500 Startups and Sanabil Investments, a subsidiary of Saudi’s Public Investment Fund have launched a new fund and accelerator program to invest in pre-seed and seed-stage startups across the Middle East & North Africa. The fund will be led by Amal Dokhan who is joining as a Partner and 500 Startups Managing Partner Bedy Yang. Amal has previously been working with the regional startups for years in different roles and was most recently the CEO of Global Entrepreneurship Network Saudi.
In a conversation with MENAbytes, Amal said she is very excited to join the fund and work even more closely with founders from MENA, “Advocacy for founders is very close to my heart. I have been lobbying for early-stage startups with angel investors as finding the right funding early on is still a struggle. My new role will allow me to provide more value to the founders.”
Bedy Yang, the Managing Partner at 500 Startups, and General Partner of the Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator Fund said, “We are thrilled to have Amal join our team. She has been a key player in the Saudi and MENA startup ecosystems for years as a mentor to founders and as an investor, who has been an advocate for early-stage investing in Saudi Arabia.”
The accelerator will consist of six programs that will be run by 500 Startups over a period of three years. The fund will invest $100,000 (each) in participating startups in exchange for 10 percent equity in them. Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator Fund will invest in about 100 startups.
500 Startups has previously run a similar program in partnership with Misk. It used to offer about $50,000 in investment to selected startups so, with the new accelerator program, the cheque size has doubled. The accelerator is open to tech startups that are located in the MENA region and have a working product and some traction.
The program for the first batch of selected startups will run virtually for 12 weeks starting from March 28, 2021. The applications are open until March 7, 2021.