x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 September 2017

Alabbar takes stake in regional VC fund

Mohamed Alabbar buys a large stake in Middle East Venture Partners in a digital commerce push.

Mohamed Alabbar has acquired a large stake in Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) as the Emaar Properties chairman extends his influence over the region’s growing e-commerce ecosystem.

The exact size of the stake and how much Mr Alabbar paid for it were not disclosed.

Mr Alabbar said he was partnering up with MEVP to help discover the region’s future innovators and tech entrepreneurs.

“While preserving MEVP management’s operational independence, we will extend support to young and emerging digital entrepreneurs with growth capital, strategic advice and operational support, and help them grow into sector leaders, regionally and beyond,” he said.

Middle East Venture Partners has more than US$120 million of assets under management and $60m in co-investments. Its portfolio includes in the music streaming service Anghami.

Walid Hanna, the founder and managing partner of MEVP, said by combining with Mr Alabbar, it could offer regional start-ups greater opportunities.

Mr Alabbar is already backing the e-commerce platform Noon.com, in a joint $1 billion investment with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, as he targets the region’s rapidly changing retail landscape. He missed out on acquiring Souq.com, which was bought by Amazon in March.

He has a number of other e-commerce holdings, however, including 40 per cent of a €130m joint venture with Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) to bring the Milan-based online luxury fashion retailer to the region.

A further $1bn will be raised in the UAE this year and invested in technology start-ups, according to Arabnet.

mkassem@thenational.ae