500 Startups And Misk Innovation Launch Accelerator Program In MENA

Press Release

Riyadh,  Saudi  Arabia,  14  November  2018:  500  Startups  has  partnered  with  Misk  Innovation  to launch  a  flagship early-stage accelerator program for the Middle East and North Africa region. The program  is  a  16-week  course  which  will  focus  on  bringing  growth  hacking  techniques  and Silicon Valley  expertise  to  emerging  companies  in  the  region.  This  is  a  significant  step  forward  in  our mission of building entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world and continuing to support founders and technological innovation. 500 runs programs all around the world, helping to build local capacity, improve conditions for prosperity and opportunity and solve real everyday problems.


Applications are now open and the program will start on January 27, 2019.


500 Startups has been an active investor in the MENA region since 2012. Having launched the 500 Falcons  fund  in  2017,  500’s  MENA-based  fund  has  been  consistently  ranked  as  the  most  active investor in seed-stage companies throughout the Arab world.

“Adding  to  our  focus  on  investing  and  supporting  great startups in the MENA region, this program aims  to  provide  a  nurturing  environment  for  founders  to  learn  world-class  best  practices  and standards for starting and growing technology companies and needs-based innovation,” said Sharif El-Badawi,  Managing  Partner  of  500  Falcons.  “We  hope  to  accelerate  innovation,  facilitate  job creation,  improve  cross-border  operations  and  build  local  GDP  across  the  region.  To  take  these efforts  to  the  next  level,  and  provide  founders  with  training  and  skills  at  scale,  it  was  an  obvious choice for us to develop a strong relationship with the talented team at Misk.”

Misk  Innovation  is  one  of  the  initiatives  of  the  Misk  Foundation,  which  aims  to  raise  the  level  of training  qualifications  for  youth  and  enable  them  to achieve the highest international standards for training in the areas of technology and innovation.

“It was a natural choice to team up with 500 Startups who is a leader in building thriving ecosystems around  the  world  alongside  their  presence  in  the  MENA  region  as  a  top  investor,”  said  Deemah

Al-Yahya, executive manager of Misk Innovation. “We are committed to amplifying innovation and it is our goal to invest in our remarkable founders and provide them with all opportunities they need to strive in this fast-paced world.”

500  believes  that  economic  opportunity  and  innovation  for  everyone  takes  time  and  aims  to  help pave the way for underrepresented founders. 500 is focused on the long term benefits and positive impact of supporting high-impact founders in emerging markets. As such, 500 is tasked with looking through  a  lens  where  international  politics  sometimes  present  issues  to  consider  about  where  to build  out  entrepreneurial  ecosystems.  500’s  priority  in  the  MENA  region  is  to  provide  the  local founders  with  the  tools  for  innovation  to  help  make  positive  change  on  the  ground.  500  will  be scouting   for   founders   who   are   building   technologies   and   products   to   impact   B2B,   B2C, E-Commerce,   FinTech,   EdTech,   HealthTech,   IoT,   Robotics,   Artificial   Intelligence,   SaaS   and Messaging services.


Apply here. The deadline for applications is December 15, 2018.


The  500  MENA  Accelerator  Program  will  select  15-20  technology  startups from across the MENA region  that  have  a  working  product  and  demonstrable  initial  traction.  Companies  accepted  to  this program will be given the opportunity to meet with some of MENA’s leading corporations and will be considered to receive an investment from 500 Falcons.

There  will  be  a  number  of  Silicon  Valley-based  team  members  flying  out  to  the  region  for  the duration  of the program. Members from the accelerator team will also be staffed on site full-time to aid in mentorship and growth strategies.


About the Misk 500 MENA Accelerator Program


1. Conditions


           ●    Early-stage technology companies

●    Startups  based  in  the  Middle  East  and  North  Africa  (MENA)  region,  which already have a working product

●    The founders are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program. In addition to the founders,  a  maximum  of  two  additional  team  members  per  company  will  be  allowed  to participate at any given time.


2. Number of Startups


●    Each batch will have 15-20 startups.


3. Applications


We are now accepting applications to the 500 MENA Accelerator Program through December 15th. If you are a MENA-based startup interested in participating, apply here:


4. Program Summary


500 Startups will bring experts from our global team of partners, mentors and entrepreneurs to work closely  with  the  startups  over  a  16-week period in Riyadh to accelerate their development through best  operational  practices,  growth  hacking,  data  driven  sales  techniques  and  tailored  advice from successful  Silicon  Valley  and  global  entrepreneurs.  Our  main  goal  is  equipping  startups  with  the tools they need to become growth experts, to help get their startups to the next milestone.


     ●    Areas of   focus:   early-stage   tech-enabled   startups   in   the   following   fields:  B2B,  B2C, E-Commerce, FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech, IoT, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, SaaS and Messaging services.

●    Acceptance criteria: Startups with some traction, and which already have a working product.

●    Benefits:

o  Participants in this program will receive mentoring on starting and growing a startup, growth marketing frameworks, and access to 500 Startups’ extensive ecosystem.

o  Participating  startups  that  wish to set up operations in Saudi will be offered training and licensing assistance.

o  Each of the 15-20 participating startups will be considered for an investment by 500 Falcons.


Please  Note: This program is provided in English. Participating startups will need to have a strong understanding of the English language.