'Zain Ventures' launches with major investments

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Zain Group, the global telecom innovator operating in seven markets across MENA announces the launch of Zain Ventures and the closing of investments in USA-based Pipe, and the UAE’s latest unicorn Swvl, supporting their growth across Zain’s regional footprint and beyond. 

Zain Ventures was recently established to complement the existing investment portfolio of Zain Group and open the door to future investment opportunities in the venture capital, FinTech and Tech World, focusing on digital innovations in the fast-growing electronic services and startup ecosystem. Investments coming out of Saudi Arabia are recording stellar numbers as seen in MAGNiTT’s MENA H1 2021 Venture Investment Report. Investors in Saudi Arabia funded 19% of total capital raised in MENA over the first half of the year, with KSA-based VC firms like Sanabil Investments closing 12 times the amount of deals YoY.


Zain Ventures is spearheading the Tech scene in building its world-class portfolio. The recent investments strengthen the group’s global position and add tremendous knowledge to its Tech network as Bader Al Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO commented “The establishment of Zain Ventures is another step in Zain Group’s ‘4Sight’ strategy and progression to become a full-fledged digital services company. We have already enjoyed tremendous success in the investments we have made in venture capital entities and startups that show promising potential for boosting our revenues in new and developing verticals, and formalizing these investments under a single entity at this time will create shareholder value.”

The Venture Capital group honed its focus on big players in the Transportation and Fintech sectors with Pipe & Swvl. US-based Fintech startup Pipe is recognized as the world's first trading platform for recurring revenues with its recent fund-raising valuing the entity at US$2Bn in just under a year since its public launch in June 2020. Malek Hammoud, Chief Investment and Digital Transformation Officer highlighted “Pipe is a start-up that is re-writing the rule book on fintech development, and in which many other prominent and shrewd venture capitalists and investment companies are supporting strongly, as shown by the latest round of funding we all participated in. We believe Pipe offers an incredible opportunity for capital appreciation and revenue growth and we look forward to participating in its continuing expansion as more clients are added to the platform.”

The Cairo and Dubai-based ride-hailing platform Swvl is transforming the $1 trillion global mass transit market. Swvl is set to go public through a formidable merger with the women-only led special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, in collaboration with Agility, Luxor Capital Growth, and Zain, valuing the startup at US$1.5 billion marking it as the first $1Bn plus unicorn from the Middle East to list on Nasdaq and the only tech-enabled mass transit solutions company to list on any stock exchange.

Zain Ventures’ investment is key to the global unicorn status that Swvl is set to achieve and yet it was a vital opportunity for the group as Al Kharafi concluded, “Zain grasped the opportunity to invest in Swvl for reasons that are also core to our Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion corporate strategy: 1. Supporting national transport infrastructure and optimizing mobility; 2. Serving the underprivileged; 3. Sustainability and environmentally friendly; 4. Women empowerment and safety; 5. Unlimited synergies with Zain's footprint across the region. The Zain team looks forward to playing its strategic role and being part of Swvl's trajectory growth and global success story.”

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