Bahrain-based Al Waha fund of funds has confirmed a "substantial" investment in San Francisco-based venture capital (VC) firm Lumia Capital.
The Lumia Capital Fund II, launched in June 2019, is aiming to raise $100-150 million.
The partnership between the two funds aims to support growth of Bahrain's entrepreneurship ecosystem and enable Bahraini startups to establish international relations with Lumia’s portfolio companies based outside of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).
“The investment in Lumia Capital brings startup-centric Silicon Valley to the Gulf, and follows closely on from our investment in China’s MSA Capital," said Areije Al Shakar, fund director at Al Waha Fund of Funds." With its substantial pool of tech talent, startup capital and digitally minded consumers, Bahrain is attracting interest from all corners of the globe.”
Launched in 2018 by the government, the $100 million Al Waha fund aims to nurture the growth of venture capital (VC) investment across the Mena region, helping international organisations enter the Middle East and portfolio companies that are looking to expand their foothold. To date Al Waha has committed 58 per cent of the fund investment to a range of VC firms including BECO Capital, Middle East Venture Partners, 500 Startups, Finch Capital and Chinese fund manager MSA Capital.
Lumia was the first VC to invest in ride-hailing app Careem and most recently led the $60 million Series B funding round for Dubai-based cloud kitchen platform Kitopi.
“Bahrain is fast establishing itself as a key tech hub in Mena, and is an ideal base for our regional operations," said Christopher Rogers, partner at Lumia Capital. "We are delighted to join the Kingdom’s thriving ecosystem, and bring with us a significant global funding network which we can prepare local companies to access; a large group of global expansion-oriented advisors; a team with experience building a multi-billion startup, negotiating and closing thousands of transactions and serving on many public and private boards.”