Startup Watch: lateness isn’t greatness, the history of CVCs, and Uber for yachts
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 f-f-f-failed gold smugglers, Careem’s ‘erk’ moment in Egypt, yacht hailing, and a little something to lighten the end of the working week.
#DeleteCareem. Careem announced a new Egypt boss, then the now-ex Egypt boss tweeted that he’d been fired, now they’re, allegedly, lawyering up. What looks to be the result of an internal difference of opinions has lit up the Egyptian socials, with locals vocally getting behind one team or the other. It’ll likely turn into a MENA ‘how not to manage relationships/PR fallout/internal issues’ case study, but for the moment we’re watching with interest to see which way this saga turns.
Why CVCs fail and why they succeed. Grab a coffee and a muffin and give this history of corporate venture capital (CVC) a read. In hindsight it seems ridiculous that Exxon would invest in golf clubs, but at the time - the 1970s - they had their reasons (panic, following the oil shock, being one). The more successful examples, such as Intel, should be a guide for the companies testing corporate entrepreneurship in MENA.
Wamda of the week: Stop being late!! We’ve heard all the excuses: traffic, meeting went over, traffic, I had to go to hospital for major surgery (we’ve heard this one twice). But when you’re in business they don’t cut it anymore. One entrepreneur learned this particular lesson when he asked our writer Hamed Fakhro for investment - but had kept him waiting for half an hour. One guess what the answer was.
Executive babysitters. We’re still not wholly sure what a chief of staff does (we asked a friend who is one, and even she’s not sure), but they sound useful. Kind of like an EA who can also run your board meetings. On re-reading the piece, we’re not sure this type of person even exists in real life. But if you find him or her, give them half your company and never let them go.
Are these North Africa’s second wave revolutionaries? Economic opportunity was at the heart of the Arab Spring uprisings and while some things have improved, youth unemployment is still too high in many countries. This time some young people in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco are turning to business to affect change, with some 250 social enterprises launched in these three countries alone.
Only in Dubai. We were all just saying that the yacht industry needed disrupting. And we’re down for yacht Ubers. We’re full sail ahead for this yacht hailing wave.
Adventure story of the week: How to become an international gold smuggler. This guy is definitely an entrepreneur: he’s got ambition, raw courage, and charm. He is also a bona fide criminal. However, given Zenefits, Theranos et al, that’s not really an impediment anymore. We are going to label this one under ‘failure’ though, because not only did his business fail, he also got caught.
Psycho killer, qu'est que c’est? The personality traits associated with psychopathy are the same ones prized in business: charm, risk taking behaviour, raw courage. The lead character in American Psycho is a banker, after all... Makes you think twice before telling your boss they ‘killed it’ after the next milestone meeting, doesn’t it?
Feature image via Fun at Dubai.