Sadara Ventures led a $1 million round in Yamsafer, a Ramallah, Palestine-based travel startup founded by Faris Zaher, Seri Abdelhadi and Sameh Alfar. Sadara Ventures is backed by Google Foundation, Cisco, The George Soros Economic Development Fund, the Skoll Foundation, and The European Investment Bank, among others.
Yamsafer Secures $1 Million in Venture Capital
Ramallah (Palestine) – September, 7, 2012 – Yamsafer (www.yamsafer.me), a Ramallah-based startup
launched in September 2011 by Faris Zaher, Seri Abdelhadi and Sameh Alfar, has secured a $1 million
Series A investment led by Sadara Ventures.
Yamsafer enables travelers to book a unique inventory of Middle Eastern hotels online at prices lower
than those offered by leading international booking sites. The site also bundles tickets for popular events
in the region with hotel deals, making it a one-stop shop for the activity travel enthusiasts. The MENA
region has been the world’s fastest-growing inbound and outbound travel market for the past 10 years
recording 10% in average annual growth rates. Despite exogenous shocks to inbound demand caused
by the Arab Spring, a steady rise in the number of intra-regional travelers has created an opportunity
for local online travel agencies (OTAs) who provide quality Arabic content and effectively acquire local
“We are thrilled to have found in Sadara a venture fund that shares our vision and that is capable of
adding significant value to the Company,” said Faris Zaher, Yamsafer’s co-Founder and CEO. “With this
round of investment we plan to scale our technology and migrate it to mobile platforms, expand customer
acquisition efforts and strengthen ties with hoteliers to increase occupancy rates and make regional travel
even more affordable,” he said.
Saed Nashef, Founding Partner of Sadara Ventures, said: “The online travel market in MENA is a
significant growth opportunity, and we believe Yamsafer has all the right ingredients to become a leading
player in this space. We’re happy to close this round of financing, and look forward to working closely with
the Yamsafer team to create real value for travellers in the region.”
Yamsafer is the first Palestinian company to secure an early-stage venture capital investment. In recent
years, there has been increased hope that the highly aid-dependent Palestinian economy can be
invigorated by means of a competitive ICT sector. Many local Internet entrepreneurs have set their sights
on succeeding in regional and global markets through the export of proprietary content and services.