Lebanon Businessnews News

Yafi and Jisr to raise
$50 million for ICT VC fund
70 percent to be invested locally
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B&Y Venture Partners (BYVP) will complete the closing of an investment fund this month and expects the capital raised to reach $50 million, said Ghaith Yafi, BYVP’s Managing Partner.

The fund, named B&Y Division One, has obtained the Central Bank’s final approval and will be launched in September. It will invest in the information and communication technology(ICT) sector locally and abroad.

B&Y Division One is the first fund launched and managed by BYVP, a joint venture created in 2015 between Y Venture Partners and Broadgate Advisers. Y Venture Partners is a company owned by the Yafi brothers, Ghaith and Abdallah. Broadgate Advisers was founded by Rami Jisr, the former General Manager of Audi Investment Bank.

The fund’s first capital injection was from BYVP’s founders and has already been invested in ten companies.

The fund is a hybrid investment tool because it is raising capital from banks and from private investors, Yafi said. The money raised from banks will be invested under the conditions of a circular set by the Central Bank that aims to encourage investments in local companies operating in the knowledge and innovative sectors.

“A hybrid fund gives us more flexibility in our investment decisions, because the money raised from private investors is not subject to the same constraints imposed by the circular,” Yafi said.

About 70 percent of the money will be invested locally. The remainder will be invested abroad. Local investment will be at the seed stage of companies that have global potential. Investment abroad will target companies at the growth stage.

The fund will acquire a minority interest in the companies in order to keep the entrepreneurs in the driver seat and to encourage them to raise more money to grow their business, Yafi said. The fund will still have a say in basic matters like budgeting and strategy, he said.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: Aug 03, 2016
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