Dubai-based venture capital firm Nuwa Capital has raised $75 million to invest in the rapidly growing number of start-ups across the Middle East, with the majority of investors coming from Saudi Arabia.
According to the company, it has finished the first round of investment in its Nuwa Ventures Fund I (NVFI) and targets reaching the $100 million mark this year.
The NVFI plans to invest significant amounts in leading technology startups across the MENA region, as well as neighboring countries such as Turkey and Pakistan, and the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Sarah Abu Risheh, partner at Nuwa Capital said, “We were initially very surprised with the increased appetite for investing in technology, but as last year progressed, it did make a lot of sense because everybody turned to technology. The region started digitizing very fast. We were fundraising at that time, and we saw a lot of interest, and that was really positive for us.”
“Although we expected a delay given the challenging economic climate and limited travel, we have been able to build the right partnerships and finalize our first close in under a year. With a distinguished community of LPs [limited partners] … we are able to scale value creation and offer both strategic and operational support,” stated Stephanie Nour Prince, partner at Nuwa Capital.
“The first close [was] much faster than anticipated … our original plan was to close in up to two years but it was reduced to half. Things were delayed in the first three months till May … as markets were closed and we were unable to meet potential start-ups and investors. After that things picked up very fast as everybody’s emphasis was on technology and digital during the pandemic. As a firm, we will be constantly raising funds … our immediate focus is on raising the remaining 25 percent. We also co-invest a lot and like to work with other investors.”
Last year, Saudi Arabia reported a 35 percent year-on-year rise in the number of investment deals in the technology startup industry and a 55 percent increase in tech startup funding, according to Dubai-based leading data platform Magnitt.
Established in 2020, Nuwa has already invested in four regional firms, including Dubai-based online eyewear retailer Eyewa and FinTech start-up Flexxpay, and Cairo-based furniture marketplace Homzmart. It is preparing to announce more investments in the coming weeks, the company noted.