ⓘ Featured image: A file-photo of Areije Al Shakar, Director & Fund Manager, Al Waha Venture Capital Fund of Funds
Here’s to the latest investment by Bahrain-based Al Waha Fund of Funds in Bedaya Fund 1 of the seed-stage venture capital firm Shorooq Partners, UAE. The Bahraini government-led initiative announced its investment indicates renewed confidence in the startup sector during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Founded by Shane Shin and Mahmoud Adi, Shorooq Partners focuses on early-stage technology startups in fintech, software and tech-enabled business services subsectors. The venture capital firm has supported 23 startups including on-demand truck aggregator Trukker; a hybrid robo-adviser Sarwa; Teacherly, a platform built for a global community of educators to improve learning outcomes; and Breadfast, an Egypt-based native e-grocery service.
Shorooq primarily targets the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with a key focus on the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. And with this investment from Al Waha, the venture capital firm is now planning to extend its footprint to Bahrain.
Al Waha was started back in 2018 with $100 million in a move to drive greater venture capital across the Middle East and provide market access for organisations looking for investment opportunities.
Commenting on the investment, Areije Al Shakar, Director & Fund Manager at Al Waha in a statement said,
“It was proud to partner with a regional firm that understands the importance of backing new ventures at the earliest of stages and the aim is to support the next phase of Shorooq’s growth, which has been successful by investing in fast-growth sectors such as fintech and software.”
Laying emphasis over Bahrain’s potential in terms of attractive investment options, she added,
“This partnership also shows that Bahrain is not only an attractive investment option for international venture capitalists, but also for those already based in the Middle East and looking to expand their reach within the region,”
On top of that, Al Shakar also highlighted the role of startups in accelerating the growth GCC economy during the COVID-19 crisis, Bahrain’s innovative and stable startup ecosystem, pro-business regulation, and a strong ecosystem of public-private partnerships.
Shane Shin, founding partner at Shorooq Partners, said,
“Our mission is to support the most promising entrepreneurs in the region who are creating substantial economic value in their home countries and beyond as they grow and expand within the GCC markets. This is aligned with the exponentially evolving startup ecosystem in the GCC that is becoming more intertwined and collaborative as stakeholders including government entities, investors and startups engage and build.”
“Bahrain is taking tangible measures to become a strong hub for businesses and founders wanting to build their presence in the kingdom and broader GCC market. We are excited to join our partners in Al Waha Fund in fostering this vibrant business ecosystem and support further local and regional development efforts.” Shin added
Evidently, despite the pandemic crisis, investors are actively seeking investment opportunities, especially in sectors like fintech and healthtech. Bahrain with its key propositions and connectivity to other Gulf countries, multicultural society that welcoming over 160 nationalities, the kingdom is the ideal destination for Eastern and Western businesses to converge.
Al Waha Fund of Funds has so far deployed tens of millions of dollars to a range of venture capitalists, including MSA Capital, Lumia Capital, BECO Capital, Middle East Venture Partners, 500 Startups and European fund manager Finch Capital.
Bedaya Fund last raised an investment from the Abu Dhabi Dubai Investment Office (ADIO) last month in a move to create funding opportunities for Abu Dhabi-based startups.