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Investcorp's new blockchain fund

Apr 11, 2022
Illustration of a pixelated world map overtop an image of a bitcoin pattern.

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Investcorp, the Bahrain-headquartered alternative asset manager with $40.4 billion of assets under management (as of Dec. 31, according to its website), is raising a blockchain fund.

Why it matters: Investcorp is the largest alternative asset manager in the Middle East, a region vying hard to become a global crypto capital.

Context: Just last month, Binance received approval to operate in Dubai and Bahrain. On Sunday it received approval to operate in Abu Dhabi .

  • Kleiner Perkins and Paradigm in January co-led a $110 million round of funding in Rain Financial, a crypto firm in the region.
  • In March, cryptocurrency exchange ByBit moved its headquarters from Singapore to Dubai, while said it would set up an office there as well.

Details: Dubbed eLydian Lion and led by Investcorp's Abu Dhabi office, the fund will invest in early-stage companies focused on blockchain infrastructure, platforms and exchanges, decentralized finance, and data analytics.

  • Gilbert Kamieniecky, Investcorp’s head of technology private equity, tells Axios that the fund will make about 15 investments over the next 20 months, writing checks for companies in the C, D, and E stages.
  • It will be able to make token investments that are tied to some form of equity, and it has no geographic restrictions.
  • Kamieniecky declined to disclose how  much the fund was looking to raise, saying this was “more about being in the ecosystem.”

Of note: Investcorp's own investor, state-backed Mubadala Investment Company, signaled greater interest in crypto last year.

  • It followed through on that signal with an investment in crypto data company Coin Metrics last month.

Editor's note: This article was updated to reflect a more current AUM figure.

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