Ecosystem

Sharif El-Badawi and Hasan Haider leave 500 Startups to launch independent fund for startups in MENA

Sharif El-Badawi and Hasan Haider, the managing partners of 500 Startups’ Middle East & North Africa fund (500 Falcons) are leaving the firm to start their own fund, 500 revealed in a statement today that announced the appointments of Bedy Yang as the new managing partner for Falcons I and Rina Onur as an advisor.

500 Startups has been investing in the Middle East & North Africa since 2012 but it launched its dedicated fund for the region in 2017 with Sharif and Hasan leading it. The fund was closed with $33 million in 2019 and has invested in over 175 startups across different stages (including pre-seed). It has been nearly fully deployed, according to the statement. 500 Falcons hasn’t announced any new investments in the last few weeks except participation in the follow-on investment rounds of its portfolio companies.

We understand that the details of the new fund being launched by Sharif and Hasan will be shared in the next few weeks. What the statement by 500 confirms though is that it will be focused on later-stage seed rounds. The two will also continue to support Falcons’ portfolio over the next 18 months, noted the statement.

Hasan Haider also sent an email to the founders of 500 Falcons’ portfolio companies today announcing their move.

“As some of you may know, our first fund, 500 Falcons, has nearly completed its initial investments, and has mostly deployed the follow on capital available to it. When it came time to look at our next fund, it was also a natural time for 500 to review and evolve the strategy for the MENA region,” noted the email.

“As the ecosystem has evolved with a greater need for capital across stages, we are pleased to share that we plan to launch an independent fund to invest in companies at a slightly later seed stage. 500 Startups’ approach to the region is also evolving, although it will also continue to invest in the region via new funds and initiatives which you will hear more about soon,” it added.

They’ve played a pivotal role in the development and growth of the startup ecosystem in the Middle East & North Africa by supporting hundreds of entrepreneurs through their investments and different accelerator programs.

Courtney Powell, the Chief Operating Officer of 500 Startups, said, “We are proud of the work the Falcons team has done. Hasan and Sharif were pivotal in building the 500 brand across MENA, and we look forward to collaborating in supporting great founders.”

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Zubair Naeem Paracha

Founder at MENAbytes
A tech and startup enthusiast based in Lahore, Pakistan. Zubair apart from leading MENAbytes is also building Qraar, a career discovery and development platform for millennials in MENA. He can be reached on Linkedin, Twitter or zubair [at] menabytes [dot] com.
Zubair Naeem Paracha
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