Why Middle East startup scene is important for Europeans

Pubblicato il 07 Mag 2013

ArabNet Digital Summit will be in Dubai on June 24-26 and considering how this kind of events can be important to make the digital startup scene in the Middle East visible to the rest of the world other than underling it’s role as part of the process of the evolution of the economy, the industry and the markets, Startupbusiness asked to Omar Christidis, CEO and founder of ArabNet, to give an overview of the startup scene in the Middle East and to explain why ArabNet Digital Summit is important also for European investors, industries and innovators.

What's happening in the startup scene in the Middle East?

We're seeing rapid growth in the startup scene across the Middle East, and increasing interest in angel investing and acceleration. Driven by the increasing excitement in the sector, successful businessmen from traditional sectors like finance and real estate get interested in angel investing in technology startups.

We've seen new coworking spaces open up in Beirut, Amman, Cairo and Dubai, all in the past 12 months. We are also seeing increasing interest from the telecom operators, like Saudi Telecom and Vodafone Egypt, who have both made a number of recent investments in startups.

Finally, we're seeing established professionals, with 5-10 or more years of business experience, becoming internet entrepreneurs – such experienced entrepreneurs have the skills, relationships and financial resources that give them a much better chance of succeeding.

Why should the ArabNet Summit be interesting to European startups, investors, and industry?

The Middle East digital market is one of the fastest growing in the world. Interest in digital is increasing across all sectors, from banks to real estate developers to hospitals, and all of these big players are looking for companies – from social media agencies to mobile app developers – to support them with their transition to digital.

The market represents a great expansion platform for mature digital business in Europe – 300 million people who speak the same language and have similar culture, and that are underserved in terms of digital content, services, applications.

The region is already seeing expansion by European and Asian players – for example, Yemeksepeti, Turkey's leading online food delivery company, recently opened in Dubai, and Zomato, one of India's leading restaurant review sites, also recently started operations in Doha and Dubai.

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