January 24, 2024

Gulf money is flooding into European startups — these are the most active investors

As investments from the Gulf grow in Europe, Sifted looks at the investors that are closing the most deals

DUBAI, UAE - NOVEMBER 2: Dubai Marina. UAE. November 2, 2013. Dubai was the fastest developing city in the world between 2002 and 2008.

European founders looking for fresh capital often chase deep-pocketed US investors — but recent years have seen them increasingly turning their attention to the other side of the globe.

Gulf countries, which have plenty of capital lying in sovereign wealth funds and corporate VCs, are becoming attractive investors for startups and scaleups (and VCs) on the continent. 

In 2023, total investment from Gulf countries in European startups amounted to $3bn, according to Dealroom data — about 5% of total funding raised in the region. That’s almost a 5x jump from 2018, when the same countries invested just $627m in Europe.


It’s a welcome injection of cash, especially for growth-stage companies struggling to find well-endowed investors closer to home: over two-thirds of the capital invested by the Gulf in 2023 concerned funding rounds over $100m.

Looking at investments from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sifted has listed the most active Gulf investors in Europe in the past two years, based on the number of funding rounds they participated in.

1/ Aramco Ventures

HQ: Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Latest fund: Aramco announced a $1.5bn sustainability fund in 2022. More recently, the oil and gas company committed an additional $4bn to its VC branch, bringing total investment capabilities to $7bn by 2027.

Deal count in Europe in the past 2 years: 17

Notable investments: Carbon Clean Solutions, ANYbotics

Aramco Ventures is the venture capital arm of the state-owned Saudi Arabian oil and gas giant Aramco. It invests from early to growth stages in businesses that have strategic value for the company. In practice, investments are spread across three pots: an environment-focused sustainability fund; a digital and industrial fund; and a fund called Prosperity7, which targets new technologies in sectors outside of energy.

2/ Mubadala Capital

HQ: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Latest fund: Last October, Mubadala closed its second Brazil-focused fund at $710m.

Deal count in Europe in the past 2 years: 13

Notable investments: Klarna, TIER, Juni

Mubadala Capital is a subsidiary of the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, whose sole shareholder is the Government of Abu Dhabi. It invests across several asset classes and geographies, including private equity, VC and alternative solutions. On the VC side of things, Mubadala Capital invests globally into early-stage and early-growth companies across all sectors, with a focus on healthcare.

3/ Ventura Capital

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Latest fund: Ventura closed a $150m fund in January 2022.

Deal count in Europe in the past 2 years: 9

Notable investments: Coursera, Spotify

Split between Dubai, London and Tokyo, VC firm Ventura Capital has an international base of limited partners (LPs) made up of institutional investors and family offices. It’s sector-agnostic and invests in companies at growth stage and all the way to public offering.

4/ Qatar Investment Authority

HQ: Doha, Qatar

Latest fund: Undisclosed

Deal count in Europe in the past 2 years: 6

Notable investments: Infarm, Celonis, 

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) is the sovereign wealth fund of the state of Qatar. It was set up to diversify the country’s economy and invests across different assets — such as private and public equity, infrastructure and real estate — but also sectors and geographies. The fund’s portfolio includes investments in tech startups spanning healthcare, consumer and industry.

5/ MetaVision Dubai

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Latest fund: Raised in 2022, undisclosed size.

Deal count in Europe in the past 2 years: 6

Notable investments: Kinetix, Ngrave, Cathedral Studios

MetaVision is a new VC fund that targets seed to Series A startups focusing on the metaverse and Web3. It raised its first fund — of an undisclosed size — in 2022 and writes tickets of up to $100k.

6/ Investcorp

HQ: Manama, Bahrain

Latest fund: It was reported last year that Investcorp had raised a $750m climate fund with anchor investing from Bahrain sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat Holding Co.

Deal count in Europe in the past 2 years: 6

Notable investments: Terra Quantum, TruKKer, Fleetmatics

Investcorp is a long-established investor with various strategies spanning private equity, real estate, infrastructure and credit management. Within private equity, it backs companies globally and has a team dedicated to growing European tech businesses. It focuses on mid-sized B2B businesses that have at least $10m in revenue.


7/ Chimera Capital

HQ: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Latest fund: In 2022, Chimera announced it had closed its second VC fund at $10bn, which is co-managed with US asset manager Alpha Wave Global. More recently, it set up a subsidiary called Lunate to manage a $50bn fund that will include VC investments.

Deal count in Europe in the past 2 years: 4

Notable investments: CMR Surgical, Neat Burger

Chimera Capital is an investment firm that is part of a business conglomerate held by Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE’s national security adviser and a prominent member of the royal family. It invests worldwide from Series B onwards and is sector-agnostic.

Daphné Leprince-Ringuet

Daphné Leprince-Ringuet is a reporter for Sifted based in Paris and covering French tech. You can find her on X and LinkedIn