Egypt's leading bank establishes fintech-focused corporate venture arm

Commercial International Bank (CIB), one of Egypt’s leading banks, has established a corporate venture arm. CVentures, the corporate venture capital firm will focus on investments into FinTechs.

There are no details about the fund size will be or the ticket sizes they will write. Instead, CVentures describes the stage they will target and their market of interest.

The firm will take part in Series A and Series B investment rounds in Egypt, the Middle East, Africa. Though, they will also look at "other highly regarded cross-border market economies". As well consider "Seed investment rounds across similar markets".

"To achieve this, CVentures will combine the speed and agility of an independent investor with the breadth of CIB’s businesses," the company wrote.

Establishment of corporate venture capital arms is an accepted -and still growing - trend in the west and some parts of Asia.

"CVentures is in line with international common practice amongst major banks," Ashraf Shash said. He is CIB's Head of Direct Investment Group and CVentures Vice Chairman also noted.

He also added that setting up the firm is the way to improve CIB's offerings. "Adoption of win-win collaboration models with startup communities has ultimately served customers better.”

"We are very excited about CVentures as it fills a gap in the ecosystem, and brings a much-needed focus and institutional support to the early-stage FinTech spectrum” added Mr. Emad Fouad, CVentures Managing Director.

Across the African continent, corporates setting up venture arms is only taking shape. Except for Naspers, and a few other, there hasn't been many corporate venture arms across Africa. Though, recently, things have begun to change.

MTN Uganda recently announced the establishment of a startup fund. Though not a venture capital arm, it is a starting point.

Safaricom, Kenya's leading telecom, in November 2014 launched the Spark Fund. A venture fund that invests in tech-focused late seed to early growth stage startups. To date, the $1 million fund, has made investments into startups like M-Shule.

Orange - whose operations are in West Africa - also launched Orange Digital Ventures in Africa. The €50 million fund has taken part in Africa's Talking's $8.6 million Series A as well as Yoco's $16 million Series B.

In South Africa, banks like Nedbank, Standard Bank and ABSA have often made direct investments into startups. In other cases, they have instead partnered with incubators and accelerators. One of such partnerships is the Barclays and Techstars. While Standard Bank partnered with Startupbootcamp.

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