twofour54’s Issa Aghabi talks funding and failure [Wamda TV]

Last month, at our final Mix N’ Mentor of the year in Dubai, we took the opportunity to talk to mentors about their particular areas of expertise. In this video, we caught up with twofour54’s Head of Investment Issa Aghabi about what, besides investment, VCs can do to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem – as well as what startups need to be doing in order to get that much needed VC attention.

He started by saying that VCs are primarily there to help startups reach success; as part of that, “profit maximization” is key so as to keep the circle of success spinning. But, Aghabi added, there are key “non-commercial” things VCs can also do, including working with other key stakeholders and educating governments on “key areas that need to be helped in order to let the digital ecosystem grow.” Bankruptcy laws and easier solutions for ecommerce sites (in terms of getting up and running) are areas that need special attention, said the VC. 

Education and openness around the topic of failure is also part of Aghabi’s view of the ideal relationship between startups and VCs. “Educating the ecosystem about failure is key,” he said. “Arab culture doesn’t deal well with failure,” he added.

But, while failure dos happen, there are ways to avoid it, including optimizing one’s business plan, financial planning, and team, as well as not “underestimating the needs of the market,” and not being able to quickly adapt with it, will all contribute to a startup’s success. 

Check out the video to find out what else Aghabi has to say about failure – plus, see which sectors he says are the hottest right now for funding. 

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