Last spring, entrepreneur Rachid Mohamed Rachid launched Bidayat, an investment company aiming to finance and enable promising early-stage ventures and talents in fashion, accessories, jewelry, beauty and wellness. Bidayat’s CEO, Tugba Unkan, who has long championed innovative brands, talks about the company’s first steps and investments.

How does Bidayat work?

Bidayat targets businesses, entrepreneurs and creative talent in premium and/or luxury consumer goods, such as fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. We focus on ventures from the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East, two regions that have strong identities thanks to their culture and heritage.

Unlike most investment funds, who may seek an exit in a relatively short time, like 3 to 5 years, Bidayat takes a long-term view, with the idea of building strong partnership models. In this regard, we provide not only funding, but mentorship, expertise and networks to help companies mature, prosper and go global.

To nurture the creative ecosystem of the Mediterranean Basin and the MENA region, we are also considering building educational programs to provide training in creative entrepreneurship focused on consumer industries. We also believe in the power of physical and digital spaces to foster the creative community and are working on a number of initiatives in this area. We are very agile and have the ability to react quickly to new market developments and keep an eye open for major changes, including those happening in the metaverse.

What criteria are Bidayat’s investment decisions based on?
Our team is looking for companies with a strong brand DNA; something that makes their product unique and distinguishable. It can be the brand’s identity, its purpose, the feel and authenticity, know-how or even the story and narrative behind it. Of course, it’s a plus if the business is sustainable, eco-friendly and inclusive from the outset. These characteristics are critical for the success of these businesses in the future.

The business can be fairly new, or one that is more established and at a tipping point. We are also capable of incubating new brands and reviving heritage ones. Above all, we invest in ventures where we believe Bidayat can have a positive impact on growth, expansion, brand positioning and technological change.

What kind of support does Bidayat provide to its partners, apart from financing?
We are a young and agile organization. We provide strategic guidance, operational support and expertise in branding, marketing, business planning, supply chain, omni-channel distribution, e-commerce and sector-related technologies as needed. Our global team of experts is also well-connected to help establish networks.

Tell us about some of the projects Bidayat has been working on so far.
Last summer, Bidayat entered a partnership with Okhtein, an Egyptian luxury brand that specializes in bags, sunglasses and small leather goods. It’s an extremely promising company that has garnered traction and gained the attention of press and platforms like Fashion Trust Arabia. Founded by two sisters, Aya and Mounaz, the products have a very strong identity. So far, we have been helping them to optimize their merchandising strategy, improve their supply chain and structure their marketing efforts.

Bidayat is also incubating FROMM., a collaborative platform dedicated to the local design community in Qatar, that specializes in furniture and product design. It aims to preserve and promote local heritage and innovation, support the local design community in Qatar and connect with the international design community. The goal is to launch and position the first Qatari furniture brand that both develops and produces furniture for the local and international market, with the help of an international team of industry-leading experts based in Doha and Milan.

We have also been working for the past few months on another incubation project, for which we’re teaming up with the French illustrator and textile designer Louis Barthélemy. Set to launch later this year, it will be a modern fashion and lifestyle brand at the intersection of culture, art and fashion.