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sadaravc.com

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Investments

9

Portfolio Exits

1

Funds

2

About Sadara Ventures

Sadara Ventures is an active partner in the companies in which it invests. Pre-investment, the fund often takes a pro-active role in collaboration with entrepreneurs to help define the target business and to construct a more complete core management team. Post-investment, the fund's representatives typically to be not only active Board members, but also the CEO's closest sounding board and first address for advice on major decisions and issues, and participants in major milestones in the portfolio companies' development.

Sadara Ventures Headquarter Location

100 Al-Kawthar Street Third Floor

Ramallah,

Israel

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Latest Sadara Ventures News

Fund started by an Israeli and a Palestinian looks for the next Ramallah startup

Apr 3, 2017

Glass ceiling? Women in Gaza are facing concrete The backstreets of Ramallah are a long way from Silicon Valley, but a niche venture capital fund is trying to narrow the gap with a focus on early-stage Palestinian tech startups. With backing from Cisco, the Google Foundation, the European Investment Fund and others, Sadara Ventures is making gradual inroads in the West Bank, the Palestinian territory long occupied by Israel, financing six companies so far. Launched in 2011 by Saed Nashef, a Palestinian-American who was a software engineer at Microsoft before setting up his own companies, and Yadin Kaufmann, an Israeli-American who helped pioneer venture capital in Israel, Sadara raised $30 million for its first fund and plans to invest it over 10 years. In a sign of confidence, a second fund is being considered. "We're likely to raise another fund in the months ahead that would be larger than the existing one," said Kaufmann, adding that beyond the six firms backed so far, he and Nashef were looking at one or two others for the existing fund. The biggest success at this stage is Freightos , an online marketplace for international shipping, which on March 29 raised a further $25 million from investors, including GE Ventures, and has seen orders double in the last quarter. Freightos has offices in Jerusalem and Ramallah, where chief technology officer Fareed Qaddoura, previously a programing manager at Amazon, oversees around 70 R&D staff. Other firms in Sadara's portfolio include Yamsafer, an online travel service focused on Arab-world clients, SoukTel, which provides digital communications to aid agencies and others working in hostile or hard-to-reach environments, and an Arabic-language medical consultancy called WebTeb. For Nashef, who lives in Jerusalem and splits his time between the West Bank and the United States, there is no doubt Palestinians have the drive and ideas to succeed as entrepreneurs. The challenges lie elsewhere. "The biggest obstacles they face are access and exposure," he said, referring to the ability to get out of the West Bank and learn from what is going on in the startup world in the United States or neighboring Israel, where the venture capital and startup culture is well-funded and flourishing. "That's an outcome of the political situation that cannot be ignored," he said, referring to Israel's occupation, which limits movement for Palestinians in and out of the West Bank and Gaza. "But also, it has to be said that Palestine is not exactly top of mind when people think of tech investment." Slow and steady As a result, Palestinian entrepreneurs need to have more grit and investors need to take more risks. "When we started the fund, we made sure the limited partners were aware of the risks, that they shouldn't be looking for the standard VC returns they get in Silicon Valley," he said. While those partners – who also include the Soros Economic Development Fund, AOL founder Steve Case's foundation and former eBay president Jeff Skoll's foundation – want to make money, they also think about what Nashef refers to as "the double bottom-line": earning a profit and having a social impact. The companies Sadara has backed employ more than 200 people and have generated investment of $74 million, including Freightos' latest fund-raising round, which has a knock-on impact economically and is part of the process of building a "tech ecosystem" in the Palestinian territories. While at a political level relations between the Palestinian territories and Israel remain fraught and at times violent, in terms of business and investment, there are daily low-level interactions, including among tech companies. Some Israeli firms employ Palestinian programmers, and Israeli-Arabs increasingly work in the tech sector. Nashef acknowledges that in some respects the fund is behind projections – it wanted to have invested in around 12 companies over five years – but in other ways the landscape in the West Bank has been transformed since it started. There are now four active funds, whether venture capital or private equity, scouting Palestinian tech investments, three or four "accelerators" and a total of 17 VC-backed startups. Six years ago, there was none of that. Kaufmann points out that about 2,000 Palestinians graduate with IT degrees each year, but many go on to work for PalTel, the main telecoms company. The challenge is to create a pool of entrepreneurial talent and prevent it going abroad. "The first generation of Palestinian startups is not pushing the envelope on technology innovation," he said. "The innovation is much more on the marketing side, adapting solutions that have been proven to work in other markets ... that's the low-hanging fruit." Nashef agrees there is a need to walk before running. "You can't import talent at scale, and domestically it will take a long time to build the necessary skills without the right startup culture and experience," he said. But they remain optimistic. "On both the financial and the impact side of the investment, I am positive," said Nashef. The proof will be if they can achieve an "exit" – growing a company to an IPO or finding someone who wants to buy it. "What every VC aims for is exits," said Kaufmann. "We certainly hope and expect that among our portfolio there will be companies that have successful exits, more likely acquisitions rather than IPOs, in the near future." Nashef put a four- to five-year timeline on it. "A Palestinian exit, that's what we're after. An end-to-end Palestinian story."

Sadara Ventures Investments

9 Investments

Sadara Ventures has made 9 investments. Their latest investment was in SocialDice as part of their Seed VC - II on February 2, 2016.

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Sadara Ventures Investments Activity

investments chart

Date

Round

Company

Amount

New?

Co-Investors

Sources

2/11/2016

Seed VC - II

SocialDice

No

1

9/9/2015

Series B

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$99M

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10

6/3/2015

Series B

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$99M

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10

4/1/2015

Seed VC

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10

9/16/2014

Series C

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$99M

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10

Date

2/11/2016

9/9/2015

6/3/2015

4/1/2015

9/16/2014

Round

Seed VC - II

Series B

Series B

Seed VC

Series C

Company

SocialDice

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Amount

$99M

$99M

$99M

New?

No

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Co-Investors

Sources

1

10

10

10

10

Sadara Ventures Portfolio Exits

1 Portfolio Exit

Sadara Ventures has 1 portfolio exit. Their latest portfolio exit was Freightos on May 31, 2022.

Date

Exit

Companies

Valuation
Valuations are submitted by companies, mined from state filings or news, provided by VentureSource, or based on a comparables valuation model.

Acquirer

Sources

5/31/2022

Acq - Pending

$99M

6

Date

5/31/2022

Exit

Acq - Pending

Companies

Valuation

$99M

Acquirer

Sources

6

Sadara Ventures Fund History

2 Fund Histories

Sadara Ventures has 2 funds, including Middle East Venture Capital Fund LP.

Closing Date

Fund

Fund Type

Status

Amount

Sources

8/24/2012

Middle East Venture Capital Fund LP

Early-Stage Venture Capital

Closed

$30M

1

4/11/2011

The Middle East Venture Capital Fund

$99M

10

Closing Date

8/24/2012

4/11/2011

Fund

Middle East Venture Capital Fund LP

The Middle East Venture Capital Fund

Fund Type

Early-Stage Venture Capital

Status

Closed

Amount

$30M

$99M

Sources

1

10

Sadara Ventures Team

3 Team Members

Sadara Ventures has 3 team members, including current Chief Financial Officer, Inbal Tal.

Name

Work History

Title

Status

Yadin Kaufmann

Athena Venture Partners

Founder

Current

Inbal Tal

Chief Financial Officer

Current

Saed Nashef

Founding Partner

Current

Name

Yadin Kaufmann

Inbal Tal

Saed Nashef

Work History

Athena Venture Partners

Title

Founder

Chief Financial Officer

Founding Partner

Status

Current

Current

Current

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