Enhance Ventures, a UAE- and Saudi Arabia-based venture studio, has announced the launch of a new $30 million ‘Builders Fund’ which will invest in startups in the Middle East region.
Founded in 2016 by Alper Celen and Ritesh Tilani, Enhance Ventures is a venture studio focusing on the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey (MENAPT) region.
Enhance Ventures says it focuses on “building and investing in ventures for the future of finance and commerce.”
It says that through the new investment vehicle, it will look 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.”
“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.”
Enhance Ventures says it has a team in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and focuses on the UAE and the rest of the Gulf region. It also has a technology centre in Istanbul, and satellite offices in Cairo, Amman and Beirut.
Enhance’s first venture, Joi Gifts, is now the region’s largest online gifting marketplace. It was 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,” Enhance said in a release.
Other portfolio companies include Right Farm, a B2B agriculture technology firm which raised its seed round of $2.8 million 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 said its portfolio currently generates an internal rate of return of 72%.
Kuwait-based gifting platform Teeela, has raised $3.75 million in a pre-Series A funding round, led by Saudi Arabian investment firm Wealth Well and backed by strategic investment from Mad’a Investment Company, Al-Akeel family and other investors.
Founded in 2018 by Abdulwahab Alkhulaifi, Ibrahim Al-khulaifi and Yahya Al Refaei, Teeela provides its users with customised and personalised gifting options including bespoke wrapping and last-minute ordering, with a same-day delivery option.
Teeela said it will use the new funding for its expansion plans throughout the Gulf region, for product development and to hire more people.