Oasis500's Angel Network Event: A Model for Angel Investment in MENA?

by Nina Curley, December 20, 2011

Angel funding in the region is driven by a few players, and the investment process can often be idiosyncratic, say startups. Much needs to change in the angel investment space, beginning with lessening the pervasive fear of exploitation on both sides. Yet perhaps bringing a group of angels together to focus on vetted tech startups, as Oasis500 did this past Sunday at its 3rd Angel Network event in Amman, Jordan, will continue to encourage angels and speak to the fact that consistency facilitates investment.

At the event, held at the New Think Theater in Amman, tech startups who have just completed a round of acceleration at Oasis500 pitched to a group of local, regional, and international investors to secure funding that, like the funding Wamda will also provide, will take them to the next level after leaving the cozy bubble of Oasis500.

Startups that pitched included Arabia Weddings, a bilingual wedding e-commerce site that aims to go regional, Aqar Estate, an online real estate platform, Al Nassah, a school task management system for staff, animation house Progressive Generation, and Ebshir, a search engine for car buying.

While any potential investments are simply in discussion at this phase, previous Angel Network investor events at Oasis500 have seen 80% of startups secure funding from $ U.S. 150,000 to $3 million, says Oasis500 Chairman Usama Fayyad.

This success rate speaks to the hefty stamp of approval that Oasis500 wields. The flip side of that success is that startups negotiating outside of the Oasis bubble, who are perhaps at more advanced stages, report difficulties with securing angel investment in Jordan. While regional players such as the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Business Plan Competition, and the BiD Network, as well as other accelerators, are working to connect vetted startups to willing angels throughout MENA, perhaps the accelerator model can serve as a template for future vehicles for mid-stage startups in Jordan as well. 

For now, we’ll be looking to Oasis500 to announce the next round of investments for these promising early stage companies that represent the next wave of tech ideas coming out of Jordan.

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Sabin Lakhani , Tue 20.12.2011
Anything like this planned for the UAE?