Fueling Growth: UAE's SHUAA Capital Invests In Lebanon-Headquartered Music Streaming Platform Anghami
While the size of the investment wasn't disclosed, SHUAA Capital CEO Jassim Al Seddiqi told Entrepreneur Middle East that the deal with Anghami was in line with the entity's investment criteria.
Dubai-headquartered asset management and investment banking platform SHUAA Capital announced in January that its managed funds division has invested in the Beirut-based music streaming service, Anghami, as part of the latter’s newest funding round.
While the size of the investment wasn’t disclosed, SHUAA Capital CEO Jassim Al Seddiqi told Entrepreneur Middle East that the deal with Anghami was in line with the entity’s investment criteria.
“For us at SHUAA Capital, what counts is the case for significant value creation when it comes to our investment decisions,” Al Seddiqi said. “And in that context, Anghami is an ideal match for our investment criteria for two reasons.”
“Firstly, it is a great combination of an excellent management team that has built up an important streaming service provider for the Middle East region, which has gone to become one of the largest and most successful startups with a strong potential for further growth,” he explained. “Secondly, our investment in Anghami is a continuation of the technology push we initiated last year, which includes an increased focus on technology investments.”
Jassim Al Seddiqi, CEO, SHUAA Capital. Source: SHUAA Capital
Founded in 2012 by Elie Habib and Eddy Maroun, Anghami is the leading music platform in the MENA, with its catalog (the largest in the region) comprising of more than 50 million songs available for more than 70 million users. The company had last raised funds in 2016, and CEO Habib said that its new round is meant to fuel its further growth and boost its profitablity as a business.
“We are thankful to all the investors that believed in our vision since inception in 2012,” Habib told Entrepreneur Middle East, commenting on the latest fundraise. “Obviously without the hard work of our team and investment from the original VCs, we wouldn’t have gotten that far.”
“However, we have been on the lookout for an investor that can help us move to Chapter 2, a growth chapter where we can boost our vision and bold dreams,” Habib added. “Shuaa and Jassim Al Seddiqi represented exactly that. From our original meeting, we knew that we have now a partner who believes in us, and who can help us fuel the path we are seeking. Nothing beats an investor that can challenge you to execute and promise to be next to you.”
Meanwhile, Al Seddiqi said that his firm’s investment in Anghami portends the kind of enterprises and entrepreneurs that it is looking to support in the future. “As a fund manager, we are eager to invest in startups where we feel we can come in at the right time, and create more value for our investors as well as support the growth aspirations of the startup– similar to what we have done with our investment in Anghami,” he said.
When asked if he had any tips for startups looking to follow Anghami’s lead and attempt to raise funds amid our current circumstances, Habib revealed that he and his team started on the fundraising process just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “We started our fundraise just as the COVID-19 crisis started, and I definitely can say that, depending on what stage an entrepreneur is at, fundraising amid this period can be an opportunity or a nightmare,” he said. “While raising money with virtual meetings is harder, it also offers an opportunity to pitch to more investors.”
As such, in terms of advice for entrepreneurs, Habib listed three main pointers. “Practice the art of storytelling,” he said. “Explain what makes your business compelling now- telling investors how you weathered 2020 is essential.” The CEO also cautioned entrepreneurs from falling into ego traps when pitching their companies- as he put it: “It’s always about the team, not about the founder. Finally, Habib says that one must learn to not get disheartened by rejection in such scenarios. “We all learn more from failures than from successes,” he pointed out. “Listen to the investors and adapt your pitch; you’ll most likely learn a lot, and you can get better faster.”
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.