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500 Startups launches $30 mln fund for MENA

Silicon Valley-based venture firm 500 Startups announced their $30 million fund for MENA startups called 500 Falcons, due to the cultural significance of falcons in the Arab World. They are planning to invest between $50,000 and $100,000 in 100-200 companies.

The fund will focus on startups in the areas of e-commerce and marketplaces, video and Arabic content, software, mobile, financial technologies and hardware. Moreover, additional investments of up to $500,000 for the top of 20-30 companies with extra capital from the main fund provided for specific deals.

According to Dave McClure, the Silicon Valley-based founding partner of 500 Startups, the venture capital firm plans to make investments in nascent companies in a region that is poorly understood by other tech investors.

A 500 Startups Partner, Hasan Haider, will lead the fund. In the near future, Haider said the fund will include venture partners in other MENA geographies.

In 2012, the fund made its first investment in the Middle East — in a startup called Jeeran, the popular user review platform.