RAMALLAH, PALESTINE (July 5, 2017) – On July 5, 2017, Ibtikar Fund, Palestine’s early stage venture capital fund announced a capital increase, welcoming the International Finance Corporation, the Dutch Good Growth Fund, and Reach Holding as investors. With this closing, Ibtikar (“Innovation” in Arabic) increases its capital by USD 2.5 million, to USD 10.45 million, providing it with the ability to invest in more Palestinian startups over the next three years.
This marks the first investment in Palestinian venture capital by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), active worldwide investors. For DGGF, this is the first venture capital investment in MENA, the second for the IFC under its new Startup Catalyst program. "Our investment in Ibtikar is well aligned with our creating markets campaign in the entrepreneurship space, which we started few years ago," said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa. "The lack of funding for start-ups in MENA in general, and the Palestinian Territories in particular, is a major challenge.
This investment will help Ibtikar continue its very impressive journey in financing and supporting startups that are in need of capital." “These new investments are a validation of our work over the last two years, and a vote of confidence in our management,” said Habib Hazzan, Managing General Partner of Ibtikar, “we are glad that the IFC, DGGF and Reach Holding agree with our leading current investors in the potential of Palestinian startups and welcome them to our fund.”
Ibtikar Fund is managed by Mr. Habib Hazzan and Mrs. Ambar Amleh and a Board chaired by Mr. Hashim Shawa, Chairman and General Manager of the Bank of Palestine (the fund’s anchor investor), and that includes Mr. Zahi Khouri, Chairman and CEO of the National Beverage Company, and Mr. Marcelo Diaz Bowen. Launched in May 2016, Ibtikar has made 14 investments in Palestinian startups, a growing portfolio that has already been attractive to regional and global investors.
About Ibtikar Fund
Ibtikar is a disruptive fund that invests in innovative Palestinian companies. Ibtikar’s investments begin at the seed level through local accelerators, continue in postacceleration phases and can also include series A investments in its portfolio companies. Through this investment strategy we aim to close a critical funding gap between acceleration and VC and other later-stage investors. Our goal is to maximize return for our investors by helping high-potential Palestinian companies answer regional and global needs. For more information, visit www.ibtikarfund.com.
About the International Finance Corporation (IFC)
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, IFC uses its capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY16, IFC delivered a record $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About the Dutch Good Growth Fund
The Dutch Good Growth Fund/financing local SMEs is a “fund of fund” investment initiative from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, managed by a consortium of Triple Jump and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, that aims to improve financing for the “missing middle” – i.e. entrepreneurs who have outgrown micro-finance but do not yet have access to conventional capital markets. The Seed Capital and Business Development (SCBD) program is established to further the impact of the DGGF by providing Technical Assistance, Seed Capital and Business Support Services to intermediary funds and local SMEs. Through a range of instruments SCBD looks to spur innovation in SME finance and move the finance frontier to underserved SME markets.
About Reach Holding
Reach Holding Company is a USD 30M private shareholding company established by Mr. Malik Melhem, a Palestinian businessman. Reach Holding looks to enhance the Palestinian economy, contribute to its development, and deepen the Palestinian’s pertinence to their land.