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Bahrain bank, China firm create $50m venture capital fund for Middle East tech market

Bahrain bank, China firm create $50m venture capital fund for Middle East tech market

The fund – MEC Ventures – will invest across sectors such as e-commerce, fintech, and technology ecosystem enablers

A new $50m venture capital fund has been launched by Al Salam Bank-Bahrain (ASBB) in partnership with China-based MSA Capital (MSA).

The fund – called MEC Ventures – will focus on MENA-based investment opportunities deploying Chinese technologies and business models using Bahrain as a gateway, a statement said.

It will invest across sectors such as e-commerce, fintech and technology ecosystem enablers such as big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing as well as logistics and networking systems.

The fund will enable assets i.e. capital, and technology to flow between the two regions while leveraging MSA’s Chinese portfolio across sectors such as healthcare, big data, gene sequencing, electric vehicles, food delivery, ride hailing, micro mobility, and cross boarder e-commerce, the statement said.

MEC Ventures will be the “first” privately funded and led venture to consolidate Chinese and Middle Eastern capital and technology markets, the companies claimed.

“The combination of high mobile penetration, high ARPU, and a large youth population, coupled with substantial market white space, evidenced by factors such as low e-commerce penetration levels and large unbanked populations, offer an ideal opportunity for investment,” said Ben Harburg, managing partner, MSA Capital.

“We believe that the MENA region is nearing an inflection point that can be accelerated through the adoption of Chinese-inspired mobile-first business models.”

Al Salam Bank-Bahrain, established in 2006, is listed on the Bahrain bourse and Dubai Financial Market. 

Last year, Bahrain closed a $100m ‘Al Waha Fund of Funds’ to encourage VCs to establish local presence and support regional start-ups.

Read: Bahrain closes $100m VC fund of funds

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