Last week marked our second year anniversary of our First Close at Nama Ventures. In VC talk, it means it’s been 2 years since we “opened our doors for business to fund startups “ . I can’t believe it’s been 2 years ! 🙈 time sure flies! But as the saying goes, time flies if your job is your passion.
Today, Nama Ventures Fund I has made more than 30 investments, and has gained the trust of 60+ investors. We sure have gone a long way when the original investor in the fund was just me
I thought it’s befitting to share with our amazing LinkedIn network why I started Nama Ventures: Nama is a product of experiencing two major events simultaneously, the first is the emergence of the operator investor, or more specifically ex-operators turned investors. These are investors that have been tech entrepreneurs themselves, and have the battle scars from their entrepreneurial journey to share with new founders. The second was witnessing of what I coined as the 3rd entrepreneurial awakening in MENA ( I wrote about it here https://www.namaventures.com/the-3rd-arab-tech-revolution/ )
But the key insight that drove me to start Nama Ventures is that I felt our region had matured enough to warrant a VC fund dedicated to pre-seed. A fund that is composed of technical founders investing in technology startups. I’m close to my 80th investment in both startups and funds, but the most interesting and impactful conversations I have with founders is about my entrepreneurial experience, in both Silicon Valley and MENA. We discuss the good, but mostly the bad, and that’s where I feel we are differentiated as a fund. We have truly walked in the entrepreneurs shoes, we have had sleepless nights thinking how are we going to make payroll 🙂 heck, Nama itself is a startup that is evolving.
Now this wonderful journey would have not been possible without 3 elements coming together. First are our unsung heroes, the 60+ investors ( LPs) that have trusted us to invest on their behalf in the riskiest of asset classes, and to back us while we are just starting. It takes a lot of courage on their behalf to be backers and sometimes doubling down on us over time. We have been really blessed to have investors with us from MENA, Europe, Canada and even Silicon Valley, and we really believe the strength of Nama does not rely just on the strength of its team, but also its investors. Many of our investors have rolled up their sleeves and extended their value add to our portfolio companies. So I really want to thank them for their trust and hopefully we’ll give them the returns so we can keep fueling tech innovation and back amazing founders.
The second is Nama’s team, the most hard working people in the industry, we are a very tight knit group, a super small team made up of heroes. I always say, two things that are hard to be taught, ethics and work ethics, and I’d say the Nama team scores 100% on these two. We are a flat organization of “doers” that work tirelessly to keep the Nama Space Rocket flying high. At Nama we don’t say we have a job , we say we are doing our calling, it sure feels like it.
The third element is our founders, the people on top of our pyramid, we are nothing without them and we remind ourselves of this fact everyday at work. The venture capital business is a business where the incentives of success are fully aligned; we can’t win as a fund, especially a pre-seed fund, if our portfolio of startups don’t win. And we work our tails off to try to achieve this, whether in the value add we bring to them as technology professions, ex failed and succeeded founders, or our experience as early investors, and our network, all these are ported to our startups in the hopes we can add value to them. We are learning from them as much as they are learning from us, and we appreciate their trust and patience in us. We have not always gotten it right, but we are constantly trying to improve. The Nama Ventures of today looks nothing like the fund I first started, and this all thanks to the lessons we learned from our startups, who fortunately have become our family, our clan, as we call each other, the Nama Ventures clan 🙂
Lastly I wanna say we haven’t even started, we feel the future is extremely bright for us and for the MENAP tech scene as a whole. We have been beyond impressed in the amount and the quality deal flow that we are seeing, almost no month has passed without us making an investment. We are already putting the building blocks for fund II and new exciting funding products, with new partners.
It’s truly a blessing to keep supporting our founders and aspire to meet the expectation of our investors, we are thankful, and hopefully we get to do this for many years to come.