- UAE and Saudi Arabia-based venture studio Enhance Ventures, has launched a $30 million Builders Fund, which will invest in the company’s next set of ventures in the Middle East.
- Founded in 2016 by Alper Celen and Ritesh Tilani, Enhance Ventures is a venture studio focusing on the MENAPT region, building and investing in ventures for the future of finance and commerce.
- Through the fund, the company aims to create 5,000 high-tech jobs, produce 500 business leaders, train 50 capable founders, and be the institutional co-founder of at least five major exits in the region in the next five to 10 years.
Enhance Ventures, the MENAPT region’s leading venture studio has announced the launch of its $30 million Builders Fund, which will invest in the company’s next set of ventures for the future of finance and commerce in the Middle East.
Through the fund, the company plans to create 5,000 high-tech jobs, produce 500 business leaders, train 50 capable founders, and be the institutional cofounder of at least 5 major exits in the region in the next 5-10 years. “As a venture studio, we support founders materially in the early stages of venture development, when they need help the most. This dramatically increases the success rate for startups, and makes entrepreneurship an economic engine for our region,” said Mohammad AlHokail, Partner in Enhance Ventures. “As a studio, we plan to expedite ecosystem development and increase activity between this ecosystem, starting with Dubai and Riyadh, and other, more developed ecosystems.”
Launched in 2016, Enhance focuses on building innovative digital businesses for the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey. The company is Saudi-first when it comes to launching and growing businesses, with a sizable team in Riyadh, while it has a special focus on the UAE and the rest of the GCC. It also has a technology centre in Istanbul, and satellite offices in Cairo, Amman and Beirut.
The new fund will invest exclusively in the studio’s upcoming ventures, many of which will focus on gaps in the fintech space. “Trends such as web3, open banking, the move to a cashless society, the need for frictionless consumer and SME finance, and the growth of B2B commerce have created new opportunities in the MENAPT region,” said Ritesh Tilani, Partner in Enhance Ventures. “Paired with Enhance’s venture building playbook, its proprietary collection of venture building tools, and access to top talent, we believe Enhance is uniquely positioned to continue its success.”
Enhance Ventures has long been a global pioneer in the venture studio space. Aside from its acclaimed studio white paper, Enhance also developed and maintains the Global Studio Map, the most comprehensive database of all 784 venture studios worldwide. The Enhance team also serve on the boards of the two global associations for venture studios, US-based Global Startup Studio Network, and Europe-based StudioHub.
“Acting as an institutional co-founder, we offer entrepreneurs support with our tried and tested venture building methodology, venture architects, technology development, marketing support, human resources capabilities, our talent database, seed and follow-on funding, and office space, among others,” said Alper Celen, Partner in Enhance Ventures. “This approach of shared resources allows us to take any given venture through the stages of ideation, validation, creation, growth and scale up with minimal cost and time.”
Enhance’s first venture Joi Gifts is now the region’s largest online gifting marketplace. It was successfully spun off from the studio 10 months ago when it raised its Series A funding from investors such as Knuru Capital, MENA Moonshots, Wa’ed Ventures (the venture investments arm of Saudi Aramco) and Panthera Capital (the investment arm of Fujairah Holding), among others. The business has tripled in revenue since then and is currently raising its Series B funding round.
Other portfolio companies include Right Farm, a B2B agriculture technology firm which raised its seed round of $2.8M earlier this year. Clevr is a consumer-facing payment and rewards platform that provides SMEs with sales and marketing tools. Blue Terra is a conscious-commerce marketplace that delivers eco-friendly and organic products. Both Clevr and Blue Terra have gained significant traction and are in the process of spinning off from the studio and raising their own independent rounds of funding. Enhance’s portfolio currently stands at an IRR of 72%.
In 2021, the company also launched a new corporate innovation business unit called Enhance Innovation to support corporations and government organizations with their studio strategy, and in building individual ventures and studios of their own. The new unit has already had major successes through collaborations with large players such as DIFC and ADQ. Enhance Innovation is increasing its capacity to handle the demand for corporate venture building. Alex Hutley will soon join and lead Enhance Innovation, having served OLX as Global Brand Director and driving internal venture building there. The Enhance leadership team also includes Venture Partner Patrick Montague, ex-COO of the leading New York-based venture studio Betaworks.