Dubai tech investor Jabbar Internet has launched a new fintech company in London called Kambio Ventures, which is developing a platform designed to facilitate funding for startups using blockchain and digital tokens.
Jabbar’s founders, Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury, are behind a number of regional tech companies, including co-founding the pioneering Arabic internet portal Maktoob and playing a role in launching the e-commerce platform Souq.com, which was snapped up by Amazon last year for $580 million.
Jabbar's team plans to develop a regulated financial exchange built with blockchain, where entrepreneurs will be able to access tokenised, asset-backed securities from investors. The company's online marketplace will feature primary and secondary exchanges for investors, entrepreneurs and institutions, and will allow for “transparent, immutable and fair transactions with instant execution.”
With Kambio Ventures, Toukan and company are looking to disrupt startup fundraising and investing. "The VC investment process in my opinion is outdated and complex and it can take many years to get liquidity and reinvest the money in new startups," said Toukan, in an email to Forbes Middle East. It's a problem he's witnessed firsthand across many years investing in early-stage startups. "Blockchain technology gave us the solution that allows us to build our platform on a global, secure and transparent technology that removes intermediaries and simplifies the investment process, and allows for liquidity by creating security tokens that can be traded on our exchange," says Toukan.
The company is based in London, thanks to its status as a global financial hub, but Toukan also reports they plan to be active in Dubai as well. The Kambio platform is expected to launch in the summer of 2019, following regulatory approvals. Toukan and Khoury will serve as founders of the new fintech firm along with another Jabbar Internet partner, Louay Aldoory. The amount invested into their new firm is currently unknown.
They presumably hope Kambio Ventures can follow in the footsteps of other Jabbar Internet portfolio companies—in addition to Souq, the firm has enjoyed the exits of Payfort, Cashu and Cobone, and has invested in companies such as ArabiaWeather. Founded in 2009 following the sale of Maktoob to Yahoo, Jabbar Internet focuses on tech investments mainly in the Middle East and North Africa.
Toukan and Khoury have worked together closely since 1995 and have jointly founded, incubated and invested in dozens of startups.