Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is set to launch Qatar’s first venture capital (VC) fund of funds, a strategic investment program to foster innovation in Qatar.

The fund of funds program will invest more than $1 billion in international and regional venture capital funds, QIA said in a statement on Monday.

According to the statement, the program will have two key objectives.

It will generate market-level commercial returns in line with QIA’s mandate to secure sustainable, long-term returns to the people of Qatar.

At the same time, it will support the sustainable development of a vibrant VC and start-up ecosystem in line with Qatar’s National Development Strategy (NDS3), which seeks to increase the number of startups and the availability of VC funding in the local market.

The program will aim to attract leading international VC funds and entrepreneurs both to Qatar and the wider Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, bringing deep VC and start-up expertise, and contributing to the growth of a local and region base of venture capitalists and founders.

The program will place a priority focus on the tech sector, including fintech and edtech, as well as the healthcare sector.

It will primarily invest indirectly via other VC funds, but will be able to make targeted co-investments with the participating funds.

The fund of funds program will only invest in VC funds and not invest in private equity, debt, or any other funds.

The program aims to make important strides towards closing a current funding gap which exists for local and regional entrepreneurs.

“There is currently no dedicated pool of capital in Qatar for companies that are past seed funding and are ready for Series A to Series C funding rounds,” said QIA Chief Executive Officer HE Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud.

“Building a well-connected start-up ecosystem network in Qatar is fundamental to diversifying the country’s economic base in the long term,

“QIA is launching this program to help ensure that innovative businesses can readily access capital and support from VC funds, enabling them to scale operations and expand market presence in Qatar, across the GCC, and ultimately onto the international stage,” he added.

According to the statement, fund managers wishing to raise funds will need to demonstrate a solid track record, including consistently strong commercial performance.

Alongside this, fund managers will be required to show a commitment to Qatar and be set to play an active role in the GCC VC and start-up ecosystem.

Commitments that may be required include establishing an operational footprint in Qatar, highlighting organic expansion plans across the GCC, and setting up a senior-level presence in Qatar.

In line with the program’s dual investment mandate, international, regional, and emerging local fund managers will be part of the program.

The program will collaborate closely with the wider VC and start-up ecosystem in Qatar to ensure maximum synergies and to support VC funds to maximize their participation in any initiatives.

This highly strategic initiative will accelerate the development of Qatar’s venture capital ecosystem, providing both financial resources and infusing global best practices and networks into the local market.

More details on the fund launch will be announced by QIA in due course.

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