- Kuwaiti mobile telecommunications company Zain has announced the establishment of Zain Ventures. The size of the fund has not been disclosed.
The newly created VC is another step in Zain Group’s ‘4Sight’ strategy and progression to become a full-fledged digital services company. It will focus on digital innovations in tech-based startups.
Zain Ventures has already invested in UAE-based mobility unicorn Swvl and US-based fintech Pipe.
Zain Group announces the creation of Zain Ventures and the closing of investments and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both Pipe and Swvl to support their growth across Zain’s regional footprint and beyond.
Zain Ventures was recently established to complement the existing investment portfolio of Zain Group and open the door to future investment opportunities in the venture capital, fintech and tech world, focusing on digital innovations in the fast-growing electronic services and startup ecosystem.
Pipe is a fast-growing US-based fintech recognised as the world's first trading platform for recurring revenues with its recent fund-raising valuing the entity at $2 billion in just under a year since its public launch in June 2020, making it one of the fastest fintech to reach this valuation in history.
Swvl is transforming the $1 trillion global mass transit market. The Company’s proprietary mobility solutions, powered by cutting-edge technology, are helping to solve mass transit supply and demand challenges in complex, emerging markets – empowering massively underserved communities with transportation solutions that are reliable, convenient, safe, and affordable. It currently operates across 10 cities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kenya and Pakistan.
Swvl is set to go public through a formidable merger with the women-only led special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, in collaboration with Agility, Luxor Capital Growth and Zain, valuing the startup at $1.5 billion marking it as the first $1 billion+ unicorn from the Middle East to list on Nasdaq and the only tech-enabled mass transit solutions company to list on any stock exchange. The transaction is expected to generate gross proceeds of up to $445 million, which will be used to fund and accelerate Swvl's growth plan with a goal of driving $1 billion of annual gross revenue and expanding to 20 countries by 2025.
Bader Al Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO commented, “The establishment of Zain Ventures is another step in Zain Group’s ‘4Sight’ strategy and progression to become a full-fledged digital services company. We have already enjoyed tremendous success in the investments we have made in venture capital entities and startups that show promising potential for boosting our revenues in new and developing verticals, and formalising these investments under a single entity at this time will create shareholder value.”
“We are extremely excited and confident that Zain Ventures’ first investments in fast-growing and world-leading entities in their respective industries, Pipe and Swvl will be value accretive to all parties as we accelerate their growth across the region and beyond. We are keen on participating in and encouraging the global entrepreneurial startup ecosystem.”
In regard to Swvl, Al Kharafi noted, “Zain grasped the opportunity to invest in Swvl for reasons that also core to our sustainability, diversity and inclusion corporate strategy: 1. Supporting national transport infrastructure and optimising mobility; 2. Serving the underprivileged; 3. Sustainability and environmentally friendly; 4. Women empowerment and safety; 5. Unlimited synergies with Zain's footprint across the region. The Zain team looks forward to playing its strategic role and being part of Swvl's trajectory growth and global success story.”
Commenting on the two entities, Malek Hammoud, Chief Investment and Digital Transformation Officer added, “Pipe is a startup that is re-writing the rule book on fintech development, and in which many other prominent and shrewd venture capitalists and investment companies are supporting strongly, as shown by the latest round of funding we all participated in. We believe Pipe offers an incredible opportunity for capital appreciation and revenue growth and we look forward to participating in its continuing expansion as more clients are added to the platform.”
Regarding Swvl, Hammoud added, “The enormous and relatively untapped entrepreneurial talents of the region are being showcased to the startup ecosystem global community through this transaction that will see Swvl as the first $1 billion+ unicorn from the Middle East to list on Nasdaq.”