Launching Simple Fund 1 with $10 million to support technology and AI companies in MENA

Simple Holdings, a family office based in Abu Dhabi, has launched a $10 million fund named “Simple Fund 1” to support startups in the fields of technology and artificial intelligence in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond.

The fund offers initial capital and value-added strategic services to these startups.

Mohammad Abu Sheikh, co-founder of Simple Holdings, stated, “The UAE has emerged as a global destination for startups and innovation.

Its advanced policies, tax-free environment, technological infrastructure, and strategic location make it an attractive hub for startups and top talent worldwide.”

In 2023, the UAE attracted over $2 billion in venture capital investments for startups, reflecting the strength of its knowledge-based economy and its ability to attract high-quality investments.

Abu Sheikh added that the UAE’s work ethics, prioritizing respect, integrity, and social responsibility, make it a compelling environment for global technology and AI companies.

“In addition to these ethics, the country’s commitment to creating a conducive tech ecosystem positions the UAE as a global leader in adopting AI.”

Abu Sheikh highlighted that the founders of Simple Holdings are second-generation entrepreneurs who follow in their parents’ footsteps by providing not just capital but also deep expertise in understanding leading companies and overcoming challenges.

Two startups have already received support from Simple Fund 1: “Cilla,” a beauty tech company, and “Actualize AI,” an AI-focused firm founded by former Google employees.

Actualize AI offers solutions across various industries, including healthcare, finance, e-commerce, manufacturing, and education.

The company sought support from Simple Holdings to develop market entry strategies and navigate local nuances. A spokesperson for Actualize AI said, “Simple Fund’s intervention at a critical stage helped us refine our market entry strategy and better understand the local market.

Today, we are on the path to profitability.”

Cilla & Co., which provides solutions for healthy scalp treatments and offers a range of premium products, required funding to scale its operations.

This opportunity is often overlooked by traditional venture capital, which typically ignores non-software companies, despite Cilla’s use of advanced AI-based marketing and sales tools.

A spokesperson for Cilla stated, “The company needed funding to expand. Simple Fund saw potential in our product and understood our marketing and sales advantages.

Their funding and strategic guidance helped us expand, and we are now on the right track towards profitability.”

Abu Sheikh emphasized, “Simple Fund 1 is a strategic initiative and a testament to our commitment to entrepreneurship in the UAE.

We are in discussions with key players like Nvidia, Meta, and other global and regional tech companies to secure preferential treatment and free offers for our portfolio of startups.”

Zafer Younis, founder of a Silicon Valley-based venture capital and innovation platform for the Middle East and North Africa, remarked, “Founders seek funding from teams with years of operational experience in scaling amid challenges, especially in the AI and tech sectors.

Startups often need help with strategic guidance, resource availability, and understanding local nuances. Simple Fund 1 aims to systematically change the rules of the game in the local tech and AI sectors by providing financial support, strategic guidance, and resources, thus reducing failure rates and helping them thrive in the competitive market.”

John Smith, a banking expert at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, added, “The startup sector is full of challenges, particularly in AI and technology.

Startups often need strategic guidance, resources, and local understanding. Simple Fund aims to change the game for local tech and AI startups by providing financial support, strategic guidance, and resources, thereby reducing failure rates and helping them succeed in the competitive market.”

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