Jul 9, 2019 On Our Blog

500 Startups & Misk Innovation to Launch Second Batch of the Misk 500 Accelerator Program

Applications are now open for Batch 2 of the Misk 500 Accelerator Program 500 Startups and Misk Innovation will host the second batch of its accelerator program based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to fuel startups throughout the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region.  Batch 2 of the Misk 500 Accelerator Program will bring experts from Silicon Valley and beyond to educate 15-20 early-stage startups from MENA. The program will consist of 14 weeks of mentorship and workshops that will have an emphasis on growth hacking techniques, product design, and fundraising. In addition to the educational component of the program, participants will have a unique opportunity to make long-lasting connections with investors and corporate partners from the region.  Following the …


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May 21, 2019 On Our Blog

Misk 500 MENA Accelerator Celebrates First Demo Day

Its been one week since the Misk 500 Batch 1 Demo Day and we’re still smiling. The energy in the room in Riyadh, on May 13th, was palpable. The 19 companies were on FIRE and rose to the occasion to give the best versions of their pitches. Due to the observance of Ramadan in the region, the event began at 10 PM and concluded at 3 AM. While originally planned to be an event for an audience of 200, the final attendance at the KAFD Conference Center included over 300 investors and guests.¹ Also in attendance were representatives of both local and international media to cover this groundbreaking collaboration between 500 and Misk Innovation. The last two hours of the …


Apr 18, 2019 On Our Blog

500 Startups Launches “Falcon’s Nest” Pitch Competition in Kuwait

In partnership with Ahli United Bank, 500 Startups is proud to announce the first of its kind pitch competition in Kuwait—Falcon’s Nest. Kuwaiti startups from across the country are flocking to earn the position as the top national startup. Falcon’s Nest is an opportunity for local startups to secure a chance to pitch their company to Silicon Valley venture capital firm 500 Startups along with prominent Kuwaiti business executives who will give their candid feedback on the quality of their businesses and presentations. Open to Kuwaiti startups of all stages, participants will be selected to pitch in a “Shark Tank” style competition on the 21st of April. Startups can apply online from today or show up early for a limited …


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Apr 17, 2019 On Our Blog

Announcing the 3rd Batch of the MENA Dojo

Continuing our MENA Series A Programs 500 continues to work hard to bring the best industry knowledge and mentoring from our Silicon Valley-based global network to our programs in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. For this reason, we are pleased to announce the startups participating in the 3rd Batch of our regional Series A Program, the MENA Dojo. The MENA Dojo program is part of a continued partnership with Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) which was launched in the MENA region 2 years ago. We are also honored to welcome Ahli United Bank in Kuwait as our new strategic partner in this year’s program alongside Zain as our gold partner.  Other partners include Niu, KAFO and …


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Mar 25, 2019 On Our Blog

500 Falcons Final Close Oversubscribed at $33 million!

We are happy to announce that we’ve had an oversubscribed final closing for our first MENA region focused fund, 500 Falcons. We set out to raise a $30 million fund to have a significant impact in the MENA region, and thanks to the support of our Limited Partners we held an oversubscribed final closing for the fund at $33 million. 500 has been an active player, investing in talented entrepreneurs in the MENA region since 2012. We’ve been helping the ecosystem develop, supporting not just founders, but other ecosystem counterparts like investors, governments, and corporations engage effectively with startups in the region. Since our Falcons Fund first close, we have been quite active in the MENA region. Here is a …


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Mar 18, 2019 On Our Blog

Announcing Batch 1 of the Misk 500 MENA Accelerator Program

Six weeks ago, we launched the inaugural batch of the Misk 500 MENA Accelerator Program, bringing the best of our flagship Seed Accelerator program to the MENA region in partnership with Misk Innovation. Targeted at pre-seed companies, the program is structured as a 4-month curriculum focused on helping companies get to product-market fit, as well as preparing them to raise seed funding. Each company received an investment from 500 Falcons upon acceptance into the program. Batch 1 consists of 19 companies spanning a number of sectors and countries across the MENA region including Saudi Arabia (42% of the companies), Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Palestine, and the United Arab Emirates. Sectors represented by the batch include AgTech, B2B, Developer Tools, eCommerce, EdTech, …


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Feb 5, 2019 On Our Blog

Announcing the “MENA Dojo” Series A Program Batch 3 launch

It’s going to be quite busy this year in the MENA region! In line with our objective to help develop the regional ecosystem, we are pleased to announce that we’re opening the applications for the third batch of our annual 500 Startups MENA Dojo Series A Program, in partnership with Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP). The MENA Dojo Series A Program is for startups that have reached a certain level of scale and are likely to raise a Series A in the next six to nine months. We will be bringing in a roster of mentors from our Silicon Valley and global team focused on instilling a growth mindset, growth hacking and marketing techniques. The program is one-to-one mentorship driven, which …


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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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