UAE’s e& launches new $250m VC fund to support tech start-ups

UAE-based telecom and technology company e& (formerly known as Etisalat Group) has raised a $250 million venture capital fund as part of its new investment unit e&capital to support the tech start-up ecosystem .

The e&capital VC fund will seek to attract, engage and support startups and give them access to investor and expert networks, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

In the meantime, e&capital will “continue to drive the tech ecosystem through larger growth-stage investments beyond its VC fund,” it said.

The e& investment arm has already closed a number of “substantial deals,” including a strategic investment in Vuz’s $20 million Series B funding round. Vuz is an immersive social app that offers users augmented reality and digital metaverse experiences.

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It has also participated in a €1.4 million (US$1.36 million) funding round from Lablabee, a tech start-up aiming to create a laboratory platform for telco cloud and training offer that are more interactive and accessible.

“We believe that trends that are shaping the future are worth investing in,” said Hatem Dowidar, Group Chief Executive of e&.

The VC ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa is growing amidst the start-up boom, particularly in sectors such as technology and digitalization.

According to a report by data platform Magnitt, venture capital funding for startups in the region grew 20 percent annually to more than $2.3 billion in the first three quarters of 2022, on track to expand in 2021 total investment attracted may surpass .

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Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia retained the top three positions in both funding value and number of transactions, accounting for more than 75 percent of total Mena investments, it said.

Financial technology remained the leading industry during the period with 94 deals valued at $747 million, up nearly three quarters annually, Magnitt added.

Mena FinTech companies that made the headlines in fundraising were Tabby from the United Arab Emirates with $150 million, Tamara from Saudi Arabia with $100 million and Wave Mobile Money from Senegal with $91.6 million U.S. dollar.

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“As an investment arm of e&, our vision is to invest in business ideas that will enable a better and brighter digital future,” said Kushal Shah, Head of Venture Capital at e& Capital.

“Great change never happens overnight, and we are preparing for a long-term goal of enabling meaningful progress… As we build a portfolio of rapidly scaling companies that are already proven winners, we look forward to getting things moving in VC.” and growth investments as we rely on a thorough process that continually builds and maintains momentum.”

Updated October 13, 2022 10:41 am



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