Small things get us excited at Wamda. Last week, we quietly redesigned our sidebar, shifting to new categories that reflect the ways we actually speak to startups and think about their news. Although we loved the “Spark, Start, Grow, Lead, Sustain” theme that has carried us from our early days, it was time for a change.
You’ll now find “Startup Stories,” “Fundraising and Support,” “News,” “Scaling and Growth,” and “Marketing and Social Media” taking center stage, to reflect some of the crucial challenges entrepreneurs are facing.
We’ve also launched a new “Sectors & Trends” category, so you can quickly access the topics and segments that interest you the most. Several of our other themes, such as “Lists” and “Advice,” are still there, but brought to the forefront.
We’ve also added three critical categories that we’ll be focusing on this year: “Data and Infographics,” “Women,” and “Failure.”
On data, we can’t do or say enough. As a market, the Middle East and North Africa is notoriously lacking in good data about startups, investments, market sizes, and challenges. With Wamda Research Labs, we’ll be releasing original reports on our own findings about the barriers to scaling that startups face. On the Media side, we’ll be bringing you the best of the data we have at our fingertips.
This year we’ll also be taking a deeper look at some of the women founders and leaders in this region and how they’re creating new opportunities for those that follow in their footsteps. We’ve already kicked off a series of roundtables this year that tracked women’s challenges in Cairo, Doha, Amman, and Riyadh; we’ll be continuing the series this fall to uncover what is unique about founding and leading a company as a woman and how women can also be best supported to scale.
And finally, we’ll be getting to the crux of what makes an entrepreneur experienced: failure. There’s not a truly seasoned entrepreneur who hasn’t tasted failure, seen it looming, or felt it closing in. To understand what it really means to start a company, especially in the Arab world, we’ll be delving into the experiences of loss and setback that have made the region’s entrepreneurs who they are today.
We’ll be holding stakeholders accountable. They say that 90% of tech startups will fail. But that then depends upon your metric of success; some also say that 20-30% of startups provide an ‘adequate’ return on investment, and perhaps 60-70% of new businesses around the world return at least their investors’ original money or more. So, as we look at those closing, we’ll be asking: was it a question of product-market fit? Risk-averse investors? Bad management by the founders? Talent drain abroad? Where are the gaps that can be filled?
As you browse the new categories, please let us know how we’re doing and let us know which stories you think need to be told. If you know a hotshot woman entrepreneur whose business should be revealed, or a failing company who’s founder’s lessons can be taught, or a broader failure of the ecosystem to support startups, we want to tell those stories. Email us at editor [at] wamda [dot] com.