Wamda Capital, the investment vehicle founded by UAE-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital and its subsidiary Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), is looking to invest in up to 20 start-ups a year across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and Turkey.
“We have already invested in four companies in four months. Innovation is everywhere in the region and we will invest in as many as we can handle,” says Habib Haddad, chief executive officer at Wamda Capital, while speaking on the sidelines of the Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The vehicle was founded as a means to facilitate entrepreneurship in the region. According to Haddad, there are many opportunities in Mena.
“We are betting on the region, we see it as a fast-growing emerging market. The fundamentals of investing are there, innovation is happening and the events of last year are reflecting positively on innovation,” says Haddad.
Wamda Capital focuses on small investments of about a hundred thousand dollars in early-stage start ups to help them develop and grow across and outside the region.
“There are tonnes of opportunities due to the lack of other aggressive venture capitalists in the region, which is good for us, but bad for the ecosystem,” says Haddad.