Last year was marked by a pandemic that halted global economic growth and forced many countries and economies to the brink of collapse; and no one is sure yet when the rebound will firmly start and how long it will take us to get back to “normal” economic growth.
Like the rest of the world, the Gulf States have put in place policies to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus but unlike many of their emerging market peers, most Gulf nations have the fiscal cushion to support their economies through business-friendly policies that attract the attention of global investors. However, large reserves were not enough to fend off decline during Covid-19 and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the Gulf States’ combined economic output to decline 7.1 per cent this year.
The IMF believes that the GCC as a whole will rebound by 2.1 per cent in 2021, buoyed by a 3 per cent surge in non-oil growth. Non-oil growth is precisely what the GCC need – in fact regional countries must diversify away from oil if they are to achieve sustainable economic growth at all.
The good news is that for many GCC states this is not new – before the crisis, many had blueprints for economic diversification, with investments in tourism, science, agri-foods, financial services, and technology. In this article, I will talk about technology and the startup scene in the region.
The MENA region has shown a sustained increase in technology startup funding and it is aggressively becoming one of the best places in the world for blockchain projects to raise funds.
The GCC and the MENA region are undergoing deep economic structural changes with a sustained push to diversify their economies from an over-reliance on oil and energy production to becoming a knowledge economy driven by technology and creativity.
Over the last decade, The Arab world has seen a tremendous jump in the number of success stories in the startup ecosystem; those that have been acquired for millions (or billions) of dollars are a case in point.
Startup founders from all over the world need financial advocates on their side. Raising funds and receiving funding is vital to the growth and success of startups. The time is now ripe for international startups to tap into a pool of highly engaged investors from the MENA region who are actively looking to invest in exciting and promising companies.
The MENA region saw a record of $1 Billion dollars of investment in startups in 2020, despite the effects of the pandemic.
Total funding was 13% up from 2019, although total deal count was down by 13% to 496 transactions. This increase in funding was driven in part by an increase in larger-ticket investments and a decrease in deals worth less than $100,000.
Agora Group has been at the heart of the startup ecosystem in this region. We have helped many entrepreneurs meet the right investors and partners and raise funds. We work a lot with disruptive technologies like Blockchain, AI, Robotics, Big Data, etc.
We have a network of over 1000 investors from the region and over 5000 investors worldwide and we use a matching system that maximizes the chances of raising funds. We are looking forward to our 6th edition of the Global Blockchain Congress on Feb 9th and the inaugural Global DeFi Congress on Feb 10th in Dubai. We are hosting more than 100 Blockchain Investors, 30 speakers, 200 delegates and more than 20 Blockchain and DeFi projects from all over the world.
The event is the optimal anti-conference in the way it is organized and in its aims and objectives. While normal conferences are volume-driven and their only KPI for success is the number of delegates, our congress is a very exclusive event that is closed to the public and is only attended by invited and pre-screened investors and projects. The essence of the congress is to arrange pre-scheduled and pre-arranged one on one meetings between the investors and the projects during the event. Imagine when you have 100 vetted investors, all of them looking to invest in blockchain projects and only a few, hand-picked blockchain and DeFi projects looking to meet investors and raise funds and at the middle of this set-up, you have Agora’s matching algorithm that ensures that the right investors meet with the right projects. This is our recipe of success.
We look forward to seeing everyone on Feb 9 th and 10 th and if you can’t make it this time, make sure you book your spot for the 7th edition in June 2021.