In the second segment of the second panel at our June event CoE E-Commerce, Show Me The Money, Part 2: Investing in E-Commerce, moderator Chris Schroeder, who previously served as the CEO at HealthCentral and Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, introduces James Chan of Neoteny Labs and Elie Habib of Riyada Enterprise Development and Aureos Capital.
Chan discusses his experience watching the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Singapore develop since 2006, as he worked at Walden International Singapore and Infocomm Investments, where he was able to fund 24 companies with a $5 million fund by co-investing along with Singapore's government. He also explains how he assesses new markets by noting social cues that reveal about consumer behavior more than data alone.
Elie Habib, the Lebanon Country Manager of Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), discusses what he's seen in MENA, especially when it comes to the evolution of e-commerce.
From an e-commerce perspective, he says, "The challenge we have in the MENA region is that it's a region. It's made up of a lot of countries that have very little alignment between them. That provides a big challenges for the startups and the entrepreneurs that are trying to create scale in terms of e-commerce. You start looking at which one will provide a better investment assuming all of these obstacles."
While the UAE can be a good testing ground for the Saudi Arabia market, hopefully in the future there will not be as much of a geographical divide between creators and consumers, as entrepreneurs look to tackle the sector's challenges.