Bahrain will be home to the Mena region’s first fintech venture studio that plans to co-found startups and streamline fundraising.
Resulting from a collaboration between Al Waha Fund of Funds and international investment firm Hambro Perks, HP Spring Studios aims to be an active member of the local fintech ecosystem, investing, developing talent, participating in events, and promoting the country as an investment destination, it has emerged.
An in-house team covering the full capability spectrum across product, engineering, and operations will help accelerate startups towards product/market fit.
The studio would also look to create new highly-skilled jobs in Bahrain, on both its core team and at the startups it helps to launch.
Al Waha and Hambro Perks’ said they would bring to startups, their local and global network of private and public institutions, including National Bank of Bahrain, Mumtalakat, and Batelco, to drive customer traction and secure future funding rounds to exit.
Startups in the kingdom also stand to benefit from a fintech friendly regulatory environment and close relationships with the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Economic Development Board to enable rapid launch to market.
Managed by Bahrain Development Bank and founded with a corpus of $100 million in 2018, Al Waha offers capital to funds supporting entrepreneurs looking to establish and scale their businesses.
Describing the initiative as a “valuable resource” for local entrepreneurs, Al Waha director and fund manager Areije Al Shakar said: “HP Spring Studios will significantly enhance the region’s fintech ecosystem, not only empowering startups, but also helping to materially improve the way people save, send, lend, manage, and invest their money.”
Hambro Perks, headquartered in London, with offices in Riyadh, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, has built, invested into, and accelerated more than 145 technology startups globally.
It has a specific focus on fintech, having invested into companies like Sarwa, Tide, and ByMiles.
Dominic Perks, chief executive at Hambro Perks, commented: “Once portfolio startups are ready to scale, the studio and Hambro Perks will bring in trusted global co-investors to Bahrain-based companies, not only creating further jobs, but also facilitating capital inflows and attracting further talent and investors.”
GDN reported on Sunday that VC investment in Bahrain increased by 167 per cent to $52m last year citing a report from Magnitt, a company specialising in publishing data on startups and project investments across emerging markets.
The Middle East fintech ecosystem is developing quickly and the market has witnessed an influx of startups and funding support in the sector in recent months. The number of fintech companies is expected to reach 465 in the region this year, up from 30 in 2017.
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