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Singapore’s Golden Gate Ventures launches $100 million MENA fund, hits $20 million as first close

Singapore-based VC firm Golden Gate Ventures has hit $20 million as first close of its maden $100 million fund for the Middle East & North Afirca, it announced in a statement today. The first set of commitments has come from Qatari businesses and families with Al Khor Holding, a conglomerate with interests in real estate development, hospitality, power, and engineering sectors, anchoring the fund. The other investors include Al Attiya Group and Sheikh Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani.

It is the first international venture capital fund to be established and managed within Qatar. The fund will invest in startups operating alternative energy, green technology, B2B AI, energy-related deep tech, fintech, healthtech, and edtech sector, across the Middle East & North Africa.

“Supporting innovation in these high-demand areas will complement Qatar’s international leadership in LNG and alternative energy, cementing its growing global influence in the energy space as the world picks up the pace on the climate agenda,” noted a statement by Golden Gate Ventures.

The Singapore-headquartered firm has invested in over 90 funds so far with nine of its portfolio companies becoming unicorns and two going public. Some of its notable investments include Stripe, Gojek, Coda Payments, Carousell, and AngelList.

Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner at Golden Gate Ventures, commenting on the occasion said, “We are extremely honored to partner with Al Khor Holding, Al Attiya Group and Sheikh Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, on our inaugural fund in MENA. Their collective impact in the region is invaluable and underscores Qatar’s commitment to the regional startup ecosystem. MENA is emerging as a growing innovation hub, with Qatar rising as a beacon of progress.”

“The combination of a supportive government with progressive economic policies; a strong emphasis on diversification and innovation; a well-educated and diverse population; and a thriving entrepreneurial spirit positions Qatar for remarkable growth. This reminds me of the early days in Singapore in 2011, when Golden Gate Ventures set up ahead of all the VCs that followed soon after,” he added.

A representative of Al Khor Holding, said, “We are strong advocates for the continuous development and expansion of new industries and sectors within the Qatari business landscape. It is with great pride that we announce our decision to become an anchor investor in the Golden Gate Ventures MENA Fund I, marking a significant milestone as the first international venture capital fund established and managed in Qatar.”

Michael Lints, a partner at Golden Gate Ventures will lead the MENA fund. He has moved to Qatar to do it. Commenting on the first close, he said, “Qatar is at an important point in its development as a global economy and MENA Fund I will supercharge the startup ecosystem, building on the extensive social and financial capital of our investors, as well as our deep experience in building thriving startup ecosystems. We look forward to a long-term partnership that will help put Qatar and the MENA region’s innovations on the global map.”

Interestingly, Golden Gate Ventures kicked off their MENA expansion with an office in Riyadh, in 2023. With the fund now headquartered in Qatar, it would be interesting to see if the likes of Jada and SVC would invest in it.

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