1st Independent Qatari Venture Capital company, Rasmal Ventures launched

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Rasmal Ventures launched under QFC
Rep.Image (Courtesy: QFC)

Rasmal Ventures, the first independent Qatari venture capital (VC) company, has officially launched under the jurisdiction of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), a leading onshore financial and business center in the region.

Led by a team of experienced venture capital experts, Rasmal Ventures seeks to become an active player in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s growing startup and innovation ecosystem.

Rasmal Ventures, founded by five seasoned venture capitalists, has been granted a license to manage exempt funds domiciled in QFC and offer consulting services. Two of them, Mr. Alexander Wiedmer and Mr. Angus Paterson, were previously partners of Iris Capital and of a GCC fund that was the first institutional investor in Careem among other successful investments. Both have 20+ years of venture capital experience and 10+ years’ experience of in VC investing in the GCC.

They are joined by the founding partner of Doha Tech Angels and a former executive at Ooredoo and Kahramaa Dr. Shaikha Al Jabir, ex-asset manager for Qatar Energy and M&A Advisor at PwC, Mr. Marc Bourland, and Ms. Soumaya Ben Beya Dridje, who has VC, fund investment and entrepreneurship experience in Silicon Valley, Europe and North Africa.

The newly formed fund manager will leverage the regulatory framework and favorable environment provided by QFC, benefitting from the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority’s (QFCRA) introduction of the Exempt Professional Investor Fund, a venture capital-friendly fund product with streamlined regulations.

Rasmal Ventures will also establish its venture capital management company and its upcoming fund, Rasmal Innovation Fund I, within QFC jurisdiction, which reflects its commitment to providing a secure and transparent investment platform for Qatari and regional investors.

Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida_Rasmal Ventures launched
Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida
CEO – QFC Authority

“We are delighted to welcome Rasmal Ventures LLC to the QFC platform, yet another significant addition to our growing community. At the QFC, we remain committed to providing an exceptional and attractive business environment for companies to grow their businesses in Qatar. As an integral part of Qatar’s strategic initiative to build a robust economy, we aim to foster a thriving business ecosystem that drives innovation and accelerates technological advancement in the country. We are confident that Rasmal Ventures will contribute to further the economic development of the region.”

The Rasmal Innovation Fund I will be launched with the support of key Qatari private investors and institutions. The team is working with QFCRA to incorporate the fund, and a first closing is expected to be announced in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The company aims to raise a fund of $100 million, which will make up to 25 equity investments in Qatari start-ups and scale-ups affording outstanding growth potential as well as regional (MENA) and selective international technology investment opportunities at Pre-Series A, Series A, Series B stages.

The Fund manager aims to target high-performing companies in fast-growing technology sectors. According to the founders, the fund will have a generalist tech approach across all sectors but will also specialize in verticals such as climate tech and energy tech, supply chain logistics, fintech, B2B Saas Software, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). They have identified these sectors as strategic to Qatar and offering tremendous growth potential in the region.

Rasmal Ventures Partner Shaikha Al Jabir said that “MENA has seen a dynamic and evolving venture capital landscape in recent years. According to a report by MAGNiTT, in 2022 alone the amount of funding in the region reached $3.2 billion, with 627 registered deals and a remarkable uptick in exits. For our team, this offers an attractive opportunity to establish our base in a thriving market within a regulated environment. We strongly believe that Qatar’s stable economic outlook and well-regulated infrastructure will appeal to Qatar-based, as well as international, investors.”

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