MENA Telecoms operator Zain Group is making its second foray into venture capital investing and joining the ranks of other investors with a strategic participation in Wamda Capital’s new $75 million fund. The structure and terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Wamda MENA Ventures Fund I is a planned $75 million venture capital fund which will target promising tech start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa. In February, the fund announced that it had raised $55.7 million from 26 LPs with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, followed by a $10 million commitment from the IFC in late May.
The Fund’s core strategy is to work with entrepreneurs to build solid, scaleable businesses and ensure access to capital at early stages of a venture to fuel their growth. Beyond financial investment, WamdaCapital offers support through mentorship, access to markets, networks, and clients, as well as cross-border operational support.
Commenting on the strategic investment, Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer said, “Zain is becoming an active participant in this new digital age and by investing in venture capital funds that have an enviable track record of success across the region, reconfirms our intention to enhance the power of innovation through supporting aspiring and talented entrepreneurs. At the same, we aim to leverage and establish strategic collaborations with, or even equity investment in these start-ups, creating value for all our stakeholders.”
Zain’s investment in Wamda MENA Ventures I is part of the Zain Digital Frontier and Innovation (ZDFI) initative which was launched in 2014, The division is charged with launching Zain into the digital space and help grow the company by developing and acquiring new innovative business streams that add to Zain’s valuation and customer service offerings. ZDFI focuses on the areas of innovation, digital services, corporate venturing and smart cities.