Bahrain Development Bank closes $100mln VC fund of funds

Backers include National Bank of Bahrain, Mumtakalat and Batelco Group

Image for illustrative purposes.

Image for illustrative purposes.

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Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) has announced it has completed the fundraising for a new $100 million fund to invest in other venture capital funds in the region.

The organisation said in a press release issued on Sunday that the close of the Al Waha Fund of Funds announced last month "marks an important milestone for the region’s growing startup ecosystem".

The fund will target investment in technology-driven start-ups both in Bahrain and across the Middle East, according to the statement, via investments in the regional venture capital funds. It said that the investors who have participated in the Al Waha Fund of Funds include National Bank of Bahrain, Batelco Group, Mumtakalat and the Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) itself. The latter will also manage the fund, and said that its advisory committee has already approved the allocation of $35 million of the fund's capital.

In the press statement, the Al Waha Fund of Funds Advisory Committee chairman, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, said: “One of the key constraints on the development of the startup and technology ecosystem in the region is lack of access to capital – this fund can help to make a significant difference to that challenge, enabling entrepreneurs to realise the potential of their ideas.”

The fund was initially announced at last month's Gateway Gulf Forum in Bahrain.

According to venture capital platform Magnitt, start-ups across the MENA region raised $560 million in investments in 2017.

(Writing by Michael Fahy; Editing by Shane McGinley)


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