Golden Gate Ventures Lands First Close of their US$100 Million New MENA Fund led by Al Khor Holding, Al Attiya Group, and Sheikh Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani

MENA Newswire: Doha, Qatar, 15th May 2024 – Golden Gate Ventures, a venture capital fund founded by Silicon Valley natives, today announced its first US$100M MENA fund with US$ 20M in commitments from some of Qatar’s most prominent families: anchor investor, the multi-faceted Al Khor Holding with 60 years of heritage; the Al Attiya Group known widely for its tremendous support for developing local businesses; and Sheikh Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani.

On the left, Michael Lints, Partner at Golden Gate Ventures. On the right, Hussain Abdulla, Senior Advisor at Golden Gate Ventures. In the background, Golden Gate Ventures’ Doha Office.

The announcement of the first close of its US$100M MENA Fund I backed by the pillars of Qatar’s private business community represents a major step forward in Golden Gate Ventures’ ambitions to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the MENA region. The fund combines the aggregate regional influence of its investors and the deep startup ecosystem development experience of Golden Gate Ventures spanning Silicon Valley and Asia. Golden Gate Ventures MENA Fund I is the first international venture capital fund to be established and managed within Qatar. Michael Lints, Partner at Golden Gate Ventures, has moved to Qatar to deepen the firm’s MENA commitment.

“We are extremely honored to partner with Al Khor Holding,  Al Attiya Group and Sheikh Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani, on our inaugural fund in MENA. Their collective impact in the region is invaluable and underscores Qatar’s commitment to the regional startup ecosystem. MENA is emerging as a growing innovation hub, with Qatar rising as a beacon of progress. The combination of a supportive government with progressive economic policies; a strong emphasis on diversification and innovation; a well-educated and diverse population; and a thriving entrepreneurial spirit positions Qatar for remarkable growth. This reminds me of the early days in Singapore in 2011, when Golden Gate Ventures set up ahead of all the VCs that followed soon after,” said Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner at Golden Gate Ventures.

“At Al Khor Holding, we are strong advocates for the continuous development and expansion of new industries and sectors within the Qatari business landscape. It is with great pride that we announce our decision to become an anchor investor in the Golden Gate Ventures MENA Fund I, marking a significant milestone as the first international venture capital fund established and managed in Qatar.

Furthermore, we are confident that our collaboration with Golden Gate Ventures MENA Fund I will yield tangible benefits for Qatar’s socio-economic landscape. By facilitating the emergence of innovative solutions, creating employment opportunities, and supporting the national development agenda, we are contributing to the realization of Qatar’s vision 2030 and for a diversified, knowledge-based economy,” said a representative of Al Khor Holding.

This announcement comes when Qatar’s economic prowess and emerging startup ecosystem are in the spotlight. MENA Fund I was unveiled with the Qatar Economic Forum kicking off in the background, with thousands of global business leaders converging in Qatar to discuss the Gulf nation’s trajectory on the global stage. Earlier in the year, the Web Summit in Qatar drew the largest startup gathering in the Middle East, highlighting the growing startup scene in the region.

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Financial Centre, said: “The launch of Golden Gate Ventures in Qatar represents a notable progression towards diversifying the venture capital sector. Golden Gate Ventures’ expansion into the region, marked by the establishment of their headquarters in Qatar, is poised to nurture a thriving business environment, accelerate entrepreneurship and foster growth within Qatar’s startup ecosystem.”

“We are delighted to join Golden Gate Ventures MENA Fund I as a limited partner. It is truly exciting to be part of the formation of the venture capital ecosystem in Qatar and the MENA region. We foresee the impact this initiative will have on various economic, technological, educational & cultural aspects of our communities,” said Maryam Bint Khalid Al Attiyah

The US$100M fund will focus on powering startups in key sectors such as alternative energy, green technology, B2B Artificial Intelligence, and energy-related deep tech. Supporting innovation in these high-demand areas will complement Qatar’s international leadership in LNG and alternative energy, cementing its growing global influence in the energy space as the world picks up the pace on the climate agenda. Other strategic sectors that MENA Fund I will cover include fintech, healthtech, and edtech, which will further Qatar’s economic diversification agenda.

“In line with Qatar’s Third National Development Strategy 2024-2030, I am excited to work with Golden Gate Ventures to launch the first international venture capital fund in Doha. We aim to support entrepreneurs, attract talent, create jobs, and attract foreign direct investments. I am grateful to our investors who support our strategy,” said Hussain Abdulla, Senior Advisor at Golden Gate Ventures.

”Qatar is at an important point in its development as a global economy and  MENA Fund I will supercharge the startup ecosystem, building on the extensive social and financial capital of our investors, as well as our deep experience in building thriving startup ecosystems. We look forward to a long-term partnership that will help put Qatar and the MENA region’s innovations on the global map,” said Michael Lints, Partner at Golden Gate Ventures.

At the announcement of Golden Gate Ventures’ MENA Fund I, the firm also announced the launch of its Qatar startup ecosystem primer entitled “Qatar Rising: Where ambition and capital converge”. Positioned as an industry primer, it provides an insightful look at how different factors – its robust economic policy, investment landscape, startup ecosystem, talent pool and cultural influence – have converged in the last decade to position the Gulf state as a progressive global economy. It dives into opportunities in key sectors, namely, climate tech, fintech, retail and healthtech – that will pave the way for Qatar’s rapid expansion over the next two decades. Most importantly, the report outlines why Qatar is the regional hub for any global business.

Ahead of establishing its MENA presence in 2023, Golden Gate Ventures spent close to a decade building deep ties across the region, creating the right networks, and curating a senior team that has an intimate understanding of the tremendous opportunities in the region. In that time, the firm had already established itself as a strong contributor to the startup ecosystem, bringing deep expertise from Silicon Valley and supporting Singapore’s growth as a startup hub on the global map.

In the last two years, Golden Gate Ventures has witnessed remarkable growth: expanding its presence with the establishment of its Vietnam operations in 2022 to capitalize on its rise as a leading global economy; launching an office in Saudi Arabia in 2023 to tap into opportunities in the Middle East – Southeast Asia corridor; and adding a New York presence in recent months to help portfolio companies raise funds from the region.