BECO Capital, a regional venture capital firm focused on technology investments in MENA (Middle East and North Africa), has always believed in the region’s entrepreneurs.
Dany Farha, CEO and cofounder at BECO Capital, shares his ten reasons why investors should look to the technology space in MENA today:
1. Participation in the next revolution: The internet, smartphones and all the opportunities that they bring, from AI to autonomous transport to IOT, we are at the cusp of a revolution akin to the agricultural or industrial, with the internet being what electricity was for urbanization and rail tracks was for transport.
2. Ecosystem readiness: The MENA ecosystem has matured enough to the point where we can start investing the appropriate amounts in early stage tech companies to drive successful returns as per our global peers.
3. Highest quality jobs: Technology in 2014 became the top paying sector in the US, beating out oil & gas, consulting and financial services, that had held this top spot for decades – the trend is clear: Tech is the new oil!
4. Sustainable job creation: It takes a one-time investment of $30,000 in early stage tech companies through VCs to create one job on average, without requiring further handouts or state subsidies! These jobs are highly rewarding, highly paid jobs that support families and provide dignity and stability.
5. Strategic assets: We need to keep the ownership of our jewels, which in many cases are our future strategic assets. Could you imagine if our oil conglomerates and banks were foreign owned?
6. Innovation is global: Technology is a great leveler of the playing field. Coding can be learned online at home. Innovation will come from the most creative minds and MENA will participate in this revolution with the appropriate funding
7. Local is king: Tech companies require mission-driven teams solving large local problems for a large MENA audience that requires a regional rollout to create true defensibility
8. Digital DNA: Traditional businesses will mostly miss the digital revolution, and if they try to build from within, will fail due to a lack of digital DNA – digital entrepreneurs must build these companies and require funding to do so
9. Market size: MENA’s GCC, Egypt and Levant have populations of over 160m people, who are amongst the youngest and most digitally connected in the world, with relatively high GDPs per capita to support multi-billion dollar businesses. The tipping point for an economic bloc or region is 50m broadband subscribers – this is what is required to create critical mass. We’ve surpassed that in MENA and are still growing at double digits
10. Financial returns: The financial returns will be commensurate with the technological revolution currently underway in our region