China’s MSA Capital, Bahrain’s Al Salam Bank set up $50m venture fund

World Trade Center, Manama, Bahrain. Photo: Charles-Adrien Fournier/unsplash

China’s MSA Capital and Al Salam Bank-Bahrain launched a $50-million venture capital fund on Wednesday, using Bahrain as a hub to invest in sectors such as e-commerce and financial technology in the Middle East.

As part of efforts to tackle its deficit and diversify the economy, Bahrain has been trying to re-establish itself as a regional finance centre after losing ground to Dubai, and has been marketing itself as a financial technology hub for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The fund is the first venture capital project between Chinese and Gulf money, MSA and Al Salam said. It is also the first formed under Bahrain‘s Investment Limited Partnerships Law launched in 2017, a structure commonly used globally for such funds.

The fund also plans to target big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and logistics and networking systems, it said in a statement.

“We are at a turning point in terms of where our region is for technology and capital flows and we would like to be a first mover in that space,” Al Salam CEO Rafik Nayed told Reuters. “We hope to work on fund two very quickly.”

The $50 million MEC Ventures was raised from seed money, Chinese entrepreneurs and institutional investors and family offices from Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

MSA Capital has existing investments in Chinese entrepreneurs who have taken the Chinese model into the MENA region, Managing Partner Ben Harburg said.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.