Deutsche Bank invests in UAE-based Interactive

Published February 25th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

As an international endorsement of the UAE's information technology industry, Germany's Deutsche Bank has announced a strategic investment in Interactive Limited, a regional Internet technology company based in Dubai Internet City (DIC). 


The three million dollar investment by one of the world's premier financial institutions marks the second major round of funding for the rapidly expanding company, Interactive Limited. The previous financing came from Armada International Limited, a technology fund backed by Deutsche Bank, which commissioned its London-based Internet consultancy Armada Partners to work closely with Interactive going forward. The new money will be used to develop a portfolio of Internet- and technology- related businesses in the region. 


Michael Philipp, a member of Deutsche Bank's Global Management Board, commented that investing in the infrastructure of the region represents an important element in the bank's strategic expansion plans.  


He added that "We have chosen Interactive to extend our network in the Middle East because it is an established company with a proven track record extending back to some of the earliest Internet applications in the region. Equally important, it is led by a managerial team that shares our entrepreneurial vision."  


Ziad Tassabehji, founder and CEO of Interactive Limited, said that Deutsche Bank's support will help further his company's expansion. Tassabehji pointed out that the deal with Deutsche Bank comes at a time of much uncertainty in the global IT markets. With signs of a slowing economy in the US, investors have been more discerning about the deals they make, and are focusing on investments with demonstrable short-term cash flow. Despite difficulties of attracting large-scale venture capital for dot-coms in emerging digital markets, he adds "The local venture capital model didn't work for us. We wanted to work with someone who has the same vision".  


Given the rapid growth of the IT industry in the Middle East, the quest to secure venture capital and large-scale funding is becoming increasingly competitive as businesses proliferate. According to a company press release, Interactive has pursued a route of securing seed funding and entering into partnerships with "smart money". This, the company hopes, will draw Institutional VCs from Europe and the US — more likely to be interested in later stage investment opportunities when businesses have proven their model and viability. 


Interactive Limited, the first company to move into Dubai Internet City, has been developing e-commerce application in the UAE since early 1996. It is also one of the first companies in the UAE to introduce stock options for its employees. The company client base includes the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Municipality, National Bank of Dubai, BP Amoco, Emirates Bank International, and the Al Futtaim Group. 


The Deutsche Bank Group, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, is the world's largest financial services group with total assets exceeding €800 billion. The Group is represented in 68 countries and employs more than 90,000 people. Deutsche Asset Management has €456 billion under management. — (Albawaba-MEBG)

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