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The Jordan-based Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) has just announced its investment of $150K into UAE-based stock image provider Silkroad Images helping them wither the downsizing wave post-pandemic. This Pre-Series A round came in parallel with an internal funding round the Silkroad team has led.
Founded in 2011, Silk Road images is a provider of exclusive Middle Eastern stock photography images and digital content such as vectors, sound effects, VAS images, and editorials. This includes thousands of images (segmented into multiple, unique categories) sourced from reputable experienced photographers & content developers from across the region. The ISSF registered as a Jordanian private shareholding company, aims to support and elevate Jordan’s entrepreneurial and innovation landscape through its venture fund, expertise, and initiatives.
Based on our flagship MENA H1 2021 Venture Investment Report, Jordan-based investors comprised a rooted 6% of all investors backing MENA-based startups in the first half of the year. Investors like Oasis500, who ranked 7th in the top 10 investors over H1 2021, and funds like ISSF make Jordan a very active player in the MENA VC space.
As content marketing gains traction in MENA and around the world, demand for authentic MENA-focused stock photography and visuals exceptionally grows. Silkroad Images aims to bridge the gap between communication executives and experienced photographers, as well as close the gap between the audience and the messaging through unified MENA-oriented content. As the company grows in the market, this investment is key to withering the pandemic as Riham Mahafza, founder and CEO of Silkroad Images explains “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a massive toll on numerous industries, forcing companies - especially startups and SMEs - to downsize drastically or shut down altogether, and our industry was no exception. Securing investment from the ISSF, combined with an internal funding round, will enable us to expand our digital library with authentic and intuitive content, grow our team, outreach new audiences, and develop our operations, consequently bridging our expansion into untapped high-potential markets in the near future.”
Established in 2017, the objective of the ISSF is to support and elevate Jordan’s entrepreneurial and innovation landscape by facilitating the establishment of new investment funds that serve the ecosystem; making direct investments in innovative, export-oriented, and scalable local startups; as well as implementing initiatives that improve the capabilities of Jordanian entrepreneurs and startup teams through training, capacity building and targeted incubation and acceleration programs. In light of this recent investment ISSF CEO, Laith Al Qasem concluded “In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we have been placing added emphasis on direct investments in order to allow pioneering companies to not only survive, but also thrive. Through this investment, the ISSF is accelerating the growth of “Silkroad Images” and actively empowering the company to reach its full technical and operational potentials, thus positively impacting the local economy, achieving national progress and positioning Jordan as a prime tech and entrepreneurial hub.”
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