Doha, Qatar, May 17, 2017: Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) has announced the activation of a number of initiatives with ‘500 Startups’, a global venture capital seed fund, to help the region’s rising technology start-up scene. The initiatives are the result of an MOU signed between QSTP’s parent organization, Qatar Foundation Research & Development (QF R&D), and ‘500 Startups’ earlier this year.
As per the MOU, QF R&D is working with ‘500 Startups’ through the 500 Startups MENA Fund, known as ‘500 Falcons’, which achieved a first closing earlier this month. Looking to invest in 100 to 150 companies and keeping a reserve follow-on investment, the ‘500 Falcons’ fund will focus on early-stage startups in the MENA region, MENA diaspora founders, and non-MENA founders targeting MENA countries.
In addition, QSTP and ‘500 Startups’ launched a new regional accelerator, ‘Doha Dojo’, which brings the coveted 500 Startups ‘Series A Accelerator Program’ to the MENA region. The program will run once a year in Doha, accepting a limited number of regional tech-startups that have achieved a ‘product market fit’ milestone in their startup development lifecycle, received funding from ‘500 Falcons’, and are ready to scale up their business.
The first batch of nine companies from across the Arab world will showcase their tech products at a special ‘Investors Day’ organized by QSTP on May 23 at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). It will serve as an ideal opportunity for participants to build bridges with potential investors from around the Arab world.
Additionally, the ‘Investors Day’ will feature six new startup ‘spinoffs’ from QF’s Research-to-Startup (RTS) program launched earlier this year by QSTP in partnership with Wasabi Global Ventures, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), and QF’s Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer (IPTT) office. The RTS is designed to be a smooth launch-pad of startups that leverage technologies developed by research and academic institutes in Doha.
Commenting on QF’s contribution to the ‘500 Falcons’ fund, Dr. Hamad Al Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D, said: “Qatar Foundation’s mission to support innovation is the main drive behind our partnership with 500 Startups. I believe this is the beginning of a new era for tech-startups in the region, who will be enabled by this initiative and the expert organizations behind it. We endeavor to create enough momentum to spur progress and empower our youth to excel in-line with the world’s tech entrepreneurship scene.”
Dr. Maher Hakim, QSTP Executive Director, commented on QSTP’s recent efforts, saying: “We are in pursuit of a dynamic and sustainable technology startup ecosystem in Qatar and the wider region. The partnerships with global ecosystem builders, such as ‘500 Startups’ and Wasabi, are part of a strategy to integrate Qatar’s young tech entrepreneurship ecosystem within the regional and global ones.”
“The impact of these partnerships is already being felt as 15 promising tech startups will pitch their ideas and business visions to investors from Qatar and the region in the focused ‘Investors Day’. This event is designed to broaden the horizons and opportunities of local and regional tech-startups.”
The ‘Investors Day’ will also feature a series of side activities to help participants build lasting business relationships. The side events will include roundtable discussion on the status of venture capital and corporate strategic investment and funding in the MENA region, and discussions on exploring ways to further strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the wider region.
To learn more about ‘Investors Day’ and other events and programs visit QSTP’s website: www.qstp.org.qa
About Qatar Science & Technology Park
Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), is Qatar’s hub for technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering
the environment required for supporting technology start-ups and commercialisation of scientific research in Qatar, through incubation, funding, training, mentorship and connection to the regional and global tech innovation ecosystem. QSTP focuses on four themes as per the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS) announced in 2012; Energy, Environment, Health Sciences, and Information & Communication Technologies. QSTP is located in the vicinity of Qatar Foundation's Education City and has access to the resources of its cluster of leading research universities.
Members within the QSTP Free Zone include SMEs, international corporations and research institutions, which have collectively committed to investing in new programs, creating intellectual property, enhancing technology management skills and developing innovative new products in line with the QNRS. For more information, please visit the QSTP website at www.qstp.org.qa
Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D)
Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) is charged with the Qatar National Research Strategy, dedicated to making Qatar a leading centre for research and development
excellence and innovation. QF R&D is home to Qatar National Research Fund, a leading scientific research funding organization, and Qatar Science & Technology Park, an international hub for technology innovation and commercialization.
About Qatar Foundation – Unlocking Human Potential
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF) is a private, non-profit organisation that is supporting Qatar on its journey from carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential, for the benefit of not only Qatar, but the world. QF was co-founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation. QF’s work encompasses education, research and community development. World-class universities are brought to Qatar to help create an education sector in which young people can develop the attitudes and skills required for a knowledge economy. At the same time, QF builds Qatar's innovation and technology capacity by developing and commercialising solutions through key sciences. The Foundation also works to foster a progressive society while enhancing cultural life, protecting Qatar’s heritage and addressing immediate social needs in the community. For a complete list of QF’s initiatives and projects, visit http://www.qf.org.qa