Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds to invest in Mubadala-backed FinTech fund

The $50m VentureSouq’s FinTech Fund I invests in companies involved in digital banking and payments infrastructure

Areije Al Shakar, director and fund manager of Bahrain's Al Waha Fund of Funds. Photo: Al Waha Fund of Funds
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Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds is investing in a FinTech-focused fund in the Middle East and North Africa region and Pakistan as demand for digital payments and other FinTech services rises in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The $50 million VentureSouq’s FinTech Fund I, backed by Mubadala Investment Company, invests in early-stage FinTech companies involved in payments infrastructure, alternative credit, digital banking, property technology and personal financial management, Al Waha Fund of Funds said in a statement on Thursday.

“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,” said Areije Al Shakar, fund director at Al Waha Fund of Funds.

“The partnership aims to bridge the gap between Mena and Bahrain to provide mentorship, networking and funding opportunities for the region.”

Demand for digital payments and other FinTech services has burgeoned during the pandemic as more people use online banking services to transfer money and pay for e-commerce transactions.

Globally, digital payments are expected to grow to $8.26 trillion in 2024, from $4.4tn in 2020, according to Statista.

VentureSouq’s FinTech fund, backed by Jada Fund of Funds, Saudi Venture Capital Company, UAE’s DisruptAD and Mubadala Investment Company, has already invested in more than 40 FinTech companies around the world.

“The new FinTech fund taps into the opportunity to empower a growing market that is in its early days," said Suneel Gokhale, general partner of VentureSouq. Because of "the intersection of increased flexibility among regulators and a push towards digitisation, the FinTech space has become very interesting for investors", he said.

VentureSouq is also looking to invest in health technology and food technology sectors as it expects them to grow in the coming years.

Bahrain government-backed Al Waha has invested more than 61 per cent of its total fund into 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.

Updated: January 06, 2022, 1:20 PM