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Focus sectors, investment size, and beyond: Meet the top 5 venture capitalists in UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the top destinations for venture capitalists. UAE received the most venture capital funding in H1 2022 among all Middle East and North African countries, with local businesses raising a whopping $699M in 2022.  

According to Magnitt, the UAE recorded a growth of 93% in capital deployed in 2021. And this trend is only set to continue. Not only is the Emirati economy commodity-based and a significant exporter in the oil market, it is also a central business hub that provides a unique opportunity for investors and innovators alike. 

The government in the Emirates has a deliberate strategy of promoting economic diversification at the policy level. UAE is one of the most cosmopolitan and business-friendly destinations in the world, and is fast emerging as a world leader in financial services, technology, logistics, and research and development.  

To promote cutting-edge technology, the UAE is rapidly advancing as an active venture capital ecosystem – the perfect environment for startups. Meet the top five venture capitalists and investors who are helping to turn this region of the world into a top destination for entrepreneurs and investors alike. 

1. Rabih Khoury

2. Dale W. Wood

3. Fadi Ghandour

4. Dany Farha

5. Waleed Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim

Rabih Khoury, MEVP

Rabih Khoury is the partner chief exit officer of Middle East Venture Partners. He has extensive experience in the Middle East venture capital landscape having worked in multiple investment-focused and leadership roles. He has held executive-level positions and served on the boards of various organizations over the years.   

Currently, he is the managing partner of merchant bank Melwood Capital. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the engineered wood manufacturer Palmboard Technology Holdings, and on the Advisory Board of telecom service provider Kalaam Telecom.

  • Firm Name: Middle East Venture Partners
  • Geographical focus: Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Turkey, Bahrain, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UK
  • Industries: Ecommerce, mobility, new media, financial technology, healthtech, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) solutions, education and health
  • Investments: Approximately $119 million, with $260 million in assets being managed under four cross-border regional funds
  • Companies supported: 50+ active investments.
  • Investment range (latest fund): Upwards of $3 million
  • Stage: Series B

Dale W. Wood, Dale Ventures

Dale W. Wood is a seasoned player in the venture capital industry, is the founder and CEO of Dubai-based Dale Ventures. 

Dale Wood is an industry veteran of 20 years in the venture capital ecosystem. As an entrepreneur himself, he brings a highly focused, growth-oriented, fresh perspective to the VC landscape. Dale Ventures focuses on creating long-term relationships with founders and bringing long-term value to any startup, carving out a unique space in the world of investing.

  • Firm Name: Dale Ventures
  • Geographical focus: The Bahamas, Costa Rica, Panama, United Kingdom, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore
  • Industries: Financial and business services, technology and media, real estate, and consumer and retail
  • Investments: Approximately $36 million in seed and early stage funding
  • Companies supported: RAIL ONLINE, Landbay, XGolf Middle East, Instanda, Rayo Credit, TechMet, Arcadier, Innago, and more
  • Investment range: $50,000 to $10 million
  • Stage: Multi-stage

Fadi Ghandour, Wamda

Fadi Ghandour is the Executive Chairman of Wamda. He has a well-established presence in the venture capital industry in the region, having launched and exited several successful ventures.  

He founded Wamda in 2014, an early-stage investment fund focusing on start-ups in the Middle East and North African region. He is also the founder of logistics and transportation services company Aramex, the first Arab company listed on NASDAQ.

  • Firm Name: Wamda Capital
  • Geographical Focus: Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Kenya
  • Industries: Sector-agnostic
  • Investments: $60 million in start-up funding
  • Companies supported: 23 under Wamda Capital and 35 under the Wamda Seed fund 
  • Investment range (latest fund): $1 to $5 million
  • Stage: Multi-stage

Dany Farha, BECO Capital 

Dany Farha is the co-founder of BECO Capital. He has co-founded and successfully exited multiple businesses in the region. Currently a Managing Partner at BECO Capital, he is also a board member of Property Finder and several other portfolio companies. 

With $460 million in assets under management,, the fund has deployed approximately $60 million in multi-stage companies across industries

  • Firm Name: BECO Capital
  • Geographical FocusMiddle East and North African region
  • Industries: Consumer, enterprise, fintech, healthcare, and Web3.0
  • Investments: Estimated at $50 to $60 million with $460 million in assets under management
  • Companies supported: 57 companies across sectors
  • Investment range (latest fund): $500,000 to $5 million
  • Stage: Seed, Series A, Series B

Waleed Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim, MBC Group 

Waleed Bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim is the founder and chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC Group). The group’s venture capital arm, MBC Ventures, focuses on digital content, online games, and mobile content. 

Its strategy revolves around funding businesses from the  Middle East and North African region involved in payment and data analysis services, content, animation, and education.  

  • Firm Name: MBC Ventures.
  • Geographical focusMiddle East and North African region
  • Industries: Telecommunications media and technology
  • Investments: $25 million
  • Companies supported: Zaytouneh, Kharabeesh, GlamBox.ME, Qsoft Group, elCinema.com, and more
  • Investment range (latest fund): Less than $500,000
  • Stage: Seed, Series A