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Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds has announced an investment in MENA-based VentureSouq (VSQ)’s FinTech Fund I, the region’s sector-specific fund focused on FinTech across the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region and Pakistan.
Launched at the end of 2021, the $50M fund invests in early-stage FinTech and SaaS companies and focuses on key subsectors including payments infrastructure, alternative credit, digital banking, PropTech, InsureTech, and personal financial management, working closely with innovative regional entrepreneurs that are disrupting financial services. VentureSouq’s FinTech fund is backed by other LPs across the GCC such as ada Fund of Funds, Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), UAE’s DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, Mubadala Investment Company, and OFC, the Middle East investment arm of The Olayan Group. Al Waha has invested over 61% of its total fund investment to a range of local and global venture capitalists, including BECO Capital, Middle East Venture Partners, 500 Startups, Finch Capital, MSA Capital, Shorooq Partners, B&Y Venture Partners, and more. The investments are essential to scale Middle East companies and enable a region that drives innovation.
Over 2021, and as we’ll soon observe in the release of our MAGNiTT exclusive end-of-year reports, the FinTech sector across Emerging Venture Markets has raised the lion’s share of investments, garnering more than 30% of total funds across geographies. In MENA, the FinTech sector observed more than 180% YoY growth in funding driven by major rounds raised by startups disrupting traditional banking, introducing new financial concepts, setting up for the future of cryptocurrency, or creating alternative solutions to serve the large unbanked portion of the community. A look at the most funded FinTechs in MENA within these domains, we highlight major rounds raised in 2021 by the likes of UAE-based Tabby, Tunis-based Expensya, Egypt-based Dopay, and Dubai-based BitOasis.
The Fund has been actively deploying capital into startups across MENA and Pakistan, including regional ‘buy now pay later’ Tabby, Saudi-based B2B marketplace Sary, and PropTech platform Huspy. VentureSouq is aiming to use its FinTech experience and connectivity to help build the next cohort of category-defining FinTech companies in Bahrain and the broader region. As a leading financial services hub in the region, Bahrain is a natural selection partner to empower and grow the FinTech ecosystem in the MENA region. Suneel Gokhale, General Partner of VentureSouq, said, “We are honored to be working alongside our partners in Bahrain, Al Waha Fund of Funds, to enhance the FinTech and greater tech ecosystem in the Kingdom and the region. The new FinTech fund taps into the opportunity to empower a growing market that is in its early days. Due to the intersection of increased flexibility amongst regulators and a push towards digitization, the FinTech space has become very interesting for investors.”
VentureSouq has been active in Bahrain for years as one of Al Waha Fund of Fund’s partner funds. The venture capital firm has worked with local accelerators and has already invested in one startup in Bahrain. As global investors in more than 40 international FinTech companies, the VentureSouq FinTech Fund team is aiming to bring their global experiences to the region and continue to advance the development of the FinTech ecosystem in Bahrain and the wider MENA region. Areije Al Shakar, Fund Director at Al Waha Fund of Funds concluded, “We are very excited to be working with our partners VentureSouq to enhance the FinTech ecosystem in Bahrain and the region. The FinTech opportunity in MENA is evolving in today’s hyperconnected and digitized world, and we are proud to be working directly with VentureSouq’s FinTech Fund I to tap into the growing sector, in addition to providing first-hand access to the Bahraini market. The partnership aims to bridge the gap between MENA and Bahrain, to provide mentorship, networking and funding opportunities for the region.”
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