Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund Invests $1M in Access Bridge Ventures 

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Set on a mission to support innovative early-stage startups and SMEs, the Amman-based Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) has announced its $1M investment in UAE-based VC Fund Access Bridge Ventures (ABV). The UAE-based early-stage venture capital fund is currently focused on MENA, Pakistan, and Turkey. ABV serves as a first institutional investor, empowering entrepreneurs on their journeys from the early stages by extending end-to-end investment and operational expertise. By doing so, ABV nurtures distinguished leaders across various sectors.

This recent investment comes at a time when the venture space in MENA needs it the most, after a slump in early-stage and accelerated deals was observed in the first half of the year. As observed in our H1 2021 MENA Venture Investment Report, rounds sized below $500K went from accounting for 71% of all deals in 2019 to just 41% in H1 2021. Similarly, accelerated deals went from accounting for 33% of all deals in 2019 to just 13% in H1 2021. Both ABV and ISSF have garnered an impressive portfolio of prominent early-stage investments including in startups like Saudi-based Speero, Egypt-based Flextock, Amman-based POSRocket, and UAE-based Silkroad Images


Established in 2017, the Jordan-based private shareholding company has set on a mission to support Jordan’s entrepreneurial and innovation landscape. With a working capital of $98M, the ISSF is making direct investments in innovative, export-oriented, and scalable local startups, alongside its initiatives to elevate the capabilities and skills of the Jordanian startup scene. 

In light of this recent investment ISSF CEO, Laith Al Qasem highlighted “We are pleased with our decision to invest in ABV, which is renowned for its strong network of partners. The regional fund will effectively outreach and support Jordanian early-stage startups to become leaders within their respective fields, thereby actively contributing towards the national economy and supplying talents, solutions, and innovations that keep pace with today’s tech-driven era.”

ABV - led by Issa Aghabi and Rakan AlRashed, who bring 25 years of experience investing in and exiting tech companies across the MENA region and beyond - announced the first close of its $25M fund in January 2021. In turn, ABV Managing Partner, Issa Aghabi, concluded “The MENA landscape has transformed over the past few years, with entrepreneurs and startups acting as powerful catalysts for economic growth and development. ABV boasts the unique ability to identify and cultivate this new breed of tech companies, many of which are extraordinary in their own right, and help them realize their full potentials. Our partnership with the ISSF will further enhance ABV’s capacity to invest in and work with promising home-grown Jordanian entrepreneurs to ultimately make them regional successes.”

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