Iraq Islamic Bank (IIB), the country’s first Islamic bank established in 1992, has partnered with global investment company MSA Novo to support Iraqi start-ups and contribute to the development of Iraq’s digital landscape.
The two entities, along with London-based firm YAG Capital as the senior advisor for the partnership, launched a tech fund that focuses investments in core logistics and payments infrastructure layers, consumer technology platforms and enterprise enablers.
The investment vehicle, which aims to fund, build and mentor tech entrepreneurs and start-ups, is said to be the first of its kind in the country, and has the largest pool of capital ever aggregated for investment into the technology ecosystem of Iraq. It has already co-led the most extensive funding round in Iraqi tech start-up history with superapp Baly, a statement read.
The partnership leverages the local market knowledge and execution capabilities of IIB and the global experience and technical capabilities of MSA Novo. The venture capital firm, which has main offices in Singapore and China, has also worked on other Islamic fintech companies, including the UAE’s Tabby, Pakistan’s QisstPay and Egypt’s Cassbana and Thndr.
“By collaborating (with our partners) on this initiative to support local businesses, we will strengthen the economy, generate employment, stimulate innovation and add value to the SME sector, the backbone of the local economy. We are well placed to comprehend the challenges faced by local entrepreneurs in the volatile market, and we will guide, support and create added value to ensure their ventures are fruitful,” said Ahmed W Ahmed, the chairman of IIB.
Yazen Abu Gulal, the chairman of YAG Capital, added: “This partnership will have many tangible advantages for the Iraqi digital economy, including increased efficiency, better productivity, reduced costs, improved communication and transparency.”