Golden Gate Ventures, a venture capital fund founded by Silicon Valley natives, yesterday launched its first $100mn Middle East and North Africa (Mena) Fund I, led by Qatar’s most prominent families Al Khor Holding, Al Attiya Group, and Sheikh Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani as anchor investors.

The fund, which has $20mn in commitments from Qatar’s families, is the first international venture capital fund to be established and managed within Qatar. It was unveiled at the Qatar Economic Forum, powered by Bloomberg.

The fund will focus on powering startups in key sectors such as alternative energy, green technology, B2B Artificial Intelligence, and energy-related deep tech. Supporting innovation in these high-demand areas will complement Qatar’s international leadership in liquefied natural gas and alternative energy, cementing its growing global influence in the energy space as the world picks up the pace on the climate agenda.

Other strategic sectors that Mena Fund I will cover include fintech, healthtech, and edtech, which will further Qatar’s economic diversification agenda.

"The launch of Golden Gate Ventures in Qatar represents a notable progression towards diversifying the venture capital sector. Golden Gate Ventures' expansion into the region, marked by the establishment of their headquarters in Qatar, is poised to nurture a thriving business environment, accelerate entrepreneurship and foster growth within Qatar's startup ecosystem," Qatar Financial Centre Authority chief executive officer Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida said.

The $100mn fund backed by the pillars of Qatar’s private business community represents a major step forward in Golden Gate Ventures’ ambitions to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the Mena region.

The fund combines the aggregate regional influence of its investors and the deep startup ecosystem development experience of Golden Gate Ventures spanning Silicon Valley and Asia.

"Mena is emerging as a growing innovation hub, with Qatar rising as a beacon of progress. The combination of a supportive government with progressive economic policies; a strong emphasis on diversification and innovation; a well-educated and diverse population; and a thriving entrepreneurial spirit positions Qatar for remarkable growth," said Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner at Golden Gate Ventures.

By facilitating the emergence of innovative solutions, creating employment opportunities, and supporting the national development agenda, we are contributing to the realization of Qatar's vision 2030 and for a diversified, knowledge-based economy, said a representative of Al Khor Holding.

"We are delighted to join Golden Gate Ventures Mena Fund I as a limited partner. It is truly exciting to be part of the formation of the venture capital ecosystem in Qatar and the Mena region. We foresee the impact this initiative will have on various economic, technological, educational and cultural aspects of our communities," said Maryam bint Khalid al-Attiyah.

”Qatar is at an important point in its development as a global economy and Mena Fund I will supercharge the startup ecosystem, building on the extensive social and financial capital of our investors, as well as our deep experience in building thriving startup ecosystems. We look forward to a long-term partnership that will help put Qatar and the Mena region’s innovations on the global map,” said Michael Lints, Partner at Golden Gate Ventures, who has moved to Qatar to deepen the firm’s Mena commitment.

Golden Gate Ventures’ Mena Fund I also announced the launch of its Qatar startup ecosystem primer entitled “Qatar Rising: Where ambition and capital converge”.

Positioned as an industry primer, it provides an insightful look at how different factors – its robust economic policy, investment landscape, startup ecosystem, talent pool and cultural influence – have converged in the last decade to position the Gulf state as a progressive global economy.

It dives into opportunities in key sectors, namely, climate tech, fintech, retail and healthtech – that will pave the way for Qatar’s rapid expansion over the next two decades. Most importantly, the report outlines why Qatar is the regional hub for any global business.

“In line with Qatar's Third National Development Strategy 2024-30, I am excited to work with Golden Gate Ventures to launch the first international venture capital fund in Doha. We aim to support entrepreneurs, attract talent, create jobs, and attract foreign direct investments. I am grateful to our investors who support our strategy,” said Hussain Abdulla, Senior Advisor at Golden Gate Ventures.