First venture capital firm in Oman starts operation

Business Monday 09/May/2016 11:06 AM
By: Times News Service
First venture capital firm in Oman starts operation

Muscat: Oman's first equity-based venture capital firm, Innovation Development Oman Holding SAOC (IDO), was officially launched here on Monday.
Four agencies - State General Reserve Fund, Oman Oil Company, The Research Council and Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) - joined together to establish the new venture capital firm.
According to a top level official, IDO is here to fill the gap of a technology and innovation-based venture capital fund in Oman with an initial capital of OMR50 million.
“In Oman, there is wealth of resources available; there are research programmes, private equity. But technology and innovation focused venture capital has not been available in the Sultanate, so this is the gap we are going to fill,” Constantine Demetriou, managing director of IDO, told Times of Oman.
“Our mission is to make venture capital investment in companies and start-ups that have innovations, technologies at the core,” he added.
The IDO, which will invest equity capital in world class start-ups, will be used to invest and nurture start-ups that will benefit the broader Omani economy.
It will use its initial capital to invest in start-ups and also to attract international companies that will utilise the Sultanate’s natural and human capital and benefit Oman directly with knowledge transfer and development.
Speaking about the investment criteria of IDO, the managing director said; “we are looking for an investment of OMR400,000 to OMR5,000,000.”
The IDO is planning to invest in the fields like energy, technology, healthcare, food, industries and services.
He also asserted that IDO is not looking to invest in any projects without technology and innovations.
“We are not going to finance any project in the form of debt, any project without an IP,” Demetriou said.
“Any business looking for investment, which fits the investment criteria of IDO, can apply directly on the IDO website:,” he added.
“IDO will capitalise on its highly experienced partners to provide guidance, experience, market knowledge, business development, and staged funding through the venture development and growth stages until maturity,” he continued.
According to him, there are five stages for the investment process of IDO and it will choose a small number of companies over certain period of time for investment.
Deal screening, meeting the management, due diligence stage, investment approval and finalisation are the five different stages of IDO.
“In the first stage, the IDO team will analyse the initial information submitted and make a decision on whether to proceed or not,” he explained.
“During the second stage, the IDO team will meet the management of the company and in the third, a confidential agreement will be signed with IDO and will be followed by detailed due diligence questions,” he said.
“A term sheet will be signed and together with the supporting documentation will be submitted to the investment committee in the fourth stage,” he continued.
Speaking about the final stage of the investment process, he said; “Once legally binding documentation has been initiated, it will be submitted to the BoD for approval and after this the investment will be executed.”
According to Abdulsalam bin Mohammed Al Murshidi, chief executive officer of SGRF, IDO will put Oman on the map of international technology investment.
“IDO will put Oman on the map of international technology investment, creating benefits in terms of greater international interest in the Omani economy,” he said.
“IDO will represent the technological investment arm of the government and take part in developing innovative start-ups in accordance with an integrated system combining everything such companies need starting from the concept stage to the application, and then to the stage of commercialisation,” he added.
They also confirmed that IDO will act as a late stage commercialisation vehicle for start-up companies and will assist them with the expansion of their business within the region and globally.
According to them, the venture capital investments are key to assist start-ups with their growth and development.