MENA region gets its first FinTech-focused fund

VentureSouq, a venture capital firm based in Dubai, has closed its MENA FinTech Fund I on $50m, which marks the first fund of its type in the region.  

The investment vehicle will focus on early-stage FinTech and SaaS companies in the Middle East and North Africa region and Pakistan. VentureSouq is particularly interested in companies within the payment infrastructure, alternative credit, digital banking, PropTech, InsurTech and personal financial management.

MENA FinTech I is backed by Jada Fund of Funds program, Saudi Venture Capital Company, Bahrain’s Al Waha Fund of Funds, UAE’s DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, and Mubadala Investment Company. It also received capital from multinational conglomerates such as OFC, the Middle East investment arm of The Olayan Group.

VentureSouq general partner Maan Eshgi said, “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.”

The fund has already been tapped to make a handful of investments. VentureSouq has invested into buy now, pay later platform Tabby, B2B marketplace Sary and PropTech platform Huspy.

VentureSouq general partner Suneel Gokhale said, “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.”

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