A number of corporations have launched CVCs in the Middle East. Here are the women putting the region's venturing on the map.

Women in CVC in the Middle East

Global Corporate Venturing’s mission to find women working in CVC is showing no signs of slowing down. We have just conquered the US and now we are setting our sights back on the Asian continent – namely the Middle East.

The Middle East is not just known for its culture, religious influence and vast oil reserves – it’s slowly becoming a booming centre for corporate innovation. With the Middle East housing some of the biggest corporations in the world, it’s no surprise that CVCs would start sprouting here.

Notable corporate venture firms include Aramco Ventures, Sabic Ventures and Borusan Ventures.

Even though many of the financial firms are dominated by men in the Middle East, times are changing. More women are being recognised and accepted into the venture capital sector, with many women also founding their own VCs.

To kick off 2024, GCV celebrates the many women in the Middle East who have overcome adversity, risen above the ranks and fostered innovation in the CVC landscape.

For our next list, we look at women in Mediterranean Europe who are standing out in corporate venture capital – if you have any suggestions please get in touch.

If you missed it, check out our series on CVC women in the US where we looked at women on the East Coast, women in the MidWest and American South and the 49 women on the West Coast.

Please also check out our previous lists on Women in the DACH region, key Women in Latin America’s corporate venturing world and CVC women in Asia.

Sarit Soccary Ben Yochanan

Sarit Soccary Ben Yochanan

Managing partner
DK Innovation
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel

Sarit Soccary Ben Yochanan, managing partner at Delek US’s corporate venture arm DK Innovation, was influenced by her colleagues and peers to enter the world of corporate venturing.

“I was pulled by colleagues to the venture capital industry. I spent many years in venture roles in Israeli firms and New York-based firms. A pivotal point in my career was going into operational roles as they required more education – at this point, I had a chance to work in a public company and under a PE company too,” she says.

Yochanan says she sought to combine her venture capital experience with the corporate world. “I was recommended by a friend to work for Delek US. Once the corporation decided to make a CVC, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to use my experience and expertise to help,” she says.

Founded in 2020, DK Innovation invests in technology startups innovating in the energy industry. The firm invests in industry 4.0, automation, new energy and fusion startups. The firm’s investments and portfolio size has been left undisclosed.

Yochanan has held her position for more than five years. She serves as a member board of directors for several startups such as Human Xtensions, Sofwave and Mobideo.

“A CVC role is not a simple one because there are so many aspects you need to manage,” says Yochanan. “You need to balance the typical work of deal flows and building connections with key stakeholders and understanding the corporate agenda.”

She says you have to be dynamic to become a successful corporate venturer. “It requires a lot of sophistication and understanding of what you need to facilitate in this changing world. You also have to be patient in this space and add value to the startup environment” she says.

Yochanan was previously an executive vice president and general manager of US-based medical manufacturing company Syneron Candela for five years and was the chief executive of investment firm Gefen Biomed Investment for three years, where she managed 33 portfolio companies in the cleantech and healthcare sectors.

She also spent three years as a principal at venture capital firm L Capital and was the investment manager for four years at technology-focused venture firm Shalom Equity Fund.

Yochanan graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics and business from Tel Aviv University.

Yochanan says that women in corporate venture capital bring a lot to the table. “Corporate venturing would benefit from a greater gender balance. The industry needs to be open-minded to ensure true risk value assessments are made. When you have more diversity it leads to an environment that is more curious, open and has differing opinions, which leads to the right decision,” she says.

“The more information out there about the industry and the more women in the industry who are setting an example and acting as role models will lead to more women entering this profession,” says Yochanan.

“When you have more diversity it leads to an environment that is more curious, open and has differing opinions which leads to the right decision,”

Sarit Soccary Ben Yochanan, managing partner at DK Innovation

Haneen AlKharashi Aramco Ventures

Haneen AlKharashi

Head of portfolio management
Aramco Ventures
Based in Paris, France

Haneen AlKharashi is the head of portfolio management at Aramco Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Dhaharn-headquartered petroleum refineries company Saudi Aramco.

Founded in 2012, Aramco Ventures has $3bn in assets under management. It invests in carbon management, renewables and energy storage companies. Aramco Ventures has 66 companies in its portfolio and has invested in 129 startups including Captura, Siyomicro and Acceldata.

AlKharashi began her career at Saudi Aramco in 2012 as a planning and performance analyst. She then moved to Aramco Ventures in 2015 as a business development analyst and was the CVCs treasurer and portfolio reporting manager for five years. AlKharashi accepted her current position in July 2023.

She was also an executive assistant at oil and gas company Global Suhaimi Group and was a freight forwarding supervisor at supply chain services company Global Marins Services.

Labeabah AlMheiri

Labeabah AlMheiri

Senior venture capital analyst
E& Capital
Based in Dubai, UAE

Labeabah AlMheiri is a senior venture capital analyst at E& Capital, a venture capital fund managed by Abu Dhabi-based telecommunications corporation Emirates Telecommunications Group Company.

Founded in 2022, E& Capital is a $250m fund that supports the tech startup ecosystem. The fund invests in startups that can provide its parent company access to expert networks. The firm has invested in startups such as Vuz, a VR and AR social media app that raised $20m in a series B round in 2022.

Other notable investments include UAE-based robotics solutions provider MaxByte, which raised $5m in a series A round in 2023. E& Capital led this round.

AlMheiri has held her current position for nearly a year. She spent two years at US-based business consultancy firm EY-Pathenon where she held positions such as analyst and senior strategy consultant.

AlMheiri founded an online media platform on Emirati culture, The Emirati Bravado, in 2017. She also has a bachelor’s degree in economics and public policy from the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Balsam Al-Saif

Balsam Al-Saif

Fund of funds programme lead
Aramco Ventures
Based in Dharan, Saudi Arabia

Balsam Al-Saif is a fund of funds programme lead at Aramco Ventures, the corporate venture capital firm of Saudi Arabia-based oil and gas conglomerate Saudi Aramco.

Al-Saif joined Saudi Aramco in 2007 working in the corporation’s College Degree Program for Non-Employees. She worked at several other programmes in the company until being hired as an advisor for the personnel department in 2014. She held other positions such as financial analyst for the Idikhar Program and financial analyst for public equity and portfolio management.

In 2019 Al-Saif accepted her current position at Aramco Ventures where she leads deals, does due diligence and maintains relations with funds. The funds she oversees include SAEV, Sustainability Fund and Propserity7.

Al-Saif has a bachelor’s degree in finance and human resources management from Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.

Kojagiri Bhoir

Kojagiri Bhoir

Senior portfolio manager
Mashreq Capital
Based in Dubai, UAE

Kojagiri Bhoir is the senior portfolio manager at Mashreq Capital, the corporate venture capital arm of Dubai-based, privately owned bank Mashreq.

Founded in 2006, Mashreq Capital invests in startups in the financial and energy sectors. The firm has invested in several companies including Saudi Electricity, Kilde, and Arada.

As the senior portfolio manager, Bhoir oversees Mashreq Capital’s flagship fund, Sukuk Fund. She primarily looks at investment opportunities in global fixed-income securities and is responsible for investment screening and industry research. Bhoir has held her position for more than 15 years.

She was a credit analyst for two years at India-based financial services company Crisil. Bhoir was also an auditor for four years at CA Firms, handling tax audits and income tax returns.

Bhoir graduated from Savitibai Phule Pune University with a bachelor’s degree in business and commerce and later completed her master’s degree in business, trade and commerce.

Amina Bouaicha

Amina Bouaicha

Senior manager of mergers and acquisitions
Aramex Ventures
Based in Dubai, UAE

Amina Bouaicha is a senior manager of mergers and acquisitions at Aramex Ventures, the corporate venture capital unit of Dubai-based logistics and courier company Aramex.

Aramex was founded in 1982. The company specialises in logistics and transportation innovations for businesses and consumers. Aramex Ventures has not disclosed its portfolio or public investments.

Bouaicha has held her current position for more than two years. She spent five years at Roland Berger, a management consultancy firm, where she was a senior consultant and case team leader. Bouaicha was a business analyst of global distribution for a year at Schneider Electric, a France-based digital automation and energy management company.

Bouaicha graduated from Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Informatique with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and information systems. In 2015 she acquired a master’s degree in management at ESCP Business School.

Funda Cetin Turpas

Funda Çetin

Head of innovation and venture capital
Turpas Ventures
Based in Istanbul, Turkey

Funda Çetin is the head of innovation and venture capital at Turpas Ventures, the corporate venture firm of Turkey-based petroleum company Turpas.

Turpas Ventures was founded in 2022 and invests in energy services robotics and VR sectors in the North Americas and Europe. The firm has four companies in its portfolio including Verdagy, AIS Field and Iongenics.

Çetin has worked at Turpas for 14 years. She started as a project management engineer and has held various positions in the company such as project management superintendent and project management supervisor. In March 2017 she accepted her current position at Turpas Ventures.

Alongside this, she is a chemical sector member at A. Spire Association. She was a technical committee member of Eurogia for three years at Eureka Network, a Belgium-based public research company.

Çetin is also a part of the GCV Global Energy Council, which explores innovation and investment opportunities in this sector.

Çetin has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Boğaziçi University.

Sümeyra Eprimez

Sümeyra Eprimez

Team member
Based in Istanbul, Turkey

Sümeyra Eprimez is a team member at Driventure, the corporate venture arm of Istanbul-based automotive manufacturing company Ford Otosan.

Founded in 2019, Driventure invests in early-stage startups focused on autonomous technologies, electric vehicles, industry 4.0 and smart mobility sectors. Driventure has three companies in its portfolio including Bluedot, Optiyol and Delivers.AI.

Eprimez started working at Driventure in September 2023 as an analyst. She later progressed to the CVC team where she manages the startup scouting and investment activities.

Eprimez was an associate for two years at Odgers Berndtson, a UK-based business consulting firm. She also spent two years as a startup community coordinator at Hello Tomorrow Turkey, a deep technology accelerator, and was the vice president of Vice PresidentYıldız Teknik Üniversitesi Girişimcilik Kulübü for two years.


Derya Düner

Derya Düner

General partner
QNBeyond Ventures
Based in Istanbul, Turkey

Derya Düner is a general partner at QNBeyond Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Turkish bank QNB Finansbank.

Founded in 2019, QNBeyond Ventures makes minority investments in seed to early-stage companies. The firm invests in startups focusing on fintech, regtech, insurtech and real estate technology sectors. QNBeyond Ventures has eight companies in its portfolio and has invested in more than 11 startups such as Magnetiq, Debite and Ikas.

Düner began working at QNB Finansbank in 2007. She began working in retail banking and in strategic planning and target management. She then became the director of Finansbank customer experience and was head of Enpara.com customer management in 2015, a position she still holds today. In 2020, she accepted her position at QNBeyond Ventures.

She was also a sales and trade relations specialist for a year at Pfizer and was an order center logistics and industrial engineer for three years at Mercedes Benz Turk.

Irit Feischer

Irit Feischer

General counsel member
Poalim Capital
Based in Jerusalem, Israel

Irit Feischer is a general counsel member at Bank Hapoalim’s investment platform Poalim Capital.

Founded in 1990, Poalim Capital invests in global and domestic startups in media, pharmaceuticals, software and transportation sectors. The firm has 46 companies in its portfolio. Its latest investment is MeMed, a medical technology platform that raised $93m in a series D round in 2022.

Feischer joined Poalim Capital in 2006. Before this, she was a senior associate of Israel-based law firm Ron Gazit, Rotenberg & Co, where she focused on corporate and high-tech law, advising corporations and startups on their operations. Feischer was a general counsel member at XOsoft and Snapshield, where she supported these startups through various investment rounds.

Feischer has a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tel Aviv University.

Aicha Ghaffari

Aicha Ghaffari

Startups project manager
QIC Digital Ventures
Based in Doha, Qatar

Aicha Ghaffari is startups project manager at QIC Digital Ventures, the corporate venture unit of Doha-based insurance corporation Qatar Insurance Group.

Launched in 2022, QIC Digital Ventures invests in early-stage insurtech companies. The firm acts as a hub to connect regional and international ventures with strategic growth opportunities. QIC Digital Ventures has five companies in its portfolio such as Wrisk, Amenli and Cowbell Cyber.

Ghaffari began working at QIC Digital Ventures over a year ago. Prior to this, she spent a year as a Middle East insurtech lead at MENA Insurtech Association, an insurance company in Qatar. Ghaffari also was a business operations manager for four years at Qlink Software & Electronics, an IT services and social media marketing platform.

Ghaffari has a master’s degree in business from University of Tunis El Manaar. She is also a business mentor at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), an initiative that supports female tech entrepreneurs in the Arab region.

Badria Hamad Al-Humaidhi

Badria Hamad Al-Humaidhi

Boubyan Capital
Based in Kuwait Bay, Kuwait

Badria Hamad Al-Humadihi is the chief executive of Boubyan Capital, the investment management subsidiary of Kuwait-based Boubyan Bank.

Launched in 2007, Boubyan Capital is a Sharia-compliant company as well as the CVC of Boubyan Bank. The firm provides services in asset management, alternative investments, brokerage and robo-advisory. Boubyan Capital’s investments and portfolio companies are undisclosed.

Boubyan Bank is backed by several corporate investors including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Mizuho Financial Group. It is one of the fastest-growing banks in Kuwait.

Al-Humadihi has been a part of Boubyan Capital for ten years. She has held several positions in the company including executive director of asset management and brokerage, and deputy chief executive. She accepted her current position in November 2022.

Al-Humadihi also spent six years at Kuwait-based financial services firm NBK Capital where she was an assistant vice president and investment manager. She also was a senior investment analyst for four years at Global Investment House, a Safat-based investment management firm.

Al-Humadihi has an executive master’s degree from London Business School and also attended Harvard Business School under the university’s programme for leadership development.

Defne Kocabiyik Narter

Defne Kocabiyik Narter

Founder, shareholder and chair
Borusan Ventures
Based in Istanbul, Turkey

Defne Kocabiyik Narter is the founder, third-generation shareholder and chair of Turkish industrial group Borusan’s corporate venture arm, Borusan Ventures.

Founded in 2023, Borusan Ventures invests in US and Europe-based startups focused on early-stage software technology in the mobility, supply chain, logistics and energy and climate sectors.

Narter started her career in different group companies and worked in several roles at steel pipe, automotive and heavy machinery businesses of Borusan.

She currently holds the role of dealer principal and board member at Borusan CAT, responsible for setting the vision, long-term value creation and investment strategy of the Caterpillar business. She is also board member at Borusan Otomotiv and Borusan Boru.

Narter acquired a bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from New York Un University in 2012.

Dana Qtaishat

Dana Qtaishat

Senior investment principal
AB Ventures
Based in Amman, Jordan

Dana Qtaishat is the senior investment principal at AB Ventures, the corporate venture capital firm of Jordan-based financial institution and bank Arab Bank.

Founded in 2018, AB Ventures invests in early-stage fintech startups. The firm has 10 companies in its portfolio including Token, Commuter Club and Pxl Vision.

Qtaishat has held her current position since the launch of AB Ventures. Before this, she was a financial analyst for two years at First Investment Group Jordan, a financial investment group, and was a treasurer at MetLife, a US-based insurance company.

Qtaishat completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance from the University of Jordan.

Ella Shamsonov

Ella Shamsonov

Incubit Ventures
Based in Beer Sheva, Israel

Ella Shamsonov is the chief financial officer at Incubit Ventures, the corporate venture incubator of Israel-based international military technology company Elbit Systems.

Founded in 2012, Incubit Ventures invests in early-stage deep technology startups developing nanotechnology, augmented reality, IT and communication technology. The firm has 16 companies in its portfolio and has invested in 26 startups including NewRocket, Ujett and Green Vibe. Incubit Ventures has also had exits such as Algolion, an Israel-based developer battery software, which was acquired by General Motors in 2023.

Shamsonov has worked for Elbit Systems for eight years. In 2015 she started as an operational controller and was a financial control manager for four years. As well as being the CFO of Incubit Ventures, Shamsonov is also the senior FP&A manager at Elbit Systems. As the senior FP&A manager, Shamsonov manages the financials of multidisciplinary R&D projects in the corporation.

Shamsonov also has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Braude Academic College.

Aruna Subramanian

Aruna Subramanian

Managing director
Sabic Ventures
Based in Limburg, Netherlands

Aruna Subramanian is the managing director of Sabic Ventures, the corporate venture capital firm of Saudi Arabia-based chemical manufacturing company Sabic.

Founded in 2011, Sabic Ventures invests in technology, energy, chemical, electronics and medical device sectors. The corporate venture firm has 15 companies in its portfolio and has invested in 21 startups including Niocycle, Inex Circular and Hydropoint.

Based in the Netherlands, Subramanian has held her position at Sabic Ventures for eight years. Alongside this, she is an investment committee member at Innovation Quarter, a $107m investment fund, and is the investment committee member for Invest NL, a venture capital firm.

Subramanian spent seven years as the investment principal at Shell Technology Ventures, the corporate venture arm of UK-based oil and gas company Shell. She was also the managing director of management consulting services firm A&E Management BV for 11 years and was the senior investment manager at Brightlands Venture Partners for one year.

Subramanian worked at SLB, a US-based technology company, for 11 years holding positions such as wireline operations manager for Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and special project coordinator.

Subramanian graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, with a bachelor’s degree in technology and civil engineering. She also has a master’s in business administration from IMD.

Hadar Sutovsky

Hadar Sutovsky

General manager
ICL Planet Startup Hub
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel

Hadar Sutovsky is the general manager of ICL Planet Startup Hub, the accelerator of Israeli industrial manufacturing company ICL Group.

Founded in 2021, ICL Planet Startup Hub collaborates with entrepreneurs focusing on crop, nutrition and food sectors. The firm has invested in three companies: Agrematchm, Arkeon Biotechnologies and Lavie Bio.

Sutovsky is also the vice president of external innovation at ICL Group, a position she has held for more than three years. She was the managing partner at Aquagro Fund for three years and was an innovation team member for two years at Unilever.

Sutovsky spent two years as the global pharma segment manager and corporate open innovation leader at Frutarom Industries and was a global sales manager of active ingredients at Solbar Industries.

Meltem Tumer

Meltem Tumer

Investment manager
Koç Holding.
Based in Istanbul, Turkey

Meltem Tumer is the investment manager of industrial conglomerate Koç Holding.

Koç Holding previously had an investment arm called Inventram that was established in 2010. In November 2023, Koç Holding and Inventram merged meaning all VC operations continued under its parent company.

Koç Holding invests in startups focusing on technology, internet of things, robotic technologies and medtech sectors. The venture unit has eight companies in its portfolio and has invested in 13 startups such as Coaright, Vispera and Segmentify.

Tumer began her stint at Koç Holding in 2021 as Inventram’s investment associate and became the firm’s investment manager in February 2023. She accepted her current position as investment manager of Koç Holding in November 2023. She is a member of the Global Women in VC and is an honorary judge of Plug and Play University Pitch Sessions.

She spent two years at KPMG, the professional services network, as an M&A associate in corporate finance.

Tumer graduated from Koç University with a double major in economics, business administration and finance. She also studied as an exchange student at Università Bocconi.