Beirut, 25 February 2015 – The launch and signature ceremony of Berytech Fund II was held on the 25th of February 2015 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Beirut, in the presence of senior representatives from Banque du Liban, senior management of major banks in Lebanon, the president of the Association of Banks, Dr. François Bassil, members of the press, in addition to Dr. Wajdi Najem, the Vice-Rector of the Université Saint-Joseph, the institution at the origin of the Berytech initiative.
The ceremony was hosted by Berytech and its Chairman, Mr. Maroun Chammas. With commitments of over USD50 million, the fund is in full compliance with Intermediate Circular 331, an initiative by Banque du Liban that allows Lebanese banks and financial institutions to invest in Lebanese startups in the knowledge economy and to help them grow their businesses, with 75% of the banks’ investments guaranteed by Banque du Liban. “We are proud to be launching this new initiative to support the Lebanese knowledge economy, which Berytech has been specifically created to do”, said Mr. Maroun Chammas. Mr. Sami Beydoun, Vice-Chairman of Berytech Fund II and in charge of corporate governance, added “We remain strongly confident in the Lebanese knowledge economy, building on our 6 years experience with Berytech Fund I, where we have witnessed continuous growth in demand for funding and support from entrepreneurs”.
The fund comes following the extensive experience gained by Berytech in the successful building, promotion and management of an ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurial companies over many years. The fund has received its USD50+ million commitments from 19 major banks and financial institutions, namely BLOM Group, Banque Libano-Française, Bank Audi, Byblos Bank, Société Générale de Banque au Liban, Bank of Beirut, Fransabank, BankMed, Bank of Beirut & Arab Countries, BLC Bank, Al Mawarid Bank, CSC Bank, First National Bank, Jammal Trust Bank, Lebanon & Gulf Bank, Middle East & Africa Bank, Credit Libanais Investment Bank and Near East Commercial Bank. Paul Chucrallah, the Managing Director of Berytech Fund Management, the fund’s managing company, said “this signature ceremony crowns two years of continuous efforts; we are very proud to have obtained the trust of such a great group of investors”.
The fund’s objective is to invest in small and medium-sized unlisted Lebanese enterprises with high growth potential, and active in creative industries with high human value-added. These enterprises will mainly be maturing start-ups, chiefly in the wider Information & Communications Technology and Digital Content space.
The fund aims to contribute to the continuous development of the innovation ecosystem in Lebanon, and will deploy, together with its founders and sponsors, every effort to achieve this goal. It will rely strongly on its investment committee to further enhance its capabilities. Its current four independent members, Dr. Jihad Azour, Dr. Nasser Saidi, Mr. Georges Nazi and Mr. Constantin Salameh bring strength, knowledge and great credibility to the investment decision making process.
During the press conference, Mr. Chammas declared that the first Investment Committee meeting had already taken place and that a number of investments would be announced in the coming weeks.
Berytech Fund II and Berytech Fund Management offices are in the Berytech Technology & Health building, Damascus Road, the National Museum area (www.berytechfund.org, +961 1 612500).