Wamda Capital, the investment vehicle founded by UAE-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital and its subsidiary Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), aims 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, speaking on the sidelines of the Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Wamda was founded as a means to facilitate entrepreneurship in the region. According to Haddad, there are many opportunities in the Mena region.

“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 [when popular protests were organised on social networking sites] are reflecting positively on innovation,” says Haddad.

Wamda Capital focuses on small investments of about $100,000 in early-stage start-ups to help them develop and grow in the region and beyond.