Former BCG principal Luca Barbi crosses to STV fund as new COO

26 March 2019 3 min. read

The Middle East’s largest venture capital fund STV has appointed ex-BCG principal Luca Barbi as its new COO.

Dubai-based former BCG principal Luca Barbi has been appointed the new Chief Operating Officer for STV – the Middle East’s largest venture capital and private equity fund with over $500 million in capital. Established last year with offices in Riyadh and Dubai, STV – which stands for Saudi Technology Ventures – backs and scales disruptive tech companies throughout the region, including a recent co-led $200 million investment in Careem.

Accounting for well over a quarter of total venture capital fundraising in the Middle East and North Africa last year, having led nearly $250 million of the roughly $895 million raised in the region, STV has even greater aspirations for the years ahead, the fund’s CEO Abdulrahman Tarabzouni telling Arab News that, “As venture capitalists, we are seeking ideas that improve things by a factor of 100, not by a factor of 10.”

Now helping STV on that journey will be ex-BCG principal Luca Barbi, who according to a press statement from the firm will focus on “organisational enablement and operational excellence, including proactive stakeholder engagement and governance support, as well as driving internal firm growth and capability building initiatives.” Barbi crosses after the past four years with BCG and over ten years spent at the management consultancy altogether.Former BCG principal Luca Barbi crosses to STV fund as new COOInitially joining Boston Consulting Group as a senior associate in 2005, following two-plus years with PwC as a consultant and analyst, Barbi’s three-year stint would be the first of three such periods spent at the global strategy and management consultancy – later rejoining the firm in Dubai after earning him MBA at Colombia Business School in 2009. From there, Barbi joined Tiger Hill Capital as its Chief Operating Officer in Dubai, before returning to BCG in 2015.

 “Luca’s extensive experience in working with some of the leading digital and financial players in the region, will be a tremendous asset for STV,” said fund CEO Tarabzouni. “As we work to create scale and deliver impact and returns, Luca’s deep consulting and operational expertise will strongly complement the investment, entrepreneurial and technology capabilities at the firm. This is yet another exciting addition to STV’s multi-disciplinary team.”

“For over a decade, my objective has always been to work with organisations that are helping the Middle East achieve its full potential and that’s why I am so excited to be joining STV,” said Barbi. “I had an immediate click when I met the STV team and was drawn into their vision and unique culture. The economic reforms and wider developments of this region represent an extremely compelling and unique investment opportunity.”

The appointment comes as news spreads that Uber is on the verge of announcing an agreement for the acquisition of regional success story Careem – which was incidentally founded by two former associates of BCG rival McKinsey and Company (Barbi’s former BCG colleague Idriss Al Rifai meanwhile founded ‘next desert unicorn Fetchr). According to Bloomberg, Uber will purchase Careem for $3.1 billion in cash and stock, with an announcement imminent.