Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds has announced an investment in Mena-based Venture Souq’s FinTech Fund I, the region’s first sector-specific fund focused on FinTech across the Mena region and Pakistan.

The $50 million 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 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.

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.

Suneel Gokhale, General Partner of VentureSouq, said, “We are honoured 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 digitisation, the FinTech space has become very interesting for investors.”

Areije Al Shakar, Fund Director at Al Waha Fund of Funds said, “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 digitised 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.”

VentureSouq’s FinTech fund is backed by other LPs across the GCC such as Jada 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. In addition to investing in the FinTech sector, VentureSouq is also interested in other areas such as HealthTech and FoodTech, which are two sectors the firm expects to grow within the coming years.

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. – TradeArabia News Service

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