Golden Gate Ventures Expands Global Footprint with Regional MENA Office to Mine Golden Entrepreneurial Opportunities in the Region

Initiative capitalises on closer ties in Singapore-GCC golden corridor

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Golden Gate Ventures, a venture capital fund founded by Silicon Valley natives, today announced the establishment of their first MENA office in Saudi Arabia to strengthen ties between Singapore and MENA, and accelerate the development of the MENA startup ecosystem.

Capitalising on the Singapore-GCC Connection

In October 2023, the Singapore government and Saudia Arabia elevated their ties to a ‘strategic partnership’ to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation, with trade and investment, green energy and digital economy as key priorities. In 2021, Singapore and the UAE strengthened their bilateral economic relationship across technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and space innovations. At Singapore’s 2023 SWITCH Conference, Qatar brought a delegation of startups and government officials to meet with Singapore venture capital (VC) firms and founders.

“The entrepreneurship corridor between MENA and Singapore will have an unrivaled multiplier effect. We started to build ties in the MENA region as far back as 2014, recognising the region’s potential for a thriving startup community. The opening of our first MENA office reflects our First-In strategy of being first to identify new opportunities in new startups, sectors and regions,” said Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner at Golden Gate Ventures.

Backed by a deep leadership bench strength across MENA

The first MENA office will be helmed by a deep bench strength of leaders with extensive networks in the region:

  • Abdulrahman Al-Qahtani, General Partner with strong investment experience in Saudi Arabia
  • Hussain Abdullah, Senior Advisor with deep global investment expertise with strong network & insights in MENA region who is based in Qatar

Michael Lints, partner at Golden Gate Ventures, will lead the efforts in MENA, spending time across both Singapore and the GCC to create strategic synergies for the Singapore-MENA entrepreneurial corridor.

“Opening our first MENA office marks the culmination of 9 years of building deep ties across the region, creating the right networks, and curating a senior team that has an intimate understanding of shifting opportunities in MENA. This is a pivotal moment to expand the MENA entrepreneurial agenda,” said Michael Lints. Golden Gate Ventures intensified its MENA development journey after working with startup ecosystem partners across the GCC.

Hussain Abdulla, Senior Advisor, commented, “Having Golden Gate Ventures in the GGC region with strong presence will help developing the VC ecosystem by attracting talents and capital. Collaborating with universities and providing the support to local talents in different markets will be a value-add to these markets.”

Driving social, human and financial capital access for the MENA startup ecosystem

As part of Golden Gate Ventures’ efforts to build its MENA foundation, the VC firm has supported entrepreneurship development in terms of building social, human and financial capital access.

  • Mentoring over 50 founders from MENA and MENA founders from the Endeavor program to help them internationalize
  • Bringing international guests to Startup Grind in Oman
  • Hosing of a landmark bilateral desert camp between Singapore unicorns and GCC institutions
  • Bringing INSEA experts to share insights on private equity and VC funding in Saudi Arabia
  • Hosting an international investor dinner at the Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia

“The first Golden Gate Ventures MENA office is a natural extension of a relationship that began years ago with the firm co-investing in the GCC’s entrepreneurial ecosystem as early as 2018. I’m excited to be a part of this significant chapter in Golden Gate Ventures’ commitment to the Gulf region,” said Abdulrahman Al-Qahtani, General Partner.

“Our MENA operations marks Golden Gate Ventures’ expansion into a global VC firm and underscores our expertise in emerging startup ecosystems. We were a pioneer VC firm in Singapore during the infancy of its startup ecosystem; we were on the ground just as Vietnam’s star was rising; now, we have the same pioneering opportunity in the GCC, connecting two vibrant startup hubs,” said Vinnie Lauria.

About Golden Gate Ventures

Golden Gate Ventures is a global, early-stage venture capital firm that empowers audacious founders across 3 continents. Founded in 2011, Golden Gate Ventures combines the knowledge and experience of Silicon Valley with the passion and experience in emerging startup ecosystems, establishing local roots with global reach. For over a decade, the firm’s role is not just to fund founders as investors, but to nurture vibrant startup ecosystems with sustained growth. Golden Gate Ventures has invested in over 90 companies with 9 unicorns and 2 IPOs across its portfolio. Notable companies include Carro, Coda Payments, Stripe, Carousell, Xendit, AngelList, and Multiplier. For more information, visit goldengate.vc.

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