VentureSouq launches MENA region’s first fintech fund
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VentureSouq launches MENA region’s first fintech fund

VentureSouq launches MENA region’s first fintech fund

The $50m fund will invest in early-stage fintech and SaaS companies across the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan

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The UAE-based based venture capital firm VentureSouq (VSQ) announced the launch of its MENA FinTech Fund I, the region’s first sector specific fund focused on fintech across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Pakistan.

The $50m VentureSouq fund will invest in early-stage fintech and SaaS companies and focus on key subsectors including payments infrastructure, alternative credit, digital banking, proptech, insurtech and personal financial management. It will also reportedly work closely with innovative regional entrepreneurs that are disrupting financial services.

VentureSouq MENA FinTech Fund I is backed by powerhouses from across the region including Jada Fund of Funds programme and Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds, UAE’s DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, and Mubadala Investment Company, as well as multinational conglomerates such as OFC, the Middle East investment arm of The Olayan Group.

Established in 2016, VentureSouq has operations in the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and has invested in over 200 companies worldwide.

The fund has been actively deploying capital into startups across MENA and Pakistan, including regional ‘buy now pay later’ Tabby, Saudi-based B2B marketplace Sary and proptech platform Huspy. UAE-based investments include Baraka, Flexxpay, FinTech infrastructure company NymCard and digital bank Verity and in Pakistan, digital ledger platform Creditbook, e-commerce financing platform PostEx and salary advance startup Abhi Finance.

It has also invested into Egypt-based transportation platform Trella, gig economy financial platform Dayra and North Africa-based super-app Yassir.

Speaking about the latest $50m fintech fund, VentureSouq general partner Suneel Gokhale said, “Prior to the MENA FinTech fund, we were early investors alongside some of the biggest global VCs in a number of fintech companies, including high-profile ones such as Jeeves, Khatabook, Belvo, FamPay, Vouch, Point, Atomic and Fondeadora.

“In 2020, we started to reflect on what fintech adoption in the MENA region was going to look like and we dove right in. Based on what we have seen in other emerging markets that we have invested in, we believe it is still early days in terms of the fintech ecosystem in the MENA region and we are really excited about the overall opportunity set,” noted Gokhale.

VentureSouq general partner Maan Eshgi added: “As the first vertical venture fund in MENA, it was critical to assemble the right LP base. We needed partners that would both understand where the region currently sits on the evolutionary curve, but also that could help our portfolio companies navigate the challenging regulatory and funding terrain in MENA. For us to get the outcomes we need, our portfolio companies need to access not just a single market, but the entire MENA region. We believe we have the right stakeholders to help make access to that broader market a reality.”

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