MSA Novo (MSA), a Singapore-based multi-stage global venture capital (VC) fund that invests in emerging markets, and one of the foremost banks to be established in Iraq have joined forces to establish Iraq’s first independent technology fund. MSA Novo (MSA) invests in emerging markets around the world. YAG Capital, a company located in London that locates specialized venture capital funds and early-stage direct venture capital projects that meet certain investor profiles, has been selected to play the role of senior adviser in this collaboration.
The newly established fund’s primary objective is to make investments in the entire technology ecosystem in Iraq; however, it will place its primary emphasis on the allocation of capital in the field of fintech, particularly in areas such as core logistics and payments infrastructure, consumer technology platforms, and enterprise enablers. Consequently, investments will not be limited to startups; rather, they will play a direct role in the construction of businesses that are able to combine the technical capabilities and global best practices that have been aggregated by MSA with the local market knowledge and execution capabilities that have been developed by IIB. In a nutshell, it is anticipated that the investments made by the fund would play a pivotal role in shaping the future of commerce, financial services, government administration, and the provision of healthcare in Iraq.
According to Ahmed Walid Ahmed, Chairman of IIB, “By working together on this project to promote local firms, we will improve the economy, generate jobs, drive innovation, and add value to the SME sector, which is the backbone of the local economy.” “We are in a good position to understand the issues that local entrepreneurs experience in the unstable market, and we will guide, assist, and generate additional value to assure the success of their projects,” Ben Harburg, Managing Partner at MSA, shared the following statement on the company’s behalf: “We are excited to partner with IIB as we seek to utilize our global experience, lens, and technology to identify and build the leading technology companies to address the highly attractive Iraqi market.” 
This program not only seeks to generate wealth for the investors in the IIB and the shareholders of the IIB, but it also intends to encourage greater innovation in Iraq’s technological environment. This project strives to provide the groundwork for the long-term economic and social success of Iraq by providing financial support, building and mentoring the next generation of Iraqi business leaders, and so laying the framework for the future generation of Iraqi business leaders. According to Yazen Abu Gulal, Chairman of YAG Capital, “this alliance will offer several practical advantages for the Iraqi digital economy, including higher efficiency, better productivity, reduced costs, improved communication, and transparency.”
Despite having a young, tech-savvy, and well-educated consumer base with relatively high purchasing power, Iraq’s population has struggled due to the challenges imposed by broken or outdated infrastructure as well as fragmented supply chains in the brick-and-mortar ecosystem. This has caused the brick-and-mortar ecosystem to suffer. It is anticipated that additional funds would be made available for investment into the digital infrastructure of Iraq following the introduction of this new fund by IIB and MSA, which is reported to be the first of its type in the nation. Already, the fund has established itself as an active investor by helping to co-lead the funding round for what is known as Iraq’s first super app, Baly. This event, which took place in January 2022, was also the occasion of the largest funding round that the country has ever seen in the technology sector.