Feb 4, 2018 On Our Blog

The MENA Ecosystem: The Year Ahead

2017 was a landmark year for the MENA startup ecosystem. That hectic pace of development has continued, even accelerated in the first month of 2018. Having been in the MENA startup space in one form or another since 2007, looking back on what has happened in the past year astonishes me. The rapid pace of development, growth and maturity that took place over the last year is astounding. So, below I wanted to document a few of the main developments I’ve seen from my personal perspective in 2017, which I hope to see continue in 2018. An increasing government focus on entrepreneurship TL;DR – Almost every government across the MENA region has woken up and is actively supporting the startup …


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May 9, 2017 On Our Blog

Announcing 500 Falcons first closing at $15m out of $30m target

  Today, I’m thrilled to announce the first closing of our 500 Startups MENA Fund (aka 500 Falcons) at $15M out of our $30M target. While we have been investing in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region since 2011, including 55 deals in 32 companies for a total of $6M, this is our first fund focused entirely on the Arab world. With this new fund, we plan to invest in approximately 100-150 companies with about half of the fund and reserve the other half for follow-on investment in the top 20% of companies. The fund will focus on early-stage startups in the MENA region, MENA diaspora founders and non-MENA founders targeting MENA. The MENA Team I’m so thrilled …


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Dec 3, 2015 On Our Blog

500 Startups Gives Flight to 500 Falcons, a $30M Middle-East and North Africa Focused Fund

We are excited to break new ground in the MENA region (GCC, Levant and North Africa) with the announcement of our newest regional micro-fund, 500 Falcons.   The fund will extend our goal of building a sustainable funding ecosystem in the region by investing in promising new companies and founders. 500 currently has over 30 existing investments in MENA (including Jamalon, Tamatem, Wuzzuf, Fetchr, Edfa3ly, and Shopgo). 500 Falcons will have a target size of $30M USD and focus on seed stage investments between $50,000-$100,000. We will actively co-invest and syndicate deals with existing funds and angels in the ecosystem, with the goal of investing in 100-200 companies. Investment areas of focus e-commerce and marketplaces video and Arabic content SaaS …


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Nov 11, 2015 On Our Blog

Why the Middle East Needs a Funding Ecosystem

I am a strong believer that entrepreneurship can bring positive change to a region plagued by economic challenges. For the past 5 years I have been working on building the angel investment ecosystem in Bahrain and the broader MENA region. But while much effort has been devoted to building the start-up ecosystem, there is room for improvement when it comes to the funding ecosystem. The Backstory The economic situation in the MENA region today is less than ideal. The World Bank states that the MENA region must create 100 million jobs by 2020 to accommodate the burgeoning youth population below the age of 25. This demographic makes up 60% of the overall population. Oil prices have collapsed, from around $100 …


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