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 evening were devoted to networking and suhur (the last meal before sunrise) and the buzz of conversation in the room was constant. Many of the founders reported requests for follow-up meetings and some even received their first investment offers in those early morning hours. Many attendees left the event saying it was the best Demo Day they had ever attended.
The Batch 1 companies spanned a number of countries across the MENA region including Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Palestine, and the United Arab Emirates. The sectors represented by the batch included AgTech, Developer Tools, eCommerce, EdTech, FinTech, HealthTech, HRTech, Security, Transportation, Travel/Hospitality and Social. Additionally, we are very proud to share that a remarkable 37% of the companies had at least one female founder!²
On behalf 500 Startups, Demo Day speakers included General Partner³ Tim Chae, 500 Falcons regional fund manager Sharif El-Badawi, and the event MC Ahmed AlJabreen. Head of Misk Innovation, Deemah AlYahya and Entrepreneurship Growth Director Osama Alraee both also spoke on behalf of their organization.
The Misk 500 Demo Day was the conclusion of a 16-week partner accelerator program that was a collaboration between 500 Falcons, 500 Startups Ecosystem Team, and Misk Innovation. The program pulled mentors from all across the 500 networks and was truly a team effort, championed in part by more than 20 visiting mentors from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Bali, Canada, Portugal, and Germany. Over 50 hours of lectures were delivered, and an astounding 512 one-to-one office hours were conducted with founders from the 19 participating startups.⁴ Special thanks to the resident team, Accelerator Manager Nagi Salloum, Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Tash Jefferies, Tristan Pollock, and Marcus Sandberg, Program Coordinator, Omar Alsubaie and Program Operations, Danyelle Pollock. Their efforts over the course of the four months of the program ensured that the founders were part of a supportive community.
The 500 Misk Accelerator program is part of the foundation that has been laid by 500 Startups and Misk, in conjunction with the Venture Capital Unlocked and Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers (BAM) programs that were held in April by 500’s Education arm. At 500 Startups, we believe that a combined investor, founder, and ecosystem education ensures that all of the key stakeholders have the right tools to support and foster a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.
See more from the Misk 500 Demo Day on Twitter.
¹ Based on internal estimates as of May 21 2019, which have not been independently verified.
² Based on internal estimates as of May 21 2019, which have not been independently verified.
³ The title “general partner” is used herein solely to signify an individual’s status as an investment professional or senior administrator. Any such individual has no technical legal status as a constituent partner of any entity, and shall not be construed as being a “general partner” or constituent partner of any partnership or other entity.
⁴ Based on internal estimates as of May 21 2019, which have not been independently verified.
About 500 Startups:
500 Startups is a venture capital firm on a mission to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. It is one of the most active venture capital firms in the world.
Since its inception in Silicon Valley, 500 Startups has invested in over 2,200 companies via its 4 global funds and 15 thematic funds dedicated to either specific geographic markets or verticals. Its 100+ team members are located in 20 countries around the world in order to support the 500 Startups global portfolio of investments which spans more than 74 countries.
Notable 500 portfolio companies include: Twilio (NYSE: TWLO), Credit Karma, SendGrid (acquired by Twilio), Grab, GitLab (acquired by Microsoft), Bukalapak, Canva, Udemy, TalkDesk, Intercom, Ipsy, MakerBot (acquired by SSYS), Wildfire (acquired by Google), and Viki (acquired by Rakuten).
Beyond providing seed capital, 500 supports startups via their Seed Accelerator Programs which emphasize digital marketing, customer acquisition, lean startup practices, and fundraising for pre-Seed companies. 500 Startups further contributes to the development of innovation ecosystems by supporting startups and investors through educational programs, events, conferences, and partnerships with corporations and governments around the world.
500 STARTUPS PROGRAMS, INVESTOR EDUCATION SERVICES, STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP CONSULTING SERVICES AND EVENTS ARE OPERATED BY 500 STARTUPS INCUBATOR, L.L.C. (TOGETHER WITH ITS AFFILIATES, “500 STARTUPS”) AND THE FUNDS ADVISED BY 500 STARTUPS MANAGEMENT COMPANY, L.L.C. DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN ANY REVENUE GENERATED BY THESE ACTIVITIES. SUCH PROGRAMS AND SERVICES ARE PROVIDED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY CONTENT PROVIDED AS PART OF ANY SUCH PROGRAMS, SERVICES OR EVENTS BE CONSTRUED AS INVESTMENT, LEGAL, TAX OR ACCOUNTING ADVICE BY 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES.
THIS POST IS INTENDED SOLELY TO PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING THE MISK 500 BATCH 1 DEMO DAY AND 500 STARTUPS. ALL CONTENT PROVIDED IN THIS POST IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL OR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. 500 STARTUPS MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS AS TO THE ACCURACY OR INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST AND WHILE 500 STARTUPS HAS TAKEN REASONABLE STEPS TO ENSURE THAT THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS POST IS ACCURATE AND UP-TO-DATE, NO LIABILITY CAN BE ACCEPTED FOR ANY ERROR OR OMISSIONS.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY INFORMATION OR CONTENT IN THIS POST, BE CONSIDERED AS AN OFFER TO SELL OR SOLICITATION OF INTEREST TO PURCHASE ANY SECURITIES ADVISED BY 500 STARTUPS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES OR REPRESENTATIVES. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANYTHING HEREIN BE CONSTRUED AS FUND MARKETING MATERIALS BY PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS CONSIDERING AN INVESTMENT INTO ANY 500 STARTUPS INVESTMENT FUND.