It’s a great feeling to be featured on the list of Middle East’s Top 10 Accelerators. Although we’ve got a long way to go, this indicates that the region is moving, slowly, along in the right direction.
New angel and accelerator money is coming through, driven by governments, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, looking to trigger a major shift towards knowledge economy. As a result, they are supporting the tech startup ecosystem at the incubator stage through government and semi-government initiatives. Recently, the United Arab Emirates has surpassed Norway, South Korea,Turkey and Japan to be ranked 19th in the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Index. It placed the country at the top of 15 Middle East and North African countries. Such economic diversification strategies are already paying dividends, with hundreds of quality tech startup coming online in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon in particular.
Over the past three years, we, the TURN8 team, made the case – funding 60 and building 30 tech startups to growth stage – that the MENA region will experience a boom in venture capital in the coming decade. Concentration remains key to our investment strategy, where we continue to back the strongest entrepreneurs and management teams serving large regional markets.
Last year, we received more than 600 opportunities and made 20 new pre-seed investments. This year, we will see close to 1,200 opportunities and break new ground with 5 – 10 new seed stage investments, devoting close to 50% of our investable capital to follow-on investments in our winners! In terms of our performance to-date, we have had the privilege of doubling net return on deployed capital for H2 2015. 2016 should perform in similar fashion.
Many of our existing and future portfolio companies are experiencing significant growth and require further follow-on funding rounds that have become much larger for the capital base of TURN8 to address, thus the establishment of our first fund, the Innovation Fund I. Through the establishment of the TURN8 Innovation Fund I, we will continue our growth as we cement ourselves as the premier pre-seed and seed focused venture capital firm for aspiring entrepreneurs in our region.
TURN8 continues to connect entrepreneurs from the Middle East, Eurasia, and Asian markets as we back our top performers with follow-on funding and set up for strong growth in the coming years. Some of our notable investments have been in LoadMe, Paack, Presella, Ka
As we forge ahead in supporting enduring entrepreneurs by building lasting companies, we welcome the opportunity to discuss areas of further collaboration and fundraising for the fund, and build great companies by supporting amazing entrepreneurs!