CE-Ventures, the corporate venture capital platform of UAE-based Crescent Enterprises, has announced that it is doubling its venture capital investments in start-ups to reach AED 1 billion (USD 272 million) by 2022. Since its inception in 2017, CE-Ventures has already invested over AED 500 million (USD 136 million) in 32 start-ups and VC funds across the Middle East & North Africa (MENA), the US, India, and Southeast Asia.
Crescent Enterprises is a multinational company headquartered in the United Arab Emirates. It operates under four platforms: CE-Operates, CE-Invests, CE-Ventures, and CE-Creates, which span diverse sectors including ports and logistics, power and engineering, food & beverage, and green transport, and across verticals such as private equity, venture capital, and business incubation. Crescent Enterprises currently employs over 2,600 people in 15 countries.
Commenting on the investment milestone, Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, said: “When we launched CE-Ventures a few years ago, we outlined our vision to invest in transformational, purpose-driven entrepreneurs and their businesses. 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.”
“In furtherance of Crescent Enterprises’ digitization strategy, 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 for others to put their passions and skills into,” Jafar added.
CE-Ventures adopts a market-driven investment strategy leveraging the high-growth potential across various tech subsectors including FinTech, EnergyTech, FoodTech, and Enterprise SaaS companies. In the past few months alone, CE-Ventures invested in five FinTech start-ups in the Gulf region and globally, namely Tarabut Gateway, Hippo Insurance, China Union Pay, Nerdwallet, and Turtlemint. According to PwC, 82% of traditional financial companies plan to boost collaboration with FinTechs in the next three to five years, underscoring the strong consumer appetite for digital banking globally.
In Q1 2021, global venture investments reached AED 450 billion, achieving a 50% increase quarter over quarter and 94% increase year over year, according to Crunchbase data.
Tushar Singhvi, Deputy CEO & Head of Investments, Crescent Enterprises, said: “With COVID-19 making healthcare a top priority for all, scientific advances present growing investment opportunities in subsectors such as BioTech and DeepTech, which have recently come to the fore as new focus areas for CE-Ventures. We are committed to investing in these emerging tech subsectors to support the rise of latest transformative technologies that we can bring to the MENA region, while helping regional entrepreneurs scale up their businesses.”
Unlike institutional venture capital vehicles that raise external financing to make investments, CE-Ventures is a long-term partner for start-ups and entrepreneurs globally, investing its own capital across various stages of growth with a focus on early to growth stages. CE-Ventures extends its support beyond funding, helping international start-ups expand into the MENA region, and likewise helps local start-ups expand into global markets. Investee companies under CE-Ventures have so far raised more than AED 3.6 billion (USD 1 billion) 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. These companies also continue to make significant social and environmental contributions such as direct and indirect employment generation across their supply chains, skilling of employees, and empowering other local businesses through their innovative products and services,” Singhvi concluded.
CE-Ventures focuses on wide-ranging emerging technologies increasingly pervasive across industry sectors such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), and robotics. The platform’s tech investments includes Vicarious, a developer of AI software that ‘thinks and learns like a human’ powering intelligent robots for the next era of manufacturing; Cohesity, the industry’s first comprehensive multi-cloud platform that radically simplifies how organisations manage their data; Trifacta, the global leader in data preparation technology used by more than 50,000 Data Wranglers that handle data cleaning and transformation across 12,000 companies; and Anomali, a threat intelligence platform for early detection and identification of cyber threats in enterprise networks, amongst others.
Other CE-Ventures’ investments in the MENA region include Kitopi, a state-of-the-art cloud kitchen platform; Transcorp International, an integrated cold chain logistics company providing last mile, temperature-controlled deliveries; and Vezeeta, a global booking powerhouse that serves and empowers patients in every step of their healthcare journey by tapping into the power of data.