from the May 2011 issue

Palestinians get their first technology venture fund

An Israeli resident who has been backing that country's superior high tech development for nearly two decades has now co-launched a Palestinian venture capital fund called Sadara. Yadin Kauffman and Saed Nashef officially inaugurated the new fund at an event attended by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salem Fayyad.

Financed by heavyweight capitalists such as Google, Cisco Systems, AOL founder Steve Case, the George Soros Economic Development Fund, and the European Investment Bank, this launch heralds a significant milestone for Palestinian innovators. Although the fund is designed to develop software companies and startups, we're hoping for a much-needed green thrust.

$28 out of the planned $50 million has already been raised to fund 12 Palestinian start up companies, We've just begun operations, and we prefer to wait until we have a complete picture about the opportunities in the sector," he said.

Sadara's co-founder Yadin Kauffman, a lawyer from New York who now makes his home in Israel, began working with Athena Venture Partners in 1987 and currently works with Veritas Venture Partners.

According to the Society of Kauffman Fellows, the Middle East Venture Capital Fund is being established to make investments in export-oriented, high-growth software companies and start ups originating in the Palestinian Territories.

Saed Nashef is the founder and CTO of Equiom, Inc., a 70-person software consultancy and project outsourcing firm with operations in Washington and Colorado, and founder and Managing Director of Equiom-MENA, which provides offshore software outsourcing services from the West Bank to companies in the US and Europe.

Combined with the scars of political unrest, the wrath of climate change is sure to increasingly unlash its fury on the Palestinian people. Water, food, power, pollution, and waste management are just a small selection of environmental challenges they face. This new fund has the power to meet those problems head on, starting with job creation.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report May 2011

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