Manama: Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds (Al Waha) has announced a substantial investment in a new fund set up by San Francisco headquartered VC firm Lumia Capital (Lumia). The new partnership aims to build bridges between the US, Bahrain and the wider MENA region, with Lumia supporting local startups while introducing their non-MENA portfolio companies to opportunities in the region.

The Lumia Capital Fund II, launched in June, is aiming to raise USD 100 – USD 150 million. Lumia is a long-time investor in the Middle East and was the first VC firm outside of the MENA region to invest in Careem – the region’s first unicorn recently acquired by Uber for USD 3.1 billion. More recently, Lumia led the Series B funding round for Dubai’s Kitopi, the world’s leading managed cloud kitchen platform, which raised USD 60 million.

The funding injection is the latest announced by Al Waha, which was launched in 2018 to drive greater venture capital investment across the Middle East. Al Waha is a government-led initiative that provides market access for international funds looking to invest in the Middle East, as well as for portfolio companies looking to expand. The addition of Lumia Capital to Al Waha’s portfolio is the latest sign of growing global interest in the region.

Areije Al Shakar, Fund Director at Al Waha Fund of Funds, said: “Bahrain has served as bridge linking major economies in the East and West for thousands of years. Our investment in Lumia Capital brings startup-centric Silicon Valley to the Gulf, and follows closely on from our investment in China’s MSA Capital. With its substantial pool of tech talent, startup capital and digitally minded consumers, Bahrain is attracting interest from all corners of the globe. Al Waha is here to serve as the catalyst, acting as a strategic as well as financial partner to funds.”

Christopher Rogers, Partner at Lumia Capital, said: “We have long and very positive relationships throughout the Gulf that we want to continue to leverage. Through the Al Waha partnership, we are building a strong local presence to support our efforts seeking out dominant new technology players in our focused emerging markets. Bahrain is fast establishing itself as a key tech hub in MENA, and is an ideal base for our regional operations. We are delighted to join the Kingdom’s thriving ecosystem, and bring with us a significant global funding network which we can prepare local companies to access; a large group of global expansion-oriented advisors; a team with experience building a multi-billion startup, negotiating and closing thousands of transactions and serving on many public and private boards.”

The Kingdom of Bahrain offers an innovative and stable startup ecosystem that enables entrepreneurs to grow their ideas amid an atmosphere of pro-business regulation and strong public-private partnerships. With its unique positioning and connectivity to other Gulf countries, as well as a truly multicultural society that welcomes more than 160 nationalities, the Kingdom is an ideal destination for Eastern and Western businesses to converge.

Al Waha has so far committed 58% of the total fund investment to a range of venture capitalists, including BECO Capital, Middle East Venture Partners, 500 Startups, Finch Capital and Chinese fund manager MSA Capital. This is a key part of the drive to pool capital from East and West to better bridge markets. This is essential for Middle East businesses to scale, and critical to turning the Gulf from a consumer of innovation to a driver of innovation.

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For more information, please contact:
Lamees Zaber, Al Waha Fund of Funds
Phone: +973-175-11004

About Al Waha Fund of Funds
The $100m Al Waha Fund of Funds was established in 2018 to address the nascent Venture Capital community in the MENA region. The government-led initiative seeks to invest in Venture Capital funds that will invest directly – or that have a strategic interest – in the MENA region, at seed, early and growth stages of funding. The expertise and commitment behind the Al Waha Fund of Funds team allows for a unique platform for Venture Capitalists. Not only are they granted access to Al Waha’s portfolio of Venture Capital managers and limited partners, but they also gain access to a trusted partner, offering ecosystem support in Bahrain, including partnership opportunities and networks.

About Lumia Capital

Lumia Capital is a San Francisco based early growth stage venture capital firm investing in category-leading US B2B technology companies and in dominant international leaders.

© Press Release 2020

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