Bahraini-based Al Waha that had closed its $100 million fund of funds last year has already invested 50 percent of its fund within the first year of its operations, the fund announced today in a statement on its first anniversary. Al Waha is backed by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company (Mumtalakat), Batelco, Bahrain Development Bank, National Bank of Bahrain, Tamkeen and Osool Asset Management.
The capital according to the statement has been invested in five funds from across the region including BECO Capital, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), 500 Startups (apparently their regional fund 500 Flacons), and a Europan early stage fintech VC Finch Capital. The statement also noted that BECO Capital and Middle East Venture Partners have now registered in Bahrain as part of their efforts to support the local ecosystem and build venture capital capability.
Areije Al Shakar, Al Waha Fund Manager, commenting on the occasion, said, “The response we are getting to Al Waha is incredible and shows that there was a great hunger for exactly the kind of support that we have provided. We are getting great interest not just locally but internationally. Al Waha is an example of the public sector and the private sector working together across borders, and is the ultimate expression of the Team Bahrain approach to supporting and empowering all the players across the ecosystem to progress to the next level.”
Hasan Haider, a Partner with 500 Startups, said, “[Al Waha’s] approach and mandate has been beneficial not just to Bahrain, but to the MENA VC ecosystem as a whole, and we hope to see other countries take notice – this has been paying dividends for the local ecosystem as well.”
Walid Hanna, Partner at MEVP, said, “Bahrain, through the coordinated efforts of the Bahrain Development Bank, Al Waha and the key Bahraini stakeholders, has been able to supercharge the Bahraini technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem and accelerate its growth at a faster rate than its regional peers.”
Dany Farha, Managing Partner at BECO Capital, said, “We were able to fast track one of our portfolio companies to launch in Bahrain which requires regulatory approvals and partnerships with banks in Bahrain, all of which BDB facilitated including a potential investment from a leading Bahraini bank. The process felt like a breeze but we know that the BDB team conducted a lot of work behind the scenes to make it smooth and painless. Launching in Bahrain ahead of other larger GCC markets would have never happened without the meticulous management from the BDB team.”