Venture Capital Bank (VCBank) – Pioneering Islamic Investment Banking
Venture Capital Bank is an Islamic investment bank that operates in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Known as the first of its kind in the region, VCBank offers venture capital investment opportunities that drive business growth and risk-adjusted ROI. The bank is mainly active in four investment areas: venture capital, real estate, private equity, and financial advisory services.
Overview of Venture Capital Bank
In November 2005, VCBank announced that it would be the first to incorporate venture capital investment activities in a Shari’ah-compliant investment format. This added an unprecedented new dimension to the global Islamic banking industry. The company vision is to be the foremost organization of its kind and to support the social and economic development of the region by driving business growth. By 2008, VCBank posted a net profit of USD 47 million and achieved an ROI of 27%.
VCBank operates under an Islamic banking license that was provided by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The bank benefits from the financial backing of a prominent group of regional shareholders and offers a comprehensive range of services and investment opportunities to clients around the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa, and GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arad Emirates, Oman and Bahrain. VCBank’s headquarters are located in Bahrain.
VCBank was the principal backer of a London real estate investment project by HFF Real Estate in 2018. The project involved an investment of over USD 450 million in a 76-unit real estate development in a high-end suburb of London. Earlier that year, VCBank acquired a 69% stake in the development of the Royal Hospital for Women in Riffa, Bahrain. After the development was completed, VCBank announced its exit and sold its shares to Amanat Holdings for USD 39 million.
Other major investments made by VCBank include:
• The Lounge – A venture capital investment in service offices in Bahrain.
• SVCIC – A private equity investment in a financial company in Saudi Arabia.
• Challenger Limited – A private equity investment in the Libyan oil and gas industry.
• Al Khobar Specialist Hospital – A venture capital investment Saudi Arabia’s healthcare industry.
• MENA SHIPCO – A private equity investment in the Greek shipping industry.
• The World – A real estate investment in the UAE.
• OBA Makarna – A private equity investment in the food and beverage industry in Turkey.
VCBank in the News
In November 2018, the Associated Press featured a press release about a massive real estate investment made possible by VCBank. It was announced that HFF Real Estate received financing of over USD 450 million for Regent’s Crescent, a residential project in the Marylebone section of London. VCBank was named as a principal lender in the deal. In 2010, Trade Arabia reported that VCBank’s net profit for a nine-month period surged to USD 15 million, a massive incline from the previous year’s loss of USD 10.3 million and the start of an upward trajectory in the bank’s success that continues until today.