Gulf Islamic Investments (GII), a UAE-based Shariah-compliant financial services firm with over USD 2 billion in assets under management, is sharpening its focus on the Indian market. A year after making its investment debut in India, the company plans to set up its first international subsidiary in the country, GII said on Monday in a statement.
In line with its plans to expand its India presence, the firm will open an office in Bengaluru—otherwise is known as the country’s Silicon Valley, which houses over 40% of the local unicorns—and invest USD 500 million (INR 35 billion) in businesses across the sectors, over the next three years. The financial services firm said it will also partner with Indian start-ups and growth companies that are looking to establish a presence in the Middle East market.
GII is part of a growing group of investors from the Middle East that are backing Indian companies and helping them set up camp in the Gulf region. It started writing checks for minority stakes in local healthcare companies from its fund called India Growth Portfolio in the second quarter of 2020—when the first wave of COVID-19 hit the country. Its portfolios include a multi-specialty hospital chain and an in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) firm that manufactures reagents and medical equipment.
Seven-year-old GII counts ultra-high-net-worth individuals, family offices, banks, institutions, and sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia as clients and has made investments across real estate, private equity, and venture capital.
Aside from GII, VC firms like ADQ, Alpha Wave Incubation, Vy Capital, Investcorp, and Qatar Investment Authority have been participating in multiple funding rounds in the country since 2020.
Compared to the USD 1.8 billion put in by Gulf investors in India in 2019, they poured in a record USD 7.5 billion last year, as per Venture Intelligence data. Although over USD 6 billion went into Reliance’s retail and digital arms, Mukesh Ambani-owned Indian conglomerate lured heavyweights like Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Public Investment Fund to India. This encouraged their peers to invest in the country. Between January and July 2021, Middle Eastern investors wrote checks worth over USD 1.2 billion for local companies.
“India represents a prime investment destination for GII, and this expansion demonstrates our commitment to future investments in the country’s burgeoning start-up and high-growth enterprise space,” Mohammed Alhassan and Pankaj Gupta, founding partners and co-CEOs of Gulf Islamic Investments, said in a joint statement. “Given the success of our preliminary investment rounds through the India Growth Portfolio series, valued at over INR 10 billion (USD 133 million), we look forward to expanding our footprint in India and strategically contributing towards enhancing the India-UAE investment corridor.”