500 Startups and Sanabil Investments, a subsidiary of Saudi Public Investment Fund, has launched a new fund and accelerator program to invest in start-up start-up and seed stages in the Middle East and North Africa. The fund will be led by Amal Dokhan who joins as a partner and 500 Startups Managing Partner Bedy Yang. Amal has previously worked with regional startups for several years in various roles and most recently was CEO of Global Entrepreneurship Network Saudi.
In a conversation with MENAbytes, Amal said that she is very happy to join the fund and work even closer with founders from MENA. Advocates for founders are very close to me. I have lobbied for start-ups with angel investors because it is still a struggle to find the right financing early. My new role allows me to give the founders more value. ”
Bedy Yang, Managing Partner of 500 Startups, and General Partner of the Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator Fund said: “We are proud to have Amal on our team. She has been a key player in the Saudi and MENA start-up ecosystems for several years as a mentor to the founders and as an investor, who has been an advocate for early investment in Saudi Arabia. ”
The accelerator will consist of six programs 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 of the capital in them. Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator Fund will invest in about 100 startups.
500 Startups has previously run a similar program in collaboration with Misk. It used to offer about $ 50,000 in investment to select startups, so with the new accelerator program, the control size has doubled. The accelerator is open to technical startups located in the MENA region and has a working product and some traction.
The program for the first batch of selected startups will run practically for 12 weeks from March 28, 2021. Applications are open until March 7, 2021.