Sharjah’s Crescent Enterprises plans to invest Dh1bn in start-ups by 2022

The company's venture capital arm has invested more than Dh500m in 32 companies and funds across Mena, the US, India and South-East Asia since 2017

A handout photo of Badr Jafar (Courtesy: Crescent Enterprises)
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CE-Ventures, the venture capital arm of Sharjah-based conglomerate Crescent Enterprises, plans to invest Dh1 billion ($272 million) in start-ups by 2022.

The company has invested more than Dh500m in 32 start-ups and VC funds across the Middle East and North Africa region, the US, India and South-East Asia since its inception in 2017.

“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,” Badr Jafar, chief executive of Crescent Enterprises, said.

“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.”

CE-Ventures has invested in various sectors such as FinTech, EnergyTech, FoodTech and Enterprise SaaS (software-as-a-service) companies. Over the past few months, it has amassed stakes in companies including Tarabut Gateway, Hippo Insurance, China Union Pay, Nerdwallet and Turtlemint.

Venture capital investments are growing as companies tap into post-pandemic opportunities. Globally, VC investments in the first quarter of this year grew 94 per cent annually to $125bn , according to Crunchbase data.

Unlike institutional VC vehicles that raise external funds to make investments, CE-Ventures works as a partner with start-ups and invests its own capital across various stages of growth with a focus on early- to growth-stage companies, the company said.

It also helps global companies to expand into the Mena region and local start-ups to venture into overseas markets. Investee companies under CE-Ventures have so far raised more than Dh3.6bn of follow-on funding from top-tier venture funds globally.

“Despite the pandemic and ensuing economic slowdown, investee companies under CE-Ventures have continued to thrive,” Tushar Singhvi, deputy chief executive and head of investments at Crescent Enterprises, said.

Crescent Enterprises, which operates under four platforms – CE-Operates, CE-Invests, CE-Ventures and CE-Creates – is present in diverse sectors such as ports and logistics, power and engineering, food and beverage and green transport. It works across different verticals including private equity, venture capital and business incubation.