Initiative to Highlight Opportunities for Investors Seeking Share in Region’s Rising Tech Start-up Ecosystem
Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) announced the activation of a number of initiatives with 500 Startups, a global venture capital seed fund, to help the region’s rising technology start-up scene. These initiatives are the result of an MOU signed between QSTP’s parent organisation, Qatar Foundation Research & Development (QF R&D), and 500 Startups earlier this year.
As per the MOU, QF R&D is working with 500 Startups through the 500 Startups MENA Fund, known as 500 Falcons, which achieved a first closing earlier this month. Looking to invest in 100 to 150 companies and keeping a reserve follow-on investment, the 500 Falcons fund will focus on early-stage startups in the MENA region, MENA diaspora founders, and non-MENA founders targeting MENA countries.
In addition, QSTP and 500 Startups launched a new regional accelerator, Doha Dojo, which brings the coveted 500 Startups Series A Accelerator Program to the MENA region. The programme will run once a year in Doha, accepting a limited number of regional tech-startups with a ‘product market fit’ milestone in their startup development lifecycle, received funding from ‘500 Falcons’, and are ready to scale up their business.
The first batch of nine companies from across the Arab world will showcase their tech products at a special ‘Investors Day’ organised by QSTP this Tuesday, 23 May at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). The event will serve as an opportunity for participants to build bridges with potential investors from around the Arab world.
The ‘Investors Day’ will also feature six new startup ‘spinoffs’ from QF’s Research-to-Startup (RTS) programme launched earlier this year by QSTP in partnership with Wasabi Global Ventures, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), and QF’s Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (IPTT) office. The RTS is designed to be a smooth launch-pad of startups that leverage technologies developed by research and academic institutes in Doha.
Dr Hamad Al Ibrahim, QF R&D Executive Vice President said that Qatar Foundation’s mission to support innovation is the main drive behind their partnership with 500 Startups.
I believe this is the beginning of a new era for tech-startups in the region. We endeavour to create enough momentum to spur progress and empower our youth to excel with the world’s tech entrepreneurship scene.’
Dr Maher Hakim, QSTP Executive Director added that their partnerships with global ecosystem builders are part of a strategy to integrate Qatar’s young tech entrepreneurship ecosystem within the regional and global ones.
The impact of these partnerships is already being felt as 15 promising tech startups will pitch their ideas and business visions to investors from Qatar and the region, in the focused Investors Day. This event is designed to broaden the horizons and opportunities of local and regional tech-startups.’
The Investors Day will also feature a series of side activities to help participants build lasting business relationships. The side events will include round-table discussion on the status of venture capital and corporate strategic investment and funding in the MENA region, and on exploring ways to further strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the wider region.
To learn more about Investors Day, visit the QSTP website at qstp.org.qa.