500 Startups MENA gearing up to host investor day

Silicon-Valley based 500 Startups, the most active early-stage Venture Capital Fund in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, has announced it is gearing up to host Investor Day, which marks the culmination of 500 Startups MENA Dojo Series A ‘growth acceleration’ program.

This high-profile event will be held at the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, Kuwait on 10th May 2018.  Venture capitalists, VIP delegates, government officials, accelerators, financial organisations and entrepreneurs from across the MENA region are expected to attend.

The key sponsors for the event include: Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Program Partners; Kuwait Achievers and Future Opportunities (KAFO) and Sirdab Lab as Organizing Sponsors; and Faith Capital, Microsoft and Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre as Event Sponsors.

The keynote and panel speakers for the event will feature Venture Capitalists and Investors from across the MENA region, including Hasan Haider and Sharif El-Badawi, Partners of 500 Startups.

12 startups who were hand-picked and mentored by a team of international experts from 500 Startups will pitch their business concepts as part of an exciting fast-paced agenda. The aim of this high-profile event is to showcase the latest and greatest startups that have successfully completed their mentorship sessions and help them to pitch their business concept to the investors to raise the next round of funding.

Commenting on the announcement, Hasan Haider, Partner at 500 Startups said: “We are eagerly looking forward to host Investor Day and would like to thank our sponsors for their invaluable support.  Our strategy, at 500 Startups is to bring our Silicon Valley honed Series A program to the MENA region, and equip our invested companies with international-grade skills, knowledge and perspective to operate at a pace that will help them dominate on a global scale. To this effect, the program was taught by a 500 Startups team of growth experts from all over the world, all of whom are former entrepreneurs themselves, having built and grown technology ventures, many of whom have successful exits. 

“It has been an exciting journey over the past few weeks preparing for the pitch process and delighted by the drive and determination shown by the startups; the growth improvements which has surpassed our expectations yet again. We are very excited for them to share their progress at Demo Day and are confident that we have found more future unicorns to add to our portfolio, he added.”

The second batch of new startups who received up to US$ 150,000 funding from 500 Startups MENA fund include:

  • Eyewa, online glasses and contact lenses retailer
  • GymNadz, fitness app for millennials
  • Keno, on-demand car wash app
  • La Reina, marketplace for renting dresses
  • at home doc, medical service app
  • Melltoo, second hand goods marketplace app
  • Mr Draper, personalized clothing stylists for men
  • MyU, education platform for parents, teachers and students
  • Nawah, scientific outsourced laboratory service
  • Plantshop, online nursery commerce
  • SocialDice, HR platform for recruiters
  • VBOUT, marketing technology platform

The MENA Dojo Series A growth hacking program was held in two modules for the 12 seed and post-seed regional companies in Kuwait. The first module was held from April 1-12 and the second module is currently underway from April 29-9 May.  The topics discussed during the intense training program involved developing a scale-able growth machine to boost exponential growth. 

With the first investment in the MENA region in 2012, 500 Startups has since committed to investments in over 80 startups across the region. With the launch of 500 Falcons, a MENA focused fund in 2017, 500 Startups plans to invest in approximately 100-150 companies over a three-year period in addition to follow-on investments into the top performing companies.

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