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Maniv Mobility becomes first Israeli VC fund to invest in UAE tech startup

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Maniv Mobility said in a statement on Wednesday that it had led a $3.8m seed round investment in the UAE-based scooter startup, called Fenix

By ILANIT CHERNICK

Israeli VC fund Maniv Mobility has revealed that it’s the first Israeli fund to make an investment in a UAE-based technology startup.

This comes hot on the heels of the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE.

Maniv Mobility said in a statement on Wednesday that it had led a $3.8m seed round investment in the UAE-based scooter startup, called Fenix, which is a new micro-mobility venture focused on the Middle East. 

The startup focuses on custom-made personal light electric vehicles in hopes of making cities easier to navigate and more enjoyable to explore.

“It marks the first investment by an Israeli venture capital fund in a UAE-based tech startup since the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE and the largest pre-launch funding round in the history of the UAE tech ecosystem,” Maniv Mobility said.

Commenting on this investment, the venture funds founder and managing partner Michael Granoff said that “the challenges and opportunities of mobility cross all borders.”
With this addition, Maniv Mobility now has portfolio companies in six countries. 

“When it comes to finding safe, affordable, and clean ways of moving people around cities, the same solution sets apply to Tel Aviv, London – or Abu Dhabi,” Granoff pointed out, adding that the VC is “delighted to be the first Israeli VC to invest in a UAE-based tech company.”

For Fenix co-founder IQ Sayed, collaborating with Maniv Mobility, as well as this historic seed investment, will provide the resources and expertise for Fenix to build its technology innovations “that best serves the mobility needs of the people and city partners in our region.”

Adding to this Fenix CEO and co-founder Jaideep Dhanoa explained that when they started Fenix, they sought the most “value-adding investors that could support our mission of unleashing urban potential and propelling communities forward.”
“As a result of the new friendship that has emerged since the normalization between the UAE and Israel, we were grateful to meet the team at Maniv Mobility and now benefit from working with some of the most talented and experienced global investors and tech entrepreneurs in the mobility space,” Dhanoa said. “It is no secret that Israeli mobility companies have

enjoyed global success.”

Waze and Mobileye, he emphasized, “are just the tip of the iceberg.” 

“We hope this investment is just the start of a cross-pollination of talent, capital and innovation between the nations that can only be an accelerant in the development of a true middle-eastern tech ecosystem that will greatly benefit the region and its people at large,” Dhanoa said.

Granoff made it clear that Maniv Mobility sees major potential in the Gulf Cooperation Council region “as a new market for micro-mobility and we were incredibly impressed by the team at Fenix and their drive to change the mobility future across the region.” 

“At Maniv Mobility, we eat, breathe and sleep mobility, so we are able to support the team as they bring their service to market and rapidly expand across the Middle East,” he concluded. 

In lieu of the investment, Granoff will join the board of Fenix. Granoff has been involved in transportation technology for nearly 20 years and serves on the board of Securing America’s Future Energy, a Washington, DC-based policy and advocacy organization he helped establish in 2004. 

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