FARES GHANDOUR I PARTNER I WAMDA CAPITAL
Venture capital is becoming an asset class in MENA that every institutional investor and family office in the region is allocating capital to. When Wamda Capital closed its first fund in 2015, it was virtually impossible to fund-raise for a VC fund in the region outside a few pockets of capital here and there, primarily anchored by DFI'S like the IFC who have been bullish on the tech space in the region since the start. The ecosystem historically has depended heavily on individual advocates like Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury from Jabbar, and of course our General Partner Fadi Ghandour along with figures like Ahmed Alfi in Egypt, Hala Fadel in Lebanon, and others in the region to advocate and seed the ecosystem. This will now change as appeal to the asset class will come from companies that have achieved enough scale to warrant attention in and of themselves. We've gone from a region with ~$200M-$300M in VC in 2015 to ~$1.5B by YE 2018. That is a great opportunity but also puts tremendous pressure on the asset class to perform. We need to effectively create over $15B-$20B in value over the next 10-15 years in order for returns to make sense.