Keynote speech: Investment Strategies for the Middle East
Panel: The Future of Tech Investment – A Digital Feeding Frenzy
For the money men behind the revolution, it is the best of times— global investment and deal-making in the technology, media and telecom industries is "off to the strongest start since 2000." The digital revolution provides many exciting new opportunities for VC investment but its not always obvious where to make the early-stage bets. During this session our panel of expert VCs will present what they are seeing on the horizon, how the ecosystem is evolving and what this means for the landscape and where the smart money is going.
Panel: A Race for the Exits: The Rebound in IPOs and Dealmaking
The Middle East has been among the slowest regions to rebound after the global meltdown of 2008. But things are looking up. Investors and banks have regained their appetite for risk. Private-equity investors are doing more bank-financed deals. A handful of firms are listing their stocks on the London exchange. The UAE and Qatar stock markets have been lifted to emerging-market status, and the Saudi Arabian stock market—the Talawud—suddenly is a hotbed for regional IPOs. Some 16 PE funds raised almost $900 million in the Middle East and North Africa last year, more than double the sum raised the year before. At the center of the action is one big change: After the 2008 crisis, PE funds couldn’t “exit” their investments by selling off companies or staging IPOs, as dealmaking dried up. While exits still remain a challenge for the MENA region, exits are now everywhere, whether by IPO or by strategic sale to multinationals and U.S. PE funds searching for MENA investments. Panelists will handicap obstacles to exiting and the way out.
Panel: Accelerating Start-Ups
Innovation likes to live in clusters. It’s what made Silicon Valley and spawned start-up colonies in big cities around the world, often aided and abetted by government policies aimed at encouraging growth. What lessons learned in the West could accelerate similar efforts to innovate in the markets of the Middle East? How do we continue to enable these entrepreneurial ecosystems to form and grow? Our panel of experts have a few ideas.
From Global to Local – A Start-up Battle
In this session two different companies in the same space, one global and one local, will share their knowledge of how they approached launching their business in the Middle East. We will learn the difference between how an international company approached the region vs. how the locals did it.
Financing the Next Wave of Innovation