Sunday 24, June 2018 by Jessica Combes

BDB closes $100 million venture capital fund of funds to support Middle East start-ups


The region’s first active fund of funds will support emerging technology start-ups  

Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) announces that the Al Waha Fund of Funds has successfully closed its $100 million fundraising round, making it the first active venture capital fund of funds in the region. 

The announcement marks an important milestone for the region’s growing start-up ecosystem. It will provide additional capital to innovative and technology-driven start-ups in Bahrain and across the Middle East through venture capital funds currently established in Bahrain, and by attracting new funds to the region.   

The Limited Partners (LP) Advisory Committee met for the first time last week to close the $100 million, setting the strategic direction of the fund, and approved the allocation of $35 million into a series of venture funds. The LPs include Mumtalakat, National Bank of Bahrain, Batelco Group, Tamkeen and Bahrain Development Bank, amongst others and where BDB is the GP managing the fund. 

“We are very pleased to announce the successful closure of the fund and we have already made encouraging progress in allocating the capital raised. One of the key constraints on the development of the start-up 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,” said Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chairman, Al Waha Fund of Funds Advisory Committee. 

Today’s announcement follows the launch of the Al Waha Fund of Funds at Gateway Gulf Forum last month. Gateway Gulf Forum brought together more than 500 global investors and business leaders to explore how to unlock the opportunities being created by the economic transformation in the GCC. 

Bahrain’s start-up ecosystem has benefitted from several significant initiatives and reforms in recent years, as part of the Economic Vision 2030, delivered under the leadership of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB). These include a reduction in the minimum capital required for starting a business, measures to enable onshore crowdfunding in conventional and Shari’ah-compliant finance and the introduction of a regulatory sandbox.



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