Saracen Ventures 2016

Our Company

  • Saracen Ventures UK Ltd is a private research and consultancy company. Our focus is on strategic advisory and consultancy work, putting to use our industry and market knowledge to work with a select group of clients and help them develop and evolve into new markets. Additionally, we have more recently created a venture platform that supports startups through proactive advisory, business development, as well as selectively investing capital.
  • Historically, since the company was founded in 2011, we have primarily been involved in working with companies and investors from the Middle East. Whilst this geography remains a sector speciality, we have built a broad ranging expertise and networks across various other sectors and geographies, enabling us to plan strategically, as well as react opportunistically to changing market dynamics.
  • The management and advisory team calls on significant experience in project research, finance and risk assessment across the Middle East, Europe, North America & Latin America. Sectors of expertise include: Capital & Financial Markets, Islamic Banking, Energy & Water, Shipping & Transportation.

History

  • Saracen Ventures has been able to forge a unique knowledge of both Islamic finance and Investment banking, as well as a broader range of strategic consultancy services.
  • Saracen Ventures is affiliated with the Saracen Group of companies. Over the last ten years the group’s affiliates have been involved in successfully raising funds in excess of US$ 13 billion for debt finance in Latin America, the Far East and Europe.
  • These financing packages also include asset backed finance with major groups for container ships, tankers and aircraft. During 2007, Saracen Group became a founder shareholder in a major global Shipping fund, as well as a distressed commercial real estate business.

Corporate Philosophy

  • Our philosophy is to present our partners and clients with only those projects to which we can add significant value. Saracen Ventures performs its own proprietary analysis as part of several ongoing macro economic strategies being tracked. Periodically, we do call on the input of specifically selected, specialist consultants to enhance the groundwork done by our core network.
  • Through our approach, we have managed to forge long lasting relationships with independent family offices, financial institutions, Islamic banks, boutique investment houses, regional private equity firms and other venture investors.
  • We have also managed to establish a specialist team and network across a variety of economic sectors, enabling us to offer specifically tailored solutions for our clients and partners on a case by case basis.

Areas of Coverage Include:

Project Finance

Islamic Banking

Structured Finance

Mergers & Acquisitions

Private Equity & Venture Capital

Strategic Consultancy

Restructuring

our team

Laith Allawi

Management Team

Contact: LinkedIn

Executive Director 

Professional Experience:

  • Mr. Allawi graduated from Cass Business School in 2008 having studied Banking and International Finance. During his studies, he completed a series of internships at a Swiss-based hedge fund, researching and overviewing several different investment strategies.

    He began his career at a London-based alternatives placement and advisory office, where he specialized in preliminary due diligence on international hedge funds whom were looking to form partnerships with the company. This included a mixture of quantitative analysis and qualitative aspects to determine viability for the different strategies across the group’s existing portfolio.

    In 2010 Mr. Allawi founded Saracen Ventures, where he currently serves as Executive Director. Saracen Ventures is a boutique research, consulting and venture firm, specializing in strategic and economic analysis on both direct and indirect investment opportunities across global markets. The firm also has a venture practice, where it supports various startups across a variety of sectors through its advisory and business development platforms. 

    Mr. Allawi has performed detailed research on a variety of sectors ranging from private equity and venture capital across maritime, logistics, infrastructure and media assets. He is also responsible for all aspects of marketing and business development, and has established an extensive investor database, with specific expertise in the GCC markets.

    He has represented Saracen Ventures in various conferences and journals, regularly speaking at multiple investment forums and conferences as part of panel discussions and giving interviews to sector specific journals such as TOGY.

    Interests:
  • Mr Allawi has a passion for storytelling and creative writing across historical fiction, poetry, theatre and film.
  • He also enjoys playing football and chess.

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Kristan Ecker

Management Team

Contact: LinkedIn
Project Manager
Role at Saracen Ventures:
  • Project Management of Saracen Ventures’ project development portfolio spanning disruptive technology, media, renewables, shipping and construction
  • Client relationship management for existing portfolio.
  • Quantitative and qualitative research for potential ventures.
Professional Experience:
  • Kristan has significant experience across a variety of institutions in the financial services sector, working primarily in business support and project management for banks and corporates alike, starting her career at Society Generale and spending time with Lehman Brothers and GlaxoSmithKline.
  • Kristan joined Saracen Group as a business assistant initially, before spending some years travelling with her family in Asia. She rejoined Saracen Ventures in the role of Research Analyst and has more recently taken on responsibilities of helping the project management of several projects being developed across the group’s portfolio.
Academia/ Qualifications:
  • Graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with 2.1 BA (Hons) degree
Interests:
  • Sporting Challenges
  • Socialising
  • Travelling
  • Languages (Fluent in 4 Languages)

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Han Xiao

Research Team

Contact: LinkedIn

Research Analyst 

Role at Saracen Ventures:

  • Providing support to senior management with project, market and strategy analysis.
  • Preparation of reports and suggestions for senior management team as part of ongoing assessments across a variety of industries including maritime, energy and infrastructure.

Professional Experience:

  • Han is primarily focussed on analysis and due diligence of projects across the industrial sectors, utilising his academic skills to perform a variety of statistical and qualitative assessments as part of the research team. Han has primarily been involved in the assessment of new ventures.

Academia:

  • BSc in Statistics from Zhejiang University City College.
  • MSc in Financial Mathematics followed by a year PhD experience in Economy from University of Aberdeen.

Interests:

  • Reading
  • Swimming

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Sadia Hottak

Research Team

Contact: LinkedIn

Research Analyst 

Role at Saracen Ventures:

  • Providing support to senior management with co-ordination and scheduling of client meetings.
  • Responsible for office organisation, project management support and collation of documents and files.
  • Supporting research initiatives across a variety of sectors ranging from agriculture to media. 

Professional Experience:

  • Whilst concluding her studies at City University, Sadia joined the Saracen Ventures team to assist in a variety of roles with a primary focus on research support, as well as project management for a number of media initiatives the group is currently developing.
  • Prior to this, Sadia has professional experience across a number of internships, including time spent with both Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, as well as Cisillon. Her experience with these corporations included a number of qualitative and quantitative roles ranging from the creation of presentations for senior management, to formulating strategies for clients and the use of statistical methods to analyse data and generate useful business recommendations.
  • Sadia was also a Governor at Barnet & Southgate college, where she made a significant contribution to determining the best policies for ensuring the long term success of its students as part of a broader review mandated by the college’s board of governors. 

Academia:

  • Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School – GCSE to A level
  • Barnet and Southgate College – Business with Law
  • City University of London –  Law LLB (Hons)

Interests:

  • Foreign languages and culture (Fluent in 6 Languages)
  • Public Speaking 
  • Reading
  • Fitness

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Luay Allawi

Advisory Team

Contact: LinkedIn

Member of the Advisory Committee

Professional Experience:

  • HSBC graduate training programme in London before moving to Chemical Bank: where acted as Marketing Executive covering International Cross Boarder Leasing business. This included aircraft lease packaging and construction equipment finance in the Gulf Region through affiliated Arab Leasing Company in Bahrain.
  • Gulf International Bank, Bahrain: Head of Project Finance the role involved arranging construction and asset backed finance, primarily in Saudi Arabia.
  • Investcorp: Executive Director initial 4 years in Bahrain and then has moved to the UK, where was a founder of the Placement and Marketing team, in London office managed 53 Personnel.
  • Active consultant (1987-1991) for: Touche Remnant, Guisness Peat Aviation, ANZ Bank, P&O, NCB, Quanta Capital, East Asiatic, United Bank of Kuwait and Al Rajhi Bank – London. 

Academia:

  • BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry followed by an MSc (Distinction) in Cell Biology from Queen Elizabeth College, London University.

Interests:

  • Chess
  • Stamps of Iraq

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David Bloch

Advisory Team

Contact: LinkedIn

Member of the Advisory Committee

Professional Experience:

  • Co-founder of Iron Creek Ventures, a  U.S. distressed debt manager.
  • Serves on several boards (private funds and investment adviser).
  • Senior adviser for alternative investments (private equity and debt, venture capital, hedge funds) to Meridian Investments Limited, a family office. 
  • Formerly an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell and clerk on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Academia:
  • Foundation Fellow of Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford and member of endowment investment committee.
  • B.A. Amherst College, M.Phil. University of Oxford, J.D. from Harvard Law School.

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Daniel Prime

Advisory Team

Contact:

Member of the Advisory Committee 

Role at Saracen Ventures:

  • Investment analysis of private and public securities, hedge funds, private equity funds, convertible bonds, mutual funds.
  • Portfolio construction, and analysis:  including constructing portfolios that match clients targeted market or factor exposure, volatility, liquidity requirements, etc.
  • General market analysis, and sector specific analysis (e.g. shipping, oil sands extraction, real estate)

Professional Experience:

  • Consultant on investment analysis and portfolio construction for Saracen Ventures, and Saracen Trade & Investment.
  • Consultant on operations and financial management for Meridian Investments Limited.
  • Portfolio Manager and Director – The Somers Fund Limited (a Hedged Equity Fund)
  • Director and Member of Advisory Board – The Somers Real Estate Opportunity Fund Limited (a Real Estate Investment Fund)
  • Chief Financial Officer – Meridian Investments Limited, Bermuda.
  • Assistant on Islamic Trade Financing and Documentation, and Financing in Emerging Markets
  • Hazardous Chemicals Inspector – US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Chemistry Teacher (A-level) – Tanzania  – US Peace Corps
  • Chemist – Rollins Environmental Services

Academia:

  • University of California – B.S in Chemistry
  • Series 65 – Uniform Investment Advisor

Interests:

  • Conversant in French and Swahili
  • Tennis, skiing, cycling, and tree pruning

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NEWS ROOM

  • Unbound: Uncovering the power of innovation

    09th Dec 2016

    Unbound helps organisations innovate, remain competitive and grow.

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  • TechCrunch Disrupt London 2016

    06th Dec 2016

    TechCrunch Disrupt 2016 London

    5.12 – 6.12

    The Copper Box Arena

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  • Frontier Exchange: Islamic Enterprises

    06th Nov 2016

    The inaugural edition of the Islamic Enterprises event was held in London at Hyatt Regency – The Churchill on 1-2 November 2016.

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