TURN8, the seed accelerator for innovative entrepreneurs initiated by DP World and powered by i360, held its second annual investor Demo Day on June 21 2014 in Dubai. As President and CEO of i360 and the newest General Partner of Fenox Venture Capital, Kamal Hassan heads the accelerator program based in Dubai. Hassan explains, TURN8 selects promising young startups from around the globe with the “aim to inject entrepreneurial know-how and accelerate commercialise-able ideas to market” over the course of 4 months. Among the 450 startups that applied in Round 2, 5 were chosen from 5 different countries (Egypt, Australia, India, Georgia, and Indonesia) to pitch for investments ranging from $250,000 and $370,000.
At this year’s Demo Day, General Partner, Brent Traidman was invited to deliver the keynote speech where he spoke on topics ranging from HealthTech to Global OTT (over-the-top) messaging services such as WhatsApp and WeChat. Traidman also shared with the audience that Fenox Venture Capital is raising a $100M fund of which 25 percent will be invested into regional MENA start-ups over the next decade. The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm has already committed $10M and aims to raise the rest of the amount by January 2015, mainly from Asia and North America.
Following the presentations of Demo Day, Brent said, “I was impressed with the quality and diverse group of companies in this round, which were of similar caliber to Silicon Valley start-ups in the United States. Some of them offered a better investment with lower valuations. We are delighted to be involved in the regional entrepreneur ecosystem and hope to see more great companies emerge.” The UAE and larger MENA region is also attracting government players. Riyadh Capital, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest banks, said this month that it would start a $1 billion (Dh979.2m) riyal fund for new technology companies in the region.