Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises Image Credit: Supplied

CE-Ventures, the corporate venture capital platform of UAE-based Crescent Enterprises, has announced that it is doubling its venture capital investments in start-ups to reach Dh1 billion ($272 million) by 2022. Since its inception in 2017, CE-Ventures has already invested over Dh500 million ($136 million) in 32 start-ups and VC funds across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the US, India, and Southeast Asia.

Commenting on the investment milestone, Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, said: “When we launched CE-Ventures a few years ago, we outlined our vision to invest in transformational, purpose-driven entrepreneurs and their businesses. Our commitment to double down on new funds available for venture investment is testament to our conviction in the major social and economic impact of certain high-growth, tech-enabled businesses.”

“In furtherance of Crescent Enterprises’ digitization strategy, we will strive to continue to partner with brilliant entrepreneurs across the MENA region and elsewhere, especially where we can leverage our operational experience and global market presence to help them scale and thrive, creating jobs and opportunities for others to put their passions and skills into,” Jafar added.

Unlike institutional venture capital vehicles that raise external financing to make investments, CE-Ventures is a long-term partner for start-ups and entrepreneurs globally, investing its own capital across various stages of growth with a focus on early to growth stages. CE-Ventures extends its support beyond funding, helping international start-ups expand into the MENA region, and likewise helps local start-ups expand into global markets. Investee companies under CE-Ventures have so far raised more than Dh3.6 billion ($1 billion) of follow-on funding from top-tier venture funds globally.

Tushar Singhvi, Deputy CEO & Head of Investments, Crescent Enterprises, said, “With COVID-19 making healthcare a top priority for all, scientific advances present growing investment opportunities in subsectors such as BioTech and DeepTech, which have recently come to the fore as new focus areas for CE-Ventures. We are committed to investing in these emerging tech subsectors to support the rise of latest transformative technologies that we can bring to the MENA region, while helping regional entrepreneurs scale up their businesses.”

CE-Ventures adopts a market-driven investment strategy leveraging the high-growth potential across various tech subsectors including FinTech, EnergyTech, FoodTech, and Enterprise SaaS companies. In the past few months alone, CE-Ventures invested in five FinTech start-ups in the Gulf region and globally, namely Tarabut Gateway, Hippo Insurance, China Union Pay, Nerdwallet, and Turtlemint.

CE-Ventures focuses on wide-ranging emerging technologies increasingly pervasive across industry sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), and robotics. The platform’s tech investments includes Vicarious, a developer of AI software that ‘thinks and learns like a human’ powering intelligent robots for the next era of manufacturing; Cohesity, the industry’s first comprehensive multi-cloud platform that radically simplifies how organisations manage their data; Trifacta, the global leader in data preparation technology used by more than 50,000 Data Wranglers that handle data cleaning and transformation across 12,000 companies; and Anomali, a threat intelligence platform for early detection and identification of cyber threats in enterprise networks, amongst others.

Other CE-Ventures’ investments in the MENA region include Kitopi, a state-of-the-art cloud kitchen platform; Transcorp International, an integrated cold chain logistics company providing last mile, temperature-controlled deliveries; and Vezeeta, a global booking powerhouse that serves and empowers patients in every step of their healthcare journey by tapping into the power of data.