Monday, March 25, 2019
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500 Startups keen to invest in Arabic web content

500 Startups keen to invest in Arabic web content

Ailyn Agonia
SILICON Valley-based venture capital firm 500 Startups is keen to invest in initiatives related to Arabic web content given the huge opportunity in the field, according to Hassan Haider, Venture Partner at 500 Startups.
Speaking to the local media on the sidelines of a recent event hosted by Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), Haider said the regional fund named 500 Falcons set up by 500 Startups for MENA amounts to $300 million and around 150 to 200 investments will be made in the next three to four years.
Qatar Foundation (QF) Research & Development (R&D) has recently announced that it has joined 500 Falcons.
"We are looking for partners in the region that we will be able to work with well and would allow us to do a lot of our programmes that we do in other places here in the region. QF and QSTP are among the perfect partners for us. In terms of what we are looking for, one of the areas we are going to focus on is Arabic content since it only makes up two percent of the web content. We are looking at investing in multi-channel networks and educational content," he said.
Another focus area of the 500 Startups MENA Fund, according to Haider, is initiatives related to e-commerce and frontier technologies. He said the region has a lot of unique technologies.
Haider also underscored the potential of startups coming from Qatar because of the orientation of the country to think beyond the local market, which, he said, was among the common mistakes of some countries in the region.
"Being a small market, Qatar encourages startups to think broader and bigger right from the beginning while other countries tend to focus on the local market before deciding to go beyond. Qatar thinks of expansion in the regional market right from the outset," he remarked.
"In terms of specific startups, Meddy is one of our first investments in Qatar. The online platform allows you to find the best doctors in Qatar through reviews. We are looking at few other startups as well. The only thing is we will be able to invest when QSTP and other partners support startups and get them to a level where it makes sense for us to invest in it," Haider said.
He also said that while they acknowledge good business ideas they put more emphasis on startups that are able to execute or commit to seeing their initiatives to expand and turn into actual business ventures.


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