Access Bridge Ventures launches with first close of its debut fund to invest in MENAP startups

Abu Dhabi-based early-stage VC firm Access Bridge Ventures has announced the launch and first close of its $25 million debut fund today. The firm did not disclose the exact size but told MENAbytes that it is a significant first close and it aims to hit the final close in a year.

The team behind Access Bridge Ventures includes Issa Aghabi and Rakan AlRashed who bring over 25 years of collective experience in tech investing in the region. Issa was previously with International Finance Corporation, leading their VC activities (investment in funds and startups) across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan. Rakan, according to the statement, was part of a Saudi investment firm that focused on SMEs and startups. Dubai-based private equity firm ClearBridge Capital Partners has co-founded the fund.

Access Bridge Ventures’ limited partners (LPs) include Mubadala Capital, Saudi Venture Capital Company, Public Investment Fund’s Jada, and multiple family offices of the region, it said in a statement. The fund will invest in early-stage startups across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan. The statement hints that the markets it will focus on will include Saudi, UAE, Egypt, and Pakistan. It will look for startups led by superstar teams and some traction. The fund is sector-agnostic but will be focusing on healthtech, edtech, fintech, enterprise, SaaS, ecommerce, and marketplaces.

Issa Aghabi, the co-founder and Managing Partner of the Access Bridge Ventures has told MENAbytes that their cheque size would range between $250,000 to $500,000. He also said that the fund will lead the rounds wherever possible.

In a statement, commenting on the launch, Issa, added, “The MENA landscape has transformed over the past few years, with entrepreneurs and start-ups acting as a catalyst for economic growth and development. ABV has the unique ability to identify and cultivate this new breed of tech companies, many of which are extraordinary in their own right, and help them realise their full potential. Securing our first close reflects the confidence in ABV’s capabilities and investment strategy, where we lead the round and support our founders throughout their journey, as early as the first institutional investor.”

Magellan Makhlouf, Co-founder and Managing Director of CedarBridge, said, “CedarBridge is proud to have co-founded ABV and we look forward to enhancing their offering with our vast global network and deep sectoral expertise. With our collective experience, ABV is well-positioned to make a meaningful impact and contribute to the growth of the region’s burgeoning tech industry.”

According to its website, Access Bridge Ventures has already invested in two startups; Saudi-based auto spare parts marketplace Speero and Egyptian logistics startup Flextock.

Zubair Naeem Paracha
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