Photo credit: From left to right: Ivo Detelinov, Vice President & Head of PE Fund, Riyadh Taqnia Fund, Hasan Haider, Partner, 500 startups, Joe Peterson , CEO of Sure Inc, Promoth Manghat, CEO, UAE Exchange, Nicholas Watson, Managing Director, Naseba
Economically speaking, 2017 has been a rollercoaster year. From political fallout in the currency markets, to below target growth and continued depreciation in the energy markets, good news has been hard to come by.
One area of promise has been the investment arena. While traditional income sources may be running dry, agile and forward-thinking companies now find themselves driven by a desire for change – and funded by a growing number of likeminded entrepreneurs, innovators and trailblazers.
Figures published by Deloitte conclude that, across the region in 2016, 244 transactions were disclosed, the highest level since 2008. Of these, the UAE accounted for 62% of all private equity investment by value and 34% of all deals in the MENA region by volume.
Dubai has long been hailed as the regional capital of private equity and VC. The success stories of such indigenous brands as Glambox and Careem only fuel investor appetites, but the underlying factors of their success aren’t entirely dependent on the popularity of the products or services they provide.
The UAE’s success as a regional hub for investment, is founded in its 80% smart phone penetration rate – which cyclically acts as the foundation for many startup business models – versatile banking products, and supportive regulations, including government backed incubators.
As many as 42% of the region’s startups are based in the country as a result, compared to 9% in Lebanon. Crucially, in 2016 one-third of all MENA region investors and 19 venture capitalists called the UAE home.
When the 3rd MENA Private Equity and Venture Capital Summit (PEVC summit) took place in October, more than 150 investors and 30 innovative companies gathered to share this momentum.
Organised by Naseba, a deal facilitation company present in the region for more than 15 years, the summit was designed to facilitate access to global investment opportunities, technologists and game changers.
Delegates heard from such leading voices as Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist, Forextime; Anthony Hobeika, CEO of Mena Research Partners; Irfan Raouf Malik, Head of Investments and Business Development, Tharawat Holding; and Husni Khuffash, Chief Business Development Officer, Almentor.net.
John Sharp, Co-founding partner, Hatcher+ explained how AI, machine learning, and automation transformed his VC firm and Saif AlJaibeji, Co-founder of Ras Al Khaimah Incubator and Accelerator, led a panel discussion on the shifting investment landscape.
The day concluded with an Elevator Pitch session, with 10 startups each delivering a three-minute, Ted style pitch, to an advisory committee composed of: Trey Goede, Head of portfolio at Aramco Wae’d; Hasan Haider, Partner at 500 Startups; Ivo Detelinov, Vice President, Head of Private Equity Funds, Riyad Capital; and Dr. Philip Boigner, CEO of Innovation Development Oman (IDO).
Sure, Inc won best pitch for Breakthrough Technology 2017, and Dermapen, won Best Elevator Pitch 2017.
The ground-breaking work of these startups and individuals has been facilitated by a perfect storm of great ideas, sound investors, wise mentors and federal level support throughout the entire business cycle.
At this seminal time, there is a clear demand for investors of all types to find their niche in the regional investment and enterprise landscape, and for those with great solutions to bring them to market. Together we can build a knowledge-based economy, driven by technology and innovation, and capable of thriving in a post-oil era.
Visit the website to find out more about the Naseba Private Equity and Venture Capital Summit in Saudi Arabia.
Alternatively, you can click here to submit your business case if you are looking to leverage the summit to meet strategic investors and commercial partners.