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Jordan-based Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) has announced its $150K investment in Jordan-based alternative energy provider NEXT Renewable Energy Company. The funding round came as a business sustainer for the Jordan-based startup, as operations struggle with the pressures of the pandemic, and is aligned within a greater vision of sustainable and impactful investment by ISSF.
Founded in 2002, Jordan-based NEXT Renewable Energy Company provides specialized solar thermal (ST) and photovoltaic (PV) solutions. NEXT extends solar-dependent designs, fuel-saving solutions, desalination systems, and heavy fuel oil (HFO) tank heating for both commercial and industrial clients across the hotel, hospital, textile, and food industries.
Amidst a general deal drop in Emerging Venture Markets across MENA, a drop in Early-Stage deals (<$500K) has been a rather significant shift in deal flow dynamics. Early-stage funding rounds in MENA recorded 30% less share of total deals by Q3 2021, a 38% drop compared to MENA’s record of 78% in 2018. Despite this red flag for future deal flow recorded in our Q3 2021 MENA Venture Investment Report, this year observed a record investor participation, of which, regional and global investors like the ISSF, Flat6Labs, MEVP, Wa’ed, Oasis500, ShamalStart, 500 Global, and Y-combinator have been keeping a steady influx in Early-Stage deals in 2021.
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The investment aligns with the Innovative Future Initiative, which the ISSF launched to support startups and SMEs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Jordan. Organized in coordination with the World Bank, the initiative has allocated USD 7.5M to empower these companies to overcome the challenges imposed by the global health crisis. “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been placing added focus on direct investments so as to enable startups and SMEs to not only endure, but also prosper. Through this investment, the ISSF is helping NEXT to recover and reach its full technical and operational potentials, consequently contributing to the revival of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and positively impacting the national economy as a whole,” commented ISSF CEO, Laith Al Qasem.
Since the beginning of the year, the ISSF has been spotting promising innovations that can elevate the ecosystem in Jordan and the region, backing startups of different sizes including Jordan-based FinTech and microloan platform Solfeh, POSRocket the digital point of sale solution provider, and Martix, Jordan’s 3-year-old E-commerce aggregator. However this investment in NEXT Renewable Energy comes at a time where expansion and platform support is needed as NEXT Chairman, Hani Rabie concluded “The ISSF was very prompt and steadfast in responding to our pressing business needs. Following a standstill of over 14 months, we were awarded our first project since the onset of the pandemic. This investment came at an opportune time, enabling us to mobilize our resources and cover the expenses required for closing several pending projects throughout the region.”
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