Lebanon Businessnews News

Berytech Fund II
$51 million in equity
19 banks, 20 startups, 3,500 jobs
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The $51 million Berytech Fund II closed its funding round today and officially kicked-off its activities. The fund, announced in 2013, is eyeing innovative startups and SMEs, particularly in ICT and digital content, renewable energy, industrial design, and fashion.

The fund will be addressing both startups and companies at an intermediary level. With this fund, the knowledge industry in the country will benefit from a real boost. “Over 500 direct job opportunities will be created, and 3,000 indirectly,” said Maroun Chammas, Chairman of Berytech.

He said that two startups have already been studied, and are currently in the final phases of acquiring the necessary funding under Berytech Fund II.

Through this fund, Berytech will invest in over 20 ventures over a four-year period. The average investment is expected to be between $500,000 and $3 million, said Paul Chukrallah Managing Director of the fund. “We are able to provide incubation, acceleration, and assistance for any company requiring our help,” Chukrallah said. An investment committee will review each company’s profile and confirm its funding. This committee includes four independent members: Jihad Azour, Nasser Saidi, Georges Nazi, and Constantin Salameh. Chukrallah said that investment per startup will be based on its achievements and milestones and that the amount won’t be provided fully at once.

According to Marianne Hoayek, Head of the Executive Office at the Central Bank, the purpose of Circular 331 is to establish a solid knowledge industry sector, which is expected to be as valuable as any other pillar-sector in the country. She said that with Berytech Fund II this vision will be highlighted because the fund will provide young entrepreneurs with the ability to realize their ideas. The fund is in full compliance with Circular 331, which allows local banks and financial institutions to invest in startups in the knowledge economy and to help them grow their businesses, with 75 percent of the banks’ investments guaranteed by the Central Bank.

Nineteen banks have participated in the fund, each with a distinct share. These included BLOM Group, Banque Libano-Française, Bank Audi, Byblos Bank, Société Générale de Banque au Liban, Bank of Beirut, Fransabank, BankMed, Bank of Beirut & Arab Countries, BLC Bank, Al Mawarid Bank, CSC Bank, First National Bank, Jammal Trust Bank, Lebanon & Gulf Bank, Middle East & Africa Bank, Credit Libanais Investment Bank, and Near East Commercial Bank.

Berytech Fund I was founded in 2008, with over $6 million under management. It is part of an investment eco-system focused on enterprise development, which began in 2002 with the establishment of the Berytech Technology Pole, the first technology incubator in the country. It has successfully funded 15 startups. Fund I investments range from $100,000 to $1.2 million, per transaction and include management, technical and marketing support.
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Feb 25, 2015
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