Amman, March 2021: The Innovative Startups and SMEs Fund (ISSF) – the largest investment fund of its kind in Jordan – today announced its commitment to a venture fund with MSA Capital (MSA). The ISSF has selected MSA due to its robust track record, broad experience and unique capabilities, as well as its clear global access and deep roots in China and the East. Access to MSA’s characteristics and capabilities will help the ISSF develop a competitive and globally aware entrepreneurial ecosystem in Jordan.
MSA has already made several investments in companies operating in Jordan, most notably Fordeal, which employs over 200 people in the Kingdom. Despite being a relatively recent entrant to the market, MSA has become a prolific investor in the MENA region. Over the last 18 months alone, MSA has participated in 25 funding rounds for 19 companies, in addition to bringing several existing MSA portfolio companies to the region.
MSA is a highly unique investment platform among all other participants in the market. The firm unquestionably brings the largest volume of assets under management of any VC fund systematically investing in the MENA startup space. Notably, MSA’s 2015 vintage venture fund – an early-stage USD 150 million vehicle – has yielded 10 companies now valued in excess of USD 1 billion, most notably NIO, whose market cap has reached USD 74 billion. MSA also possesses the widest and deepest portfolio of any fund in the MENA region, with investments in global sector leaders like Meituan, Airbnb, Uber and Palantir.
Beyond simply investing in regional startups, MSA also actively builds regional JVs with global companies, often vastly accelerating the pace of development and job creation. MSA intends to further expand its investment and ecosystem footprint in the Kingdom via direct investments in Jordanian companies and building or rooting startups in the country that will then target adjacent markets. MSA will continue a concentration on healthcare, mobility, logistics and financial services in Jordan.
“We are deeply honored to be trusted as custodians of the precious resources of the Kingdom of Jordan. High caliber entrepreneurial and engineering talent in Jordan provide critical infrastructure to sustain companies addressing large financial opportunities across the MENA region. MSA is proud to partner with the ISSF and expand our ongoing efforts to fund and build sustainable Jordanian companies that leverage technology to scale pan regionally to address critical enterprise and consumer pain points,” said Ben Harburg, Managing Partner at MSA.
In turn, Laith Al Qasem, CEO of the ISSF, stated, “One of the main objectives of the ISSF is to mobilize the availability of capital for Jordanian startups by strengthening cooperation between local and global ecosystems. I am very pleased to announce our joint commitment and investment with MSA, which will make international experience available to Jordanian entrepreneurs, whilst facilitating market access to the East.”