Bahrain has closed a $100m fund designed to invest in venture capital firms with a presence in the country.
The Al Waha Fund of Funds is intended to encourage VCs to establish a Bahrain presence and support regional start-ups.
It was announced in May alongside a $1bn energy projects fund and reforms making it easier to set up a business in Bahrain through reduced minimum capital requirements and measures to enable onshore crowd funding.
Fund manager Bahrain Development Bank (BDB) said the advisory committee met for the first time last week to close the fund and approve the allocation of $35m to partners including Mumtalakat, National Bank of Bahrain, Batelco Group, Tamkeen and BDB itself.
“One of the key constraints on the development of the startup 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 fund chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa.
The closing follows the opening of the country’s financial technology co-working space FinTech Bay in February and the unveiling of a regulatory sandbox last year to allow fintech firms to test their concepts.