The capital requirement naturally depends on the size of the company: the more employees a company has, the greater the financing problem. A quarter of German start-ups no longer expect to find a suitable domestic investor and are therefore thinking about relocating abroad. They hope for better financing conditions there and therefore take higher risks. Sometimes, however, you don't have to go to foreign venture capital, but it comes to you.
The Dubai-based Aras Group DWC LLC, for example, specialises in the uncomplicated provision of foreign venture capital. This globally networked group of companies is mainly active in the areas of investments, equity investments, management consultancy and real estate financing. In a self-description it says: „We are business funding experts, assisting companies to raise the necessary capital they require to facilitate future plans and growth for the company. We have access to multiple different lenders in a range of different lending markets, enabling us to source the most competitive solutions for your business. Not only will we strive to source the most competitive offers, but we can advise you on the best product for your business moving forward.“
Chief Executive Officer Ashraf Mahmud wants to build cultural bridges between the Orient and the Occident with customer-specific project financing, but of course he also wants to earn money. He is convinced that the granting of venture capital benefits both the donors and the borrowers. At the beginning of 2019, a spokesman from Mahmud initially announced the intensification of real estate investments in the home region and named an investment volume in the high three-digit million range. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, a large hotel is to be converted into a luxury retirement home for the sum of around 200 million US dollars and a residential tower with 100 residential units is also to be built.
But the CEO's gaze is also directed towards Europe. „With its commitment, the Aras Group wants to offer financing alternatives to traditional bank loans everywhere“, he said. Ashraf Mahmud points out that his group's financing offers include subordinated loans, silent partnerships and the provision of venture capital for individual project financing and to support innovative but underfinanced start-ups. In most cases, the value of the risk loans granted is in the two to three-digit million range, even though Aras is not a bank but an investor. Prior to the provision of the venture capital, the customer concludes the financing agreement directly with the Aras Group and not with the respective active refinancer. The Dubai-based project financier becomes a silent partner in the respective company via a subordinated loan. In this way, major projects can be financed transparently and cost-effectively. There are no restrictions with regard to the location and sector of the company seeking credit.
Mahmud relies on the German Frank Kahn to open up the European market. The key account manager of the Aras Group shout be closely associated with wealthy, investment-happy families from the Middle East. Therefore, he can easily broker large sums of venture capital to the European start-up scene. In addition to Mahmud and Kahn, the Aras Group management team also includes Hassan Nazar and Maria Zain. They are supported by Relationship Manager Samira Zadeh, Marketing Coordinator Akash Kumar and Ibrahim Saadi from the Audit Department.
CEO Ashraf Mahmud, whose name also appears on the Internet in the spelling Ashraf Mahmoud, swears by the competence of his employees: „The workforce behind Aras Group are highly trained multi-skilled professionals whose expertise has been developed and nurtured over the years, delivering complex projects for clients, in some of the world’s most challenging markets and situations. The Aras team brings a unique blend of financial, operational, and managerial experience. Our principals and operating leaders work in close partnership with companies we invest in to build favorable outcomes. Our high degree of flexibility, inter-cultural communication, and professionalism enable us to provide sustainable solutions.“
With his international staff, Mahmud now wants to focus on the African market as well. Last year, online media reported that the Aras Group is increasingly providing African companies with fresh venture capital. On the black continent, investments in young companies have now reached record levels. Start-ups in countries such as Kenya, Uganda or Senegal are offering more and more services that the state fails to provide. It is therefore not surprising that financing for African start-ups has multiplied in 2018. European and Asian investors have long been talking about Africa as a continent of opportunity. Many countries south of the Sahara have been characterised for years by political stability and sustained economic growth. Six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are located in Africa. The African Development Bank had already forecast average economic growth of 4.0 percent for 2019. In this environment, the Aras Group also wants to play a strong role.