Under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Saad Hariri, Insure & Match Capital (IM Capital) celebrated the graduation of its business angel groups: Seeders and the Lebanese Women Angel Fund (LWAF), Class of 2017-18. IM Capital is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and delivered by the Middle East and North Africa Investment Initiative (MENA II).
Forty-six Lebanese businessmen and women completed a program that educated them on investment and finance methodologies to support the start-up of Lebanese enterprises.
The event was held at Beirut’s Grand Serail in the presence of the Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Saad Hariri represented by Minister of Telecommunications Mr. Jamal Jarrah, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Edward White, USAID Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson, Berytech Chairman Mr. Maroun Chammas, and IM Capital General Manager Dr. Nicolas Rouhana. In attendance were entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, officials, banks, private sector representatives, universities, incubators, accelerators, key ecosystem stakeholders and media representatives.
The Seeders Masterclass for Business Angels (MBA)
The program was launched in 2016 by IM Capital in an effort to attract and educate individuals to invest in Lebanese startups. The first MBA class graduated in July 2017 with 26 angel investors and investments in 4 startups. Currently, two new MBA programs have been running since Septmber 2017, one of which consists of 23 women-only angels (LWAF) to invest in women-led ventures. Both groups are investing around $1.150M in startups, 50% of which has been provided by the iSME program funded by the World Bank. The groups are provided a guarantee of 50% of their investments by IM Capital reducing their risk and encouraging them to invest in prominent Lebanese startups.
Maroun Chammas, CEO of Berytech stated: “Myself a Seeders Alumni, I am extremely proud to witness the graduation of the new batches. This powerful group and community of business angels is growing and to date IM Capital has graduated 72 certified angel investors, filling a gap in our Lebanese Startup Ecosystem. With the talent of Lebanese entrepreneurs and the support of international donors and institutions, we are able to build an ecosystem that we believe in, yet we still need government led initiatives to set in place basic functionalities in the ministries of Industry, Trade and Telecom.”
Commenting on the event, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Edward White, said: “Today we not only celebrate a graduation, we also celebrate the creation of two new angel investment funds. With as little as a $15,000 investment, Angel Investors are assisting entrepreneurs in local start-up firms to overcome their challenges.”
Speaking at the event, Minister Jarrah expressed Prime Minister Hariri’s appreciation of all the efforts deployed for the protection of the government’s economic, social and political vision aiming at restoring a social balance where women play the active role they deserve in the economic and financial fields, through a participation leading to more growth and progress, in line with the achievement made by Prime Minister Hariri in the Cedar 1 conference and its requirement of creating an ecosystem for future enabling opportunities.
Acknowledging the importance of both programs and the necessity to make the most of them and developing them, Jarrah addressed the graduates saying that “PM Hariri believes in your potential and full contribution and we are confident that your participation will be key to the development of the Lebanese economy.”
Jarrah also thanked USAID for their support in helping developing our economy and our society through empowering and supporting women, and Berytech, Chammas and IM Capital for this valuable project, concluding that this is the first time that things in Lebanon are on the right track towards overcoming the crisis we are facing”.
In turn, IM Capital General Manager, Dr. Nicolas Rouhana explained that so far, the groups committed $800,000 in 5 startups with a potential for follow-on rounds. The Seeders and LWAF Class 2018-19 will launch in September 2018, onboarding new angels. Any individual who is interested in investing in prominent Lebanese startups while becoming a certified investor and belonging to a unique diverse impactful group is encouraged to apply now.
About IM Capital
Insure and Match Capital (IM Capital) provides Matching Capital, Equity Guarantee, and Support Programs to a broad range of qualified early-stage business and investors in Lebanon, reducing the risks associated with investing in early-stage businesses and encouraging increased capitalization. IM Capital is a fully owned subsidiary of Berytech Foundation, which was awarded the management of the USAID MENA Investment Initiative program in Lebanon. For more info, visit http://im-capital.com