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MEVP holds first close of USD30m Middle East Venture Fund II

Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) has held the first close of Middle East Venture Fund II (MEVF II) at USD15 million. The fund will invest in the region's tech and mobile businesses.

MEVFII is MEVP's fourth fund and succeeds its USD70 million Impact Fund that was launched last year for investments in Lebanon's ICT sector.  The fund will aim to close in second quarter 2015 with US$30 million to invest. Middle East Venture Fund II is already operational and has approved four investments:

• The first of its kind online marketplace specialising in digital gift cards in the Middle East, with more than 65 retailers across the UAE, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The service offers a fun and convenient way of sending prepaid Gift Cards from leading brands using the web and mobile devices.

• Lamsa: Lamsa World is a state-of-the-art Arabic digital library tailored for children aged 1 to 7, offering them a world of creativity and imagination. Lamsa delivers entertainment and fun, along with an interactive, perceptive, and exciting learning experience via a wide array of content including interactive stories, games, art, and rhymes.

• The Luxury Closet: A fast growing online marketplace that sells pre‐owned luxury items at a discounted price and on a consignment basis model, while maintaining brand and item integrity and ensuring the authenticity of sold items.

• Altibbi: The Middle East's leading digital medical content platform that offers several online medical services in Arabic. These services include a symptoms checker, a medical dictionary, a directory of hospitals and physicians, an encyclopaedia for medicines available in the Arab World, and an interactive physician-patient social platform.

Recent macroeconomic studies suggest that digital capital is not only growing rapidly but has also become a major contributing factor in global economic growth. High smartphone penetration rates and a growing e-commerce sector have made the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) a breeding ground for tech startups that require growth-stage investments to allow them to survive, grow, succeed and create a sustainable job base. The region is experiencing unprecedented growth in capital raised with Venture Capital transactions in ICT sector dominating investments and transactions – almost half of total deals completed by Venture Capital funds since 2010 were in IT and software companies.

"The Arab digital economy is a large one offering strong growth opportunities, and Middle East telecoms and tech providers will drive MENA's economic transformation, " says Walid Hanna, Managing Partner of MEVP. "We are excited by the promising talent and technologies emerging in our region. As partners and investors, we add value to startup companies as we offer our portfolio companies capital as well as strategic and operating expertise."  

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