“Money and meaning, profit and purpose; how do we help drive growth in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to help solve wider questions in the region… we enable the entrepreneur to seize their economic destiny”

~Khaled Talhouni

Fares Ghandour, Partner at Wamda Capital & Khaled Talhouni, Managing Partner at Wamda Capital sat down with us to discuss their investment ethos and the various initiatives Wamda is undertaking.

Khaled comes from a career in private equity and venture capital professional with significant experience in value creation and realization. He has built unique experience in the MENA region originating, appraising, structuring, negotiating and executing private equity investments and venture capital transactions in the TMT space; with a particular focus on digital, gaming, e-commerce, publishing, animation, TV production and social media. He has developed a strong skill base in strategy, business plan development, financial modeling, deal structuring, KPI development, governance and reporting mechanisms.

Fares also serves as Portfolio Manager at MENA Venture Investments (MVI), the region’s largest seed-stage fund. Previously he ran the region’s flagship mentorship event, Mix N’ Mentor. He has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Southern California.

They shared their views on the MENA startup ecosystem, their group’s active initiatives and investment philosophy and a whole lot more, so we hope you enjoy this episode of Streams of Progress.

Enjoy the show!

Posted on June 19, 2018

Show Notes:

  • 01:00- Fares’ background from music to international relations.

  • 02:45 – MENA venture investments

  • 04:15 – Khaled’s background at Duke University

  • 08:45 – Setting up Wamda’s first institutional fund.

  • 12:00 – The Wamda name

  • 12:45 – Wamda’s purpose and mission, “enabling the entrepreneur seize their economic destiny”

  • 14:30 – Wamda as a platform

  • 17:00 – How Wamda Capital differentiates its offering from traditional venture capitalists

  • 23:00 – Identifying good founding/managing teams.

  • 27:00 – Engaging in different stakeholders in the wider community.

  • 28:30 – How Wamda Capital’s team is evolving as the firm grows.

  • 33:30 – How investment decision making is done at Wamda Capital.

  • 35:00 – Wamda’s corporate innovation engagements to solve their problems by supporting startups.

  • 38:30 – The investment ethos and emerging themes that they develop theses around.

  • 43:30 – Wamda Capital’s typical investment size and rounds.

  • 45:15 – Growing pipeline of startups they see.

  • 45:45 – The reasons they turn away startups.

  • 49:15 – Typical traits they look for in a founding team.

  • 51:30 – Advice for founders looking to raise funds.

  • 54:30 – Fares’ current interest in the crypto community.

  • 55:45 – Khaled’s admiration for Emily Dickinson’s pursuit of the counter-intuitive approach.

  • 57:15 – Khaled’s typical day at Wamda Capital.

  • 58:45 – Fares’ typical day working with various Wamda initiatives.

  • 59:45 – Fares’ hobbies from playing guitar to exercise activities.

  • 60:00 – Khaled’s transition from a sedentary lifestyle to a quite active one.

  • 60:30 – Fares reveals Khaled’s musical talent.

  • 62:00 – Khaled’s favorite podcasts to listen to based on categories.

  • 63:30 – Fares’ podcast recommendations from startup industry favorites to crypto learnings.

  • 65:45 – The ideas of abundance and the end of scarcity.

  • 70:30 – Message to all the drivers in Dubai.

  • 72:00 – Fares’ moonshot for a more eco-friendly city initiative.

  • 72:30 – Khaled’s thoughts on seeing more green spaces for the public.

  • 74:00 – Fares’ youthful ambitions to pursue a career in music composition.

  • 75:15 – What defines happiness and contentment.

  • 76:30 – “How do you define your journey in a way that everyday is another step towards that feeling of contentment”

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