The fund would focus on strategic direct investments in early-to-late stage startups across the world, but at least half the capital would be allocated to firms in the MENA region.

Ankush is a journalist hailing from India, who has edited and written for publications in his home country, the UAE, US, and UK. Previously the editor of Gulf Business in Dubai and of Entrepreneur in India, Ankush is a keen student of economics, a follower of Manchester United since 1996 and a disciple of Archer.

Crescent Enterprises, the Sharjah-based multinational conglomerate, has announced the launch of a new venture capital arm that could invest up to $150 million in emerging businesses over the coming three years.

According to CEO Badr Jafar, the fund would focus on strategic direct investments in early-to-late stage startups across the world, but at least half the capital would be allocated to firms in the MENA region.

Jafar also revealed that Crescent Enterprises had been active in venture capital in the recent past away from the headlines and that it had made several investments in the last six months alone.

These included a Silicon Valley-based drone company for the industrial sector and robotic surgery technologies and an e-commerce platform for fisheries in India.

“We also seeded entrepreneur graduates from the American University of Sharjah who are developing an artificial intelligence project management system,” he added.

On starting a venture capital fund in the current economic conditions, Hafar reasoned that the regional private sector is at a juncture where it needs to drive innovation and growth, but also address the region’s many social, economic and environmental challenges.

“It is clear to us that alongside our existing businesses, corporate venture capital is a powerful way to achieve this, and therefore it is the right time to formalize this rapidly growing side of our business.”

Crescent Enterprises boasts of diversified global operations in various market sectors such as ports and logistics, power and engineering, business aviation, and healthcare.