Ibtikar Fund Launches Ibtikar Fund II with $15M
The VC backing Palestinian startups locally and abroad, Ibtikar Fund has launched its second fund with the first closing at $15M.
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Ramallah-based VC Ibtikar Fund announced the first closing of its second fund, Ibtikar Fund II CV, which will build on the momentum and success of its first fund. The first closing was at $15M out of a target fund size of $30M, nearly three times the size of Fund 1.
Investing in Palestinian startups since 2015, Ibtikar Fund has backed exciting ventures across industries like FinTech, HealthTech, EdTech, E-commerce, and even gaming with game publisher Play3arabi standing as a star investment. As many of Ibtikar’s investees have continued to raise further funding rounds from their initial investments, Ibtikar Fund II is set to capitalize on this growth. Ibtikar’s second fund will continue to invest in Palestinian Tech startups based in Palestine, but will also be able to invest in Palestinian founders throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Investments will focus on early-stage companies (seed and pre-Series A) building scalable businesses targeting global or MENA markets.
As most recently recorded in our free State of Startup Funding- 2022 Emerging Venture Markets report a 4-year consecutive dip in Early-Stage Deals (<$500k) has reached an all-time low in 2021. Across all Emerging Venture Markets, Early-Stage deal share has decreased by 30PP since 2018, to consist 45% of all transactions in 2021. In MENA, and as recorded in our newly released 2022 MENA Venture Investment Report, despite impactful efforts from investors like the ISSF, Flat6Labs, Oasis500, Sanabil 500 MENA SEED Accelerator, Falak Hub, and many others to focus on Early-stage flow, Early-stage deal share fell by 10% YoY. It is emerging venture-focused funds like Ibtikar Fund along with angle communities like Cairo Angels and AUC Angles for example that can set up conducive infrastructures for Early-Stage Ventures in hopes of boosting future deal flow.
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The fund is led by Managing Partners, Habib Hazzan and Ambar Amleh. The fund anchor investment is from the Bank of Palestine, represented by their Chairman, Mr. Hashim Shawa. This first closing also includes institutional investors including the Dutch Good Growth Fund, managed by Triple Jump BV and PwC, and International Finance Corporation, who are joined by numerous private and corporate investors from Palestine and the diaspora, as well as well-known international leaders in the regional and global tech and venture capital scenes. As Managing Partner, Habib Hazzan explained, “through Fund 1, we invested in various companies that are growing throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. We are excited that through Fund 2 we will be able to build on this momentum and provide much-needed funding for the next wave of Palestinian startups. Our pipeline is strong and we look forward to announcing our first investments soon.”
Banking on their market experience, Ibtikar Fund 1 made early-stage investments in 26 startups, including Mashvisor, Gamiphy, Kenz, LogesTechs, 360Moms, and Tawazon. “We are very proud that investors from Fund 1 have strongly invested in Fund 2-- most of them have increased their investment amount, doubling down not only in our team but also in the potential of Palestinian startups. We also look forward to continuing to fundraise and welcoming new investors in the coming year to reach our target of USD 30 million,” said Mrs. Ambar Amleh, Managing Partner.
With investors from the first fund backing the second, Ibtikar Fund has proven to be a vital player in the Palestinian entrepreneurship scene locally and abroad. With the first closing of Ibtikar Fund II, the team has allocated a sizable growth capital to invest in Palestine’s next promising ventures “Venture capital is critical to helping startups in West Bank and Gaza reach scale and compete both regionally and internationally,” added Youssef Habesh, IFC’s resident representative in the West Bank and Gaza. “That, in turn, could have a powerful impact on the local economy. Technology companies have the potential to become engines of job creation, which is key in a market where unemployment, especially for women and youth, is a challenge.” Habesh concluded.
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