Access Bridge Ventures (ABV), a newly launched regionally focused early-stage venture capital fund, has made its first close. The fund, which will target a final commitment of $25 million, garnered commitments from regional institutional investors, including Mubadala Capital, the financial investment arm of Mubadala Investment Company, Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Jada, and several prominent family offices.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) represent about 96 per cent of registered companies and about half of all employment in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region. Despite this, the total financing gap for MSMEs is estimated to be as much as $240 billion, according to the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
ABV will support high-growth tech startups from the Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Pakistan and the wider Mena region, with focus on healthtech, edtech, fintech and SaaS sectors.
Established earlier this year, ABV’s team is led by Issa Aghabi and Rakan AlRashed, who bring 25 years’ experience in investing and exiting tech companies in the Mena region and beyond. Prior to ABV, Issa headed the venture capital activities of the IFC in Mena and Pakistan. Meanwhile, Rakan was part of a Saudi investment firm that focused on SMEs and startups.
CedarBridge Capital Partners (CedarBridge), a middle market private equity firm, has co-founded the fund as part of its mandate to partner with promising founders and management teams and help them expand their investment remit and achieve exceptional growth.
“The Mena landscape has transformed over the past few years, with entrepreneurs and startups acting as a catalyst for economic growth and development,” said Aghabi, co-founder and managing partner at ABV. “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 first institutional investor.”