Catching up with Fadi Bishara at the recent ArabNet conference in Beirut Wamda got a chance to chat with him about his thoughts on the VC approach to the Middle East.
Based in Silicon Valley Bishara runs Blackbox.vc, a program that connects startups with investors on a global scale. With over 15 years of experience in the field we talked to him about the current landscape for VCs and investors in startups, what they’re looking for, and where those innovations are coming from.
Talking about the current trends in the approaches VC are taking to startups Bishara said that when it comes to VCs, and in particular he’s referring to Silicon Valley VCs, “anything that has high, fast growth” is what they’re going to be attracted by, citing communication tools and company Slack as examples. Essentially for Bishara it’s disruptive technologies that are going to affect industries that will attract Silicon Valey dollars. “When it comes to technologies […] a lot of investments are starting to go to virtual reality, like Oculus, wearables, enterprise software, and hardware in the internet of things.”
Where are they coming from? Well, anywhere. “I see good tractions coming out of a couple of places, Toronto in Canada […] I see a lot of startups growing.” He also listed Scandinavia as an area to watch, specifically Sweden for fast growers with good products on the startup scene.
When it comes to the Middle East though he said that still being an early and immature ecosystem VCs weren’t necessarily running in this direction, however, the scene is one that is, for Bishara very similar to what is being seen in other emerging markets like Latin America. In Argentina and Chile there are “interesting small communities, not well concentrated or nurtured but these things […] I’ve seen a lot of changes.”
Bishara said that Europe was a good example of an area that has essentially come a long way in the last few years, so things do grow, and there is no reason for these kinds of technologies to not be coming from the region. “We need good role models and success stories, to highlight these changes.”
Check out the video to hear more from Bishara.