Valley and Mena, and established one of the first angel investment groups in the region.
He's joined by his partner Sharif, a seasoned serial entrepreneur, operator and investor, who brings 25 years of technology and growth experience to the firm.
Sharif worked at a number of Internet companies since the mid-90s in Silicon Valley, including Google, prior to moving to the region to focus on startup investing. He serves as an advisor and member on several startup and non-profit boards.
On the new venture firm, Haider said: "We are excited to launch +VC with a differentiated investment thesis for the region. The aim of the firm is to invest in a broadly diversified portfolio of seed stage startups, targeting 120 investments over the next 3 years."
The Mena region is fast emerging as a key startup ecosystem, having seen several recent exits including the $3 billion acquisition of Careem by Uber in 2019 and the acquisition of Souq by Amazon in 2017.
"Our five-year legacy of investing in Mena and global startups has helped us build deep personal networks for exceptional deal flow. Our thesis is designed to empower startups in the rapidly growing economy. We intend to leverage our expertise and knowledge to positively impact the growth of the region's burgeoning startup ecosystem," he observed.
The region has a positive macro story, with a largely young, highly connected market of over 400 million people with a similar culture and language.
Although the market is still nascent, it is growing rapidly with funding and exits increasing year over year, indicating the tremendous opportunity for early investment that +VC is positioned to capitalize on, he added.-TradeArabia News Service