Lessons from Hong Kong and Kuwait's Own Success Stories at Startup Q8

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As one of our attendees said, “It can’t get any better.” The 3rd StartupQ8 event went well thanks to our speakers Abdulaziz Al-Loughani, Hoi Wan and Dr. Naif AlMutawa and the more than 70 people who showed up; it was amazing to meet so many young talents and passionate entrepreneurs in Kuwait.  

As usual, the event was split into three sessions with three speakers:

1. Early Stage Funding with Abdulaziz AlLoughani

Abdulaziz took stage and started explaining the cycle of funding that startups go through. We further discussed his experience with his previous startup (6alabat.com, one of the most successful startup in Kuwait). The discussion that followed his talk was also interesting and was focused on the lack of smart money in Kuwait.

Below is the full video interview, in addition to my short introduction about StartupQ8 (the sound is bit low, so plug your headphones and increase the volume to the maximum level).

2. Let’s Learn From Hong Kong with Hoi Wan (a Skype call)

The discussion with Hoi Wan, a serial entrepreneur from Hong Kong, was mainly about Hong Kong’s experience building a startup ecosystem. The major takeaways included:

  1. Hong Kong is starting to produce some good startups (for example 8Securties, 6waves, OutBlaze and Divide). Ironically, most of the founders are not citizens of Hong Kong.
     
  2. The startup community is growing. It began with monthly events such as StartupQ8, and then co-working spaces accelerated a sense of community, building ties between entrepreneurs and startups and creating a central hub.
     
  3. The government is trying hard to help entrepreneurs and startups, but they are still stuck within an outdated mentality and bureaucracy. None of the startups I know there have received help from government initiatives or programs.
     
  4. Similar to the Middle East, entrepreneurs and talented people still feel pressure from their parents and families to work in big corporations instead of startups. In Hong Kong, sometimes startups need to talk to the parents of someone they need to hire before getting to sign with him! 

3. Interview with Dr. Naif AlMutawa (@DrNaif), founder of the99 (Teshkeel Group)

We were very happy to have Dr. Naif AlMutawa with us. I never thought we would be able to host him this soon in StartupQ8, but he was kind enough to accept our invitation. Dr. Naif took us through the journey of building comic book-inspired TV series The 99 from the early days, revealing how difficult yet exciting it was to be an entrepreneur trying to build an international company.  Watch the full interview below and see his answers to the questions we asked:

  • How did it all started?
  • How was Teshkeel when it first started and does it looks like right now?
  • How did you decide to make the shift from psychology to writing to kids? And did you parents reacted?
  • How did you get funded?
  • How do you manage business from multiple locations?
  • Do you have any Kuwaiti employees?
  • Are you currently involved in creating and writing The99?

We met with many interesting, skilled young local entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, and I hope this will continue. At the end I want to thank everyone that contribute to this event to make successful with special thanks to Global Investment House for providing the venue and 88visions for doing a great job filming the event. 

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