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UAE-Based Shorooq Partners Makes First Investment In Türkiye By Leading A US$5 Million Seed Round In Traveltech Startup Roamless Mahmoud Adi, Founding Partner of Shorooq Partners, said in a statement that Roamless is "a company poised to disrupt the traveltech industry."

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The Roamless team

Shorooq Partners, the UAE-based alternative investment manager with interests spanning the MENA region, has made its entry into the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Türkiye by leading a US$5 million seed round in the traveltech startup, Roamless.

The seed round also saw the participation of venture capital firms like Revo Capital, Paribu Ventures, and Finberg, all based out of Türkiye, as well as Luxembourg-based DeBa Ventures.

Launched in 2023, Roamless is an eSIM provider that aims to "revolutionize the landscape of travel connectivity." The US-based company now boasts of a user base approaching 100,000, with it offering seamless travel internet in 69 countries (soon 150+) around the world, as well as worldwide international calling experiences.

This investment is in line with Shorooq Partners' extensive sectoral expertise in fintech, platforms, software, gaming, and Web3.0, as it is known for championing visionary startups, propelling them towards unparalleled success.

Commenting on the investment, Mahmoud Adi, Founding Partner of Shorooq Partners, said in a statement that Roamless is "a company poised to disrupt the traveltech industry." He added, "Roamless's innovative approach to connectivity aligns with our vision of fostering transformative ventures that redefine traditional paradigms. This investment not only reflects our confidence in Roamless's potential, but also underscores our commitment to nurturing the burgeoning tech ecosystem in Türkiye."

For his part, Emre Demirel, co-founder and CEO of Roamless, said, "We are grateful for the support of Shorooq Partners and our other investors, whose confidence underscores the strength of our team, and our relentless pursuit of innovation. With this investment, we are poised to accelerate our mission of spearheading a digital transformation in the telecom industry, ushering in a new era of seamless connectivity for travelers worldwide."

Revo Capital -reportedly the largest VC firm in Türkiye- also participated in Roamless' seed round. Its Founding Partner and Managing Director, Cenk Bayrakdar, said "The relatively new eSIM technology has caught our attention due to its rapid growth potential driven by increasing customer awareness, and the multitude of opportunities within the market. We trust in the high motivation and competence of the founding team with expertise in telecommunications and software, and we are excited to support their growth journey."

Utku Dorduncu, Director at Paribu Ventures, added, "At Paribu Ventures, we constantly try to identify the next trends and invest in strong teams developing disruptive technologies not only in the blockchain space, but also in different verticals. Roamless has been a great fit with its exceptionally strong founding team, advanced back-end infrastructure, and highly differentiated and disruptive eSIM product."

Related: "We Got Funded!" Hong Kong-Headquartered Mantra Raises US$11 Million In A Funding Round Led By Shorooq Partners

Mahmoud Adi, Founding Partner, Shorooq Partners. Image courtesy Shorooq Partners.

While this is Shorooq Partners' first investment in Türkiye, Adi told Entrepreneur Middle East that the firm now plans to build on its presence in the country. "Türkiye boasts a vibrant and rapidly growing tech ecosystem with a strong talent pool and entrepreneurial spirit," Adi said. "The country's strategic location, bridging Europe and Asia, offers a unique advantage for startups aiming to scale internationally. Plus, the government's proactive support for the tech sector, coupled with a dynamic startup environment, aligns well with our Shorooq Partners investment philosophy of nurturing innovative ventures. We thus plan to deepen our involvement by establishing local partnerships, fostering relationships with key stakeholders, and potentially setting up a dedicated office to better serve and support Türkiye's startups."

When asked to compare the entrepreneurial ecosystems of the MENA and Türkiye, Adi noted that both of them share a high level of innovation and entrepreneurial drive, with a strong focus on leveraging technology to solve real-world problems. "However, Turkiye's ecosystem has seen far more exits in certain tech verticals, particularly in fintech, e-commerce, and gaming, that created a 'mafia' of other successful startups and angel investors, while the MENA region has seen significant growth in sectors like fintech, logistics, and agritech," he added.

Now, given that Shorooq Partners has stamped its presence in Türkiye, one can expect entrepreneurs from the country to vie for the VC firm's attention. To them, Adi had a few pieces of advice to share. "Entrepreneurs should focus on demonstrating a clear problem-solution fit, and articulate how their product or service addresses a significant market need," he said. "A winning pitch includes a compelling narrative, showcasing not only the innovation, but also the team's capability and track record. It's crucial to highlight scalability and potential for regional or global expansion. In addition, entrepreneurs should emphasize their unique value proposition, market traction, and how their vision aligns with Shorooq Partners' mission to foster transformative ventures. Showing a deep understanding of market dynamics and competitive landscape will also help them stand out."

Related: Making Waves: Hande Çilingir, Co-Founder And CEO, Insider

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

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.  

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