Bahrain Gets Another US$100 Mil Fund, This Time Specifically for Fintech Startups8. October 2018
Earlier this year, Bahrain Development Bank launched its Al Wafa fund of funds, with USD100 million available for tech startups in Bahrain. Now, the Economic Development Board (EDB) is also launching a fund worth USD100 million, but this time specifically catered to the nascent but promising fintech startup scene.
To be announced soon, the fund will be raised privately and could be another stepping stone to cultivating the funding ecosystem for startup growth within the country—and provide crucial cashflow to fintech startups that are known to struggle for money throughout their life cycle.
It will remain to be seen if this funding will cater towards startups with international scaling potential, or if the fund would be more geared towards fintech firms solving specific problems unique to the Bahrain or UAE region.
Bahrain Development Bank earlier this year also raised USD100 million for its Al Waha fund of funds in a bid to grow the tech sector in the Bahrain region. The introduction of a fintech-specific fund of the same amount could be a boon for the region’s local fintech scene.
The EDB Has a Keen Interest in Fintech
Beyond this upcoming fund, the EDM in Bahrain has also undertaken the Bahrain Fintech Bay project, which would become a plug and play hub and incubator for fintech startups in the sector.
It is a 10,000 square feet co-working space dedicated to fintech, a collaboration between the board, governmental bodies, financial institutions, venture capital, and many other interested parties. It is said to be one of the biggest of its kind in the middle east.
Slowly, it seems like the EDB is gearing up to hand-hold fintech startups from the ground-up, starting with a space for them to work, incubation, and all the way to funding. This means that the board sees huge fintech potential for tech startups in the region, and even has a specific eye for Islamic fintech.
Some nations experience their fintech boom through government intervention, while others grow more organically. Opinions are often split on which is better for the tech scene in a region. Bahrain’s scene stands out because while the EDB has its government affiliations, is still considered a public advocacy body. The long-term impact will remain to be seen.
Featured image via Bahrain Economic Development Board