Startup Watch: No means maybe means yes and Jay Z joins the VC crew
The world of entrepreneurship news is a complex one, with people ever ready to give their two cents on how you should be running your business/VC fund/incubator.
Here’s our wrap of what we’re reading on celebs investing, 3D printers being taken off the watch list, the rise of the Middle East’s ecommerce market and old rich men getting away with too much.
I got 99 problems but early stage funding ain’t one. That’s right, we used a Jay Z lyric and pivoted it to make a reference to the news that the rapper/music mogul is adding a venture fund to his business. With a focus on early stage startups, Arrive will be a new arm within his entertainment company Roc Nation. Jay Z is not new to the scene, he has been investing in tech since 2012. Previously, he invested in Uber's Series B; the high-tech-luggage maker Away, the nail-parlor company Julep, and the private-jet startup Jetsmarter.
Hurry up with that knowledge transfer. The IMF says that over the next five years GCC governments will face a combined fiscal deficit of $350 billion. Ouch. So they need to get a wriggle on with the non-oil based revenue options. Sadly, the introduction of VAT is one of those options. When it comes into force, probably in January next year, the hardest hit will be businesses.
Buffett finally makes a poor bet, on a wisecrack. On CNBC he told a ‘funny’ story. “If a lady says no she means maybe and if she means yes, and if yes, she’s no lady.” Oh no Warren you didn’t. If a woman says no she means maybe? We. Can’t. Even. Lucy Kellaway, an FT editor, says Buffett needs to be called out. Because he is who he is. Well, we think it’s time for the old guard to be called out. Just because you’re successful, rich and old it doesn’t give you a pass to make crass remarks.
Wamda of the week: Jordan’s battle for 3D printers is almost over. Jordanian border security has long feared 3D printers, claiming they would be used to make weapons, but finally it looks like things are changing. As of November anyone can import both printers and parts, but local 3D printing firms are still struggling to get their hands on both. Remember folks, 3D printers don’t kill people, people kill people.
MENA is dedicated to shopping online. You know the drill. The Middle East is a hugely untapped market when it comes to providing enough in the way of local ecommerce options. And not least when it comes to fashion. The stats are impressive. Net-a-Porter says that the average order value in the Middle East is 50 percent higher than the rest of world. So people are buying in - think Noon, for one. Incidentally, it's also been a great time for modest clothing brands, which are seeing a huge uptick in demand.