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Kuwait’s Zain Ventures Marks Launch with Investment in SWVL Merger

Launched by telecoms giant, Zain, the fund also invested in US-based Pipe, a rapidly growing trading platform.

Kuwaiti-based telecommunications giant, Zain Group, has announced the launch of its new venture capital (VC) wing, Zain Ventures, marking the launch with investments into newly inaugurated regional unicorn, Swvl.

Zain Ventures seeks to complement the pre-existing group’s investment activity, paving the way for further investment opportunities across the VC world, fintech, and tech sectors. The company’s focus on digital innovations and solutions in the regional startup ecosystem has ultimately led it to look to Swvl, the Cairo and Dubai-based ride-hailing platform revolutionising the $1 trillion global mass transit market.

Spearheading investments in the regional tech scene, Zain Ventures’ investment has been key to Swvl’s unicorn status, acting as a turning point for both entities. Bader Al Kharafi, Zain Group’s Vice-Chairman and CEO stated that “Zain grasped the opportunity to invest in Swvl for reasons that are also core to our Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion corporate strategy.”

He outlined that this included “supporting national transport infrastructure and optimising mobility, serving the underprivileged, sustainability and environmentally friendly, women empowerment and safety, unlimited synergies with Zain's footprint across the region.”

The Zain team, he said, is looking forward to playing a “strategic role and being part of Swvl's trajectory growth and global success story.”

Meanwhile, the VC group further cemented its focus on big players in the transportation and fintech sectors with investments in US-based Pipe, a startup recognised as the world's first trading platform for recurring revenues, valued at $2 billion despite launching only in June 2020.