Iraq’s Kapita rolls out country’s first angel investor network to support start-ups

Sponsored by the German government, the network will provide an established path for entrepreneurs to access capital

An aerial view of Baghdad, Iraq July 11, 2020. Picture taken on board a helicopter. Picture taken July 11, 2020. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
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Baghdad-based private sector development company Kapita is rolling out Iraq's first angel investor network to support start-ups and help them grow their business.

The company has brought together a group of business figures to form the Iraq Angel Investor Network to invest in promising businesses. The network is sponsored by the German government through GIZ, the German Agency for International Cooperation.

“The Iraqi ecosystem has grown and expanded rapidly over the past few years. Kapita aims to support start-ups along their journey from incubation to funding,” Mujahid Waisi, chief executive and founder of Kapita, said in a statement.

Business figures investing in the network include Rabee Securities chairman Shwan Taha, Khudairi Group managing partner Mohammed Khudairi, YAG Capital managing partner Yazen Abu Gulal and Earthlink Telecommunications chief executive Alaa Mousa.

“Access to finance remains one of the key issues facing Iraqi entrepreneurs. The network will provide start-ups with an institutionalised path to access capital for all Iraqi entrepreneurs,” Ali Al Suhail, fund manager at the network said.

The network recently graduated 20 start-ups through Orange Corners Baghdad, an incubation programme held with the Netherlands government. It is also accepting applications for the next edition of the programme.

Start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa secured $659 million (Dh2.4 billion) in funding in the first half of the year, an increase of 35 per cent year-on-year, according to data platform Magnitt.

The increase was largely driven by a few start-ups that were involved in sizeable and high-profile funding rounds before the coronavirus outbreak began, Magnitt’s Mena Venture Investment Report for the period said.

Companies based in the UAE received the largest share of funds raised, which was attributed to several late-stage investment deals, while Egypt ranked first in terms of the number of deals, accounting for 25 per cent of the region's total.