Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), is set to launch its first venture capital (VC) Fund of Funds that will invest at least $1 billion to support local and regional start-ups and foster innovation in the Gulf state.

The capital earmarked for the programme will be invested in international and regional venture capital funds, with a priority focus on the tech sector, including fintech, edtech and healthcare, according to a statement.

“QIA is launching this programme to help ensure that innovative businesses can readily access capital and support from VC funds, enabling them to scale operations and expand market presence in Qatar, across the GCC, and ultimately onto the international stage,” said Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QIA.

He noted that the Gulf state currently has no pool of capital dedicated to support businesses that are past seed funding and are ready for Series A to Series C investment rounds.

The programme will primarily invest indirectly via other VC funds but will be able to make targeted co-investments with the participating funds.

“The Fund of Funds programme will only invest in VC funds and not invest in private equity, debt, or any other funds.”

It will aim to attract major international VC funds and entrepreneurs both to Qatar and the wider GCC region.

Part of the goal is to generate market-level commercial returns in line with QIA’s mandate to secure sustainable long-term returns.

At the same time, it will also support the sustainable development of a vibrant VC and start-up ecosystem in line with Qatar’s National Development strategy, which looks to expand the number of start-ups and availability of VC funding in the local market.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)