Golden Gate Ventures, a Singapore-based venture capital fund founded by Silicon Valley natives, has on Monday announced the establishment of their first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) office in Saudi Arabia to strengthen ties between Singapore and MENA, and accelerate the development of the MENA startup ecosystem.

“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, recognizing 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,” Golden Gate Ventures Founding Partner Vinnie Lauria said in a statement.

According to him, the MENA operations marks Golden Gate Ventures’ expansion into a global venture capital firm and underscores its 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,” he added.

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 United Arab Emirates (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.

According to the statement, 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), and Hussain Abdullah (Senior Advisor with deep global investment expertise with strong network and 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 Lints.

It is noted that Golden Gate Ventures intensified its MENA development journey after working with startup ecosystem partners across the Gulf Cooperation Council (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.”

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

The firm is mentoring over 50 founders from MENA and MENA founders from the Endeavor program to help them internationalize.

The firm is also bringing international guests to Startup Grind in Oman.

The firm is also hosing of a landmark bilateral desert camp between Singapore unicorns and GCC institutions.

It is also bringing INSEA experts to share insights on private equity and VC funding in Saudi Arabia.

It is also 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.

Golden Gate Ventures is a global, early-stage venture capital firm that empowers audacious founders across three 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 nine unicorns and two initial public offerings (IPOs) across its portfolio.

Notable companies include Carro, Coda Payments, Stripe, Carousell, Xendit, AngelList, and Multiplier.

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