Press Release

Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN) To Expand Base Of Angel Investors ForProjects Worth US$ 2 Million In MENA
Dubai International Capital (DIC) Subsidiary Announces Launch Of US$10 Million Seed Capital Fund And US$ 5 Million Fund For Women Led Ventures

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Dubai , UAE – February 11, 2008:  The Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN), a subsidiary of Dubai International Capital (DIC), today announced it has started enlisting members to create the first Arab community of Angel Investors in the Middle East and North Africa. During its first matchmaking event held recently at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to bring together businessmen and owners of start up enterprises, ABAN provided the opportunity for five start-ups from diverse sectors to present their businesses to investors in order to obtain funding for organic growth.

An angel investor is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for ownership equity. Unlike venture capital financing, angel investors typically invest in companies that are too small or young to qualify for bank loans, or other traditional means of financing. Although the term ‘angels’ implies individuals, the actual entity that provides the funding could be a trust, business, or investment fund.

The first of its kind in the Arab World, aims to bridge the equity gap faced by entrepreneurs looking to set up and grow their business. The five start-ups included Joga, a health food and beverage chain; Hayati, a consumer finance company for the healthcare industry; Kindisoft, a Jordan-based software development firm for IP protection; Content Syndicate, a publishing and content clearing house; and I-Level, a shopper marketing company.

Sameer Al Ansari, Executive Chairman and CEO of Dubai International Capital, the founding company of ABAN and Lead Angel investor, said: “Angel Investor networks like ABAN will support entrepreneurs in the MENA region by facilitating the flow of capital into ventures with high growth potential and will contribute positively to the economic development objectives of the Arab world. By providing the core platform to fill this equity gap and by helping start-ups build substantial businesses, ABAN has a significant role to play in the development of this unique asset class in the region. Through ABAN, DIC is committed to drive economic development of the highest standards while allowing us to give something back to our community.”

ABAN’s future plans include holding similar matchmaking activities in four focus countries – the UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia – to develop the early-stage asset class through the establishment of two DIC-seeded funds, namely a US$10 million Seed Capital Fund and a US$5 million Fund for Women-Led Ventures. Local partners in each market will be sought to support the initiative.

Walid Hanna, CEO of ABAN, said: “ABAN offers exciting opportunities for the region’s aspiring entrepreneurs. We are confident that ABAN will help reshape the economic landscape of the Arab World. By acting as a springboard for emerging businesses to achieve significant success in the future, new and much-needed job opportunities will be created in the region.”

In its efforts to motivate emerging businesses in the Arab World, ABAN launched its first Arab Business Challenge in 2006, a region-wide business plan competition, offering funding for the two winners. Jordan Ostriches, a start-up business based in the Kingdom of Jordan designed to meet the local and regional demand for ostrich products including meat, feathers and leather was selected as a winner in addition to Palm Paper, an Egypt based industrial business that will use waste leaves from palm trees to manufacture industrial grade paper products. Dubai International Capital pledged investment funds of US$2.6 million for the two winning teams.

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