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Careem co-founders invest in Endeavor Catalyst’s latest fund

Other entrepreneurs who have built successful companies in the region have also invested in the fund.

Careem's founders in the company's headquarters. Photo by Kieran Kesner. Courtesy of Careem via MENAbytes. Careem's founders in the company's headquarters. Photo by Kieran Kesner. Courtesy of Careem via MENAbytes.

Endeavor Catalyst, the investment vehicle of global nonprofit organization Endeavor that supports high-impact entrepreneurs around the world, has closed its third fund, Endeavor Catalyst III, with USD 134 million, its managing director Allen Taylor announced on Wednesday. The investment vehicle co-invests in equity financing rounds of startups founded and led by entrepreneurs that are part of Endeavor’s network.

The founders of Careem—Mudassir Sheikha, Magnus Olsson, and Abdullah Elyas, who have been a part of Endeavor’s network since 2018—have invested in Endeavor Catalyst’s latest fund, Taylor stated in the announcement. The size of their investment was not disclosed.

The announcement by Endeavor Catalyst explained that Mudassir Sheikha sees investing in Endeavor Catalyst as a “great way to ‘pay it forward’ and invest in high-quality entrepreneurs in frontier markets.”

All three co-founders of Careem made big fortunes after selling their company to Uber for USD 3.1 billion. Since then, they have been actively investing in startups, but this is the first time their investment in a venture capital fund has been made public. The disclosed startup investments made by Magnus Olsson include 360Vuz, SpiderSilk, and Kitab Sawti (which was acquired by Storytel recently), while Abdulla Elyas has invested in Noon Academy and Kitab Sawti.

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Michael Lahyani, the founder of Dubai-headquartered regional real estate startup Property Finder, and Turkey-based Yekempeseti’s founder Nevzat Aydın have also invested in the fund.

“Across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), dozens of Endeavor Entrepreneurs have joined us as LPs, including the founders of Careem, Yemeksepeti.com, Property Finder, Checkout.com, Softomotive, Moneyfarm, and Flutterwave, among others,” noted the announcement.

Endeavor Catalyst has made investments in both Property Finder and Yekempeseti. The Turkish food delivery startup was acquired by Delivery Hero for USD 589 million in 2015 in one of the largest tech M&A deals of the region.

Endeavor Catalyst’s portfolio companies in the region include Anghami, Altibbi, Bayzat, Jamalon, Kharabesh, Mawdoo3, Souqalmal, Swvl, Unifonic, Uturn, and Vezeeta. Some of Endeavor Catalyst’s biggest exits have come from Turkey and include the USD 1.8 billion acquisition of Peak Games by Zynga, Iyzico’s USD 165 million acquisition by PayU, and Yekempeseti’s USD 589 million sale to Delivery Hero.

They’ve also had their fair share of failures too, with investments in companies like Fetchr and Awok.

This article first appeared in MENAbytes.