Venture capital fund Varys Capital is looking to enter the GCC market, and is working to raise $75 million for its equity fund focused on blockchain innovation. The fund aims to achieve long-term growth from a curated portfolio of high-quality, early-stage businesses utilising blockchain to solve addressable needs in the wider software, gaming, and finance industries. 

To govern its entry into the UAE, Varys Capital has secured reputable local services, including Al Tamimi, one of the GCC’s most prestigious law firms, as its primary counsel.

According to the press release, the company has received inquiries from local institutions and prominent investors. The fund has 12 commitments in place across decentralised (DeFi) and centralised (CeFi) finance, GameFi/Web3, infrastructure, and emerging technologies.

Darius Askaripour, Managing Partner, Varys Capital said, “We are looking at entering the UAE market first encouraged by supportive local government directives, its high innovation levels, robust infrastructure, and forward-thinking mindset, but plan to deploy across the Middle East and North Africa with multiple deals already at the final stages of due diligence.”

The move comes as the International Market Analysis Research & Consulting Group (IMARC) forecasts the GCC’s digital asset management market will be worth US$222 million by 2028, registering a compound annual growth rate of 12.9% over the next five years.

Since 2018, Varys Capital has managed an equity-focused venture fund and a distinguished quantitative trading fund. Its blockchain venture fund boasts a total value to paid-in capital returns of 440% and over triple-digit internal rate of return since capital deployment in March this year.

The fund has made five investments in prominent blockchain, cloud technology, and games projects such as modular blockchain network developer Movement Labs, games studio SunSpear Games, blockchain enhancer for mobile operators Bloxtel, competitive multiplayer first-person shooter games producer Shrapnel, and cloud hardware and software developer, Nirvana Labs. Two of the projects have already experienced significant uprounds boosting returns

Dubai regulated virtual asset broker and exchange TOKO FZE a creation of international law firm DLA Piper, has partnered with  Virtuzone, a pioneer in business solutions and corporate services for the region. The partnership will include the establishment of a tokenized equity crowd funding platform will further cement Dubai’s standing at the forefront of financial innovative and as a destination for early stage and fast growth companies seeking a supportive business environment.

TOKO has just received a fully operational license from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA).The partnership with Virtuzone is set to transform early-stage private equity fund raising using blockchain technology to bring enhanced transparency, accessibility, and opportunity for both investors and the businesses seeking to raise funds. Across a variety of compelling businesses, investors will have greater insight, information and access to private equities for their portfolio and the expectation of greater liquidity that comes with this digital transformation.Scott Thiel, Managing Director of TOKO, says “The VARA regulatory framework has been custom designed for virtual asset transactions, providing a robust and clear route to market that is going to support the transformation of investments and facilitate financial inclusion.  We are excited to be partnering with Virtuzone in tokenising early-stage equity investments. At TOKO, we believe in improving the world and reshaping the virtual asset management landscape through cutting-edge technology, regulatory compliance, and a user-centric approach, and this partnership with Virtuzone provides a wonderful platform to achieve this”.By tokenising early equity offerings, TOKO and Virtuzone will open up access to a broader range of investors, allowing both institutional and individual investors to participate in a more accessible and transparent manner.The partnership is poised to take full advantage of VARA’s regulatory framework to drive positive change in the financial services sector. It will create a revolutionary platform for SME-sized companies, enabling them to engage in early equity fundraising with ease.Neil Petch, Chairman and Co-founder of Virtuzone, says: “Since our founding 14 years ago, our mission remains the same – to ease the way for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs and equip them with all the tools they need to succeed. We are therefore thrilled to partner with TOKO, under the VARA regulatory framework, and introduce tokenised equity offerings, which we believe will make Dubai an even more attractive destination for startups and entrepreneurs seeking funding, as well as for angel investors and venture capitalists looking to be part of Dubai’s thriving business sector. Our strategic collaboration with TOKO also aligns with the UAE’s National Entrepreneurship Agenda, which aims to establish the UAE as home to 10 unicorn companies by 2031.”This partnership between TOKO and Virtuzone represents a transformative step forward in the evolution of Dubai’s innovative financial landscape. By introducing tokenised early equity fund offerings, the collaboration will not only empower businesses but also create exciting opportunities for investors.

Reef Labs has announced the launch of a $10 million accelerator program for Web3 projects building on the Reef Chain in the Middle East region.

The program, managed by Reef Labs, aims to support, incubate, and invest in promising Middle East-based Web3 developers, teams, and projects building on the Reef Chain.

The Accelerator Program seeks to drive Reef’s vision for growth, making it the de-facto blockchain in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Ideas selected as part of this initiative will benefit from the financial support provided by Reef’s venture partners, along with mentorship, marketing, and business development assistance from Reef Labs. Additionally, these ecosystem projects can leverage Reef’s global community to promote their ideas and achievements to other Web3 developers and blockchain enthusiasts.

Denko Mancheski, CEO of Reef, said about this new initiative, “We’re launching the Reef Accelerator Program with the aim of welcoming the brightest minds in the Web3.0 industry. The Reef team has been working with Web3 developers in the Middle East region for some time now, and is extremely excited by the talent and innovation we witness. Through our recently conceptualized Reef Labs initiative, we will choose the best Middle Eastern projects, empower them to realize their full potential and integrate them into the current Reef ecosystem of NFT, DeFi, Metaverse, and GameFi projects. It will also enable us to drive the growth of the Web3 industry in the Middle East and emerge as this region’s de-facto blockchain”.

The Reef Accelerator Program is poised to solidify Reef Chain’s position as the most developer-friendly blockchain solution for web2 businesses transitioning into the web3 space in the MENA region, ultimately propelling the upcoming wave of innovation and Web3 adoption.

This program amount of $10 million will be part of the $20 million developer support fund that Reef had announced earlier.

UAE based start-up Urbie, is purifying indoor air using blockchain, bio-tech, and crypto. Inspired by NASA, Urbie leverages plant evolution and technology to absorb and neutralize common pollutants found in enclosed areas.

The start-up utilizes biological air purifiers and green wall purifiers with self-watering systems. These are connected to mobile apps so users can not only monitor their indoor air quality but also keep track using blockchain.

Users are able to earn green crypto coins based on the number of hours of purification. These coins can be used to plant trees, build water wells in an effort to curb the negative impact of climate change.

As per the news, Urbie’s goal is to attach a carbon credit to their coins so users can trade their coins in crypto exchanges around the world.

Urbie’s products utilize the natural filtering power of plants and manmade filters using naturally occurring materials to safely filter out harmful chemicals, viruses and bacteria found in homes, corporate offices, and hotels. The team plans to develop additional products in the near future, including green wall purifiers that accommodate larger spaces like corporate offices and hotels.

The founder of Urbie Bilal and Bassel Jouni, are two brothers born and raised in the UAE.

Bilal Jouni states, “As a kid born and raised in the UAE, I’ve always idolized H.H. Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan and witnessed his devotion to transforming the desert into a green haven. He changed the face of the UAE and gave the country an environmental conscience. His legacy still lives on.”

 True Global Ventures 4 Plus (TGV4 Plus) Fund has closed its US$146m Follow on Fund. The Follow on Fund will double down on the TGV4 base fund investments, the likes of Animoca, Sandbox, Forge, Chromaway, CoinHouse, GCEX, and others. Interestingly 40 percent of the Follow on Fund was raised from partners in Middle East, India and Asia. Investment from Middle East partners was 3.4 percent of the 40 percent making their total participation 5 million USD. While portfolio companies such as GCEX, Enjinstarter and IoMob have established operations in Dubai UAE. TGV4 Plus has been partnering with MENA based investors including Cypher Capital and Crypto Oasis among others. 

Valerie Hawley, Affiliate Founding Partner, Middle East True Global Ventures 4 Plus , told LaraOntheBlock, “More than 40% of the Follow on Fund has been raised from partners based in the Middle East, India and Asia, of those 3.4 percent were from Middle East Partners in particular. This just goes to show the increasing importance this region has to play in the Venture Capital space.  Numerous portfolio companies from our base fund, GCEX, Enjinstarter and IoMob, have established operations in Dubai, and we expect many more to do so given the crypto friendly environment the UAE has established with the creation of VARA (Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority).”

The TGV4 plus Follow on Fund  whose 15 General Partners (GP), lead the fund and its Investment Committee, put in more than US$62m of their money into the fund. This is a total GP commitment of over 40% of the total fund size and over US$4m per GP on average. The first capital call of the fund has been fully paid in.

The TGV 4 Plus base fund invested in serial entrepreneurs leading globally ambitious Blockchain start-ups. It covers 20 cities in North America, Europe and Asia. The fund is dedicated to Web3 companies, primarily in late-stage Series A, B and C across 3 verticals: Entertainment & gaming, financial services, infrastructure & data analytics / Artificial Intelligence (AI).

It has invested in some of the leading Web3 companies such as Animoca Brands, The Sandbox, Forge, Chromaway, Coinhouse, GCEX, Chronicled and others. 

The new Follow on Fund will focus on investing a majority of its capital into selected TGV 4 Plus base fund companies. It might also invest in other late stage Web3 deals opportunistically.

“The base fund has been a fantastic success, but we are still only in the starting blocks of Web3. We believe that our early winners will grow even stronger and with the Follow on Fund, we give our partners an opportunity to invest more into these companies” says Fredrik Adolfsson, General Partner.

“After some years of growth, our best portfolio companies are looking to expand even further. We want to help and assist them with the Follow On Fund, as we are ready on the starting blocks, when many growth funds focus on regaining investors’ trust during this period”, says Konrad Wawruch, General Partner.

General Partner Dušan Stojanović adds, “We raised the money in record time in 4 months and we believe this is the best time to invest during market corrections. I would say that it is much easier to see more clearly who the winners are now. This has created a high level of confidence amongst our investors who have seen a large GP Commit and the first call being executed very quickly”.