Venture capitalist Sultan Banaja invests in people to build and sustain enterprises that facilitate modern living
In a country where approximately 60 % of the population is under 30, Sultan Banaja, the mind behind Ideas Capital Enterprise, is the perfect example of a dynamic new breed of entrepreneurs. The 27 year-old epitomizes the dynamic new breed of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, under the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, focused on a vision for the future that incorporates change and progress.
Working in conjunction with the national Saudi Vision for 2030, and Crown Prince’s driving the world to Invest in Saudi, Ideas Capital Enterprise sees itself supporting the venture capital and entrepreneurial ecosystem “As young investors, our role is to grow and diversify this market further, hand in hand with the drive of our leadership under King Salman and Crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman)”
With a string of successful ventures to his name, including a Saudi- and UK-based digital marketing company, Concepts, a sneaker store at City Walk Dubai, Leaves and Vines, an F&B outlet that promotes healthy lifestyle and nutrition, and Vibes co-working space for up-and coming headliners like himself, Sultan has his finger on the pulse of Saudi’s new generation. “We understand the amalgamated needs of youngsters,” he says with confidence.
Sultan’s name is also behind Pulse, one of the first female fitness studios in Jeddah, heralding “a new era of female movement and empowerment in Saudi,” he notes. “Within the same retail area, Pulse’s proximity with Vibes as well as Leaves and Vines, reflects the modern, integrated lifestyles of young Saudis.”
With a view to enhancing their quality of life and after identifying the sectors most attractive to the younger generation, Ideas Capital was born. Partnering with brother Majed Banaja and cousin Abdellatif Banaja, the trio brings together 11 years of diverse investment experience abroad, as well as combined expertise in the areas of law, business development, and strategy, to help build Saudi’s SME and start-up community.
“There is a lot of focus in Saudi right now toward SME and new start-ups,” says Banaja. “These enterprises need infrastructural support, as well as guidance and business knowhow to take them from the initial bootstrapping stage to the next level. This is where the company’s holistic approach comes in,” he adds.
Officially launching in 2017, Ideas Capital Enterprise is a bold step away from the security of the family business Sultan was to join. Making a unique name for himself and the company is important to the young entrepreneur. “We invest not just in ideas, but also in people,” says Sultan. “A lot of the businesses we have undertaken and made profitable are because of the commitment and passion the people brought to it,” he adds.
Working in conjunction with the national Saudi Vision for 2030, Ideas Capital Enterprise sees itself supporting the venture capital and entrepreneurial ecosystem by helping forward-thinking business minds in the region grow intelligently.
As a private growth-stage fund in the GCC, Ideas Capital looks at the larger potential of an enterprise within Saudi Arabia, and Middle East, bringing experience and expertise to help start-ups grow. “Having gone through the initial stages of building multiple businesses, we provide advisory and critical operations support,” Sultan states. “Additionally, for any new business, connecting with the right people becomes important. This is where our network comes in. We facilitate your business through the right introductions.”