Zain Group, a a telco with operations in 8 markets across the Middle East and Africa, has made a strategic investment in Colle Capital Partners, an early-stage technology venture fund based in New York, with a presence in San Francisco, US.
Colle Capital Partners has a diversified technology focus with an emphasis on data in the following sectors: Energy, Media, Telecommunications, Health IT, Security, and Software Development. The fund’s managers have access to unique, high quality investment opportunities and the fund was oversubscribed. Its Managing Partner – Victoria Grace – is a professional venture investor with a successful track record of over a decade.
(TOP: Screenshot of firms where Colle Capital Partners has a stake, including Kenya’s BitPesa).
Zain’s investment in Colle Capital Partners forms part of its Zain Digital Frontier and Innovation (ZDFI) business unit strategy, which was established in 2014, and charged with launching Zain into the digital space with the view to growing the company through new innovative business streams, which add to its financial viability and market capitalization.
Zain has previously made three investments in technology-focused venture capital and early-stage investment companies, and this latest participation further establishes a bridge between successful digital startups and Zain. The investment in Colle Capital Partners also extends the geographic range of Zain’s potential partner entities to the United States, taking them beyond the Middle East and Eastern Europe where the company’s current investment ventures have their pool of influence.
Zain’s strategy to participate at an early stage in the lifecycle of a company and help the team to achieve its commercial goals by supporting its early-stage development drove its interest in Colle Capital Partners. The fund is driven by a desire to invest in people, with a goal to identify and support teams that demonstrate intellect and passion as well as agility in their thinking and execution.
Commenting on Zain’s latest strategic investment, Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer said, “We are delighted to add Colle Capital Partners to MEVP, Wamda and EarlyBird as early stage investment companies we have made investments in, with this fund being particularly nimble and highly selective. We are keen to extend our reach to the US as we are well aware of that market’s innovation and hi-tech credentials, and we believe ideas and solutions from that geography will drive real-life digital applications and create new revenue streams in our region.”
Victoria Grace, Founder and MP of Colle Capital Partners said, ““We are thrilled to be partnering with Zain in our efforts. We aim to bring to our portfolio companies not just capital but also access to forward thinking, strategic partners that will create significant synergies for our companies beyond US borders. We are already engaged with Zain on a number of efforts and view this as a win-win partnership.”
Emre Gurkan, Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer of Zain Group said, “Mobile operators must innovate to remain relevant and the exploration of new opportunities to differentiate ourselves is vital to our future prosperity. At Zain, we have taken a pro-active step to cooperate with a broad range of partners that we believe share our vision of digital transformation. The inclusion of Colle Capital Partners into our growing eco-system of partners will add value to our progress in this area for the benefit of our customers and other stakeholders.”
Boosted by this latest investment, ZDFI will continue to focus on the areas of innovation; digital services; corporate venturing; and smart cities, with the ultimate aim of Zain becoming a regional innovation trendsetter.
Zain operates in Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and South Sudan. In Lebanon, the Group manages ‘touch’ on behalf of the government while in Morocco, Zain has a 15.5% stake in ‘INWI’, through a joint venture.