The Kuwaiti businessman Saad Al Barrak is looking to raise up to US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) for a fund specialising in niche telecoms firms.
The former chief executive of Zain Group says his new venture, ILA Group, will begin fundraising next year, and initially expects to make between 15 and 20 investments.
"At the beginning of 2013, we will start raising the fund. We'll start at $300 million, and hopefully evolve it within three to five years to a billion-dollar fund," said Mr Al Barrak.
The Kuwaiti grew Zain into an empire with $8bn in revenues, before his surprise departure as head of the company in 2010. Mr Al Barrak also resigned last year as the chief executive of Zain's Saudi Arabian subsidiary.
His new venture is looking to invest in telecoms-related start-up business in the Middle East and other emerging markets globally.
He is initially looking to raise $300m, which the fund intends to channel into more than a dozen companies. "I think we can employ the $300m in a matter of a month, with the opportunities available," he said.
ILA has already established a firm in Cairo specialising in cloud computing and communications between computers. It also has interests in the technology firm Mobila, and the cyber-security company Red Lambda.
Mr Al Barrak hopes to court private investors globally in raising the funds and says ILA Group would play an active role in the firms in which it invests.
"There are lots of opportunities in India, and technology companies in the emerging markets such as Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East," he said.
"We have a lot of small ventures that are very promising, and need very little investment - like from $1m to $5m. We're looking growth rates compounded over five years of around 30 per cent."
Mr Al Barrak said ILA was especially interested in telecoms companies that specialise in communications between computers, rather than people.
"We are very focused on the future of mobile telecom, which is what they call the machine-to-machine applications," he said. "In the next five years, the expectation is between 50 billion and 100 billion SIM cards. All will be communicating through the mobile networks. And this presents a huge growth opportunity."
Mr Al Barrak said the company was not interested in investing in traditional telecoms companies such as Etisalat or du, but said mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) marked an area of interest. Such operators do not build or own telecoms infrastructure but piggyback on existing operators' networks to sell services to consumers.
"In this region we could look at very promising telecom operators, MVNOs. In the region, some ventures have high growth; that would be one prime area to invest in," said Mr Al Barrak.