x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Intel turns to nurturing ideas in Middle East

The Life: Entrepreneurs in the Middle East who are looking for investors may want to consider Intel Capital or SeedStartup, which are actively providing funds in the region right now.

Participants discuss coding at a SeedStartup mentoring session. SeedStartup funds fledgling entrepreneurs. Antonie Robertson / The National
Participants discuss coding at a SeedStartup mentoring session. SeedStartup funds fledgling entrepreneurs. Antonie Robertson / The National

On the surface, multibillion-dollar businesses such as Intel appear to create their ideas in-house.

But while trying to dig deeper into the Middle East, Intel has put together a US$50 million (Dh183.6m) fund to back the development of innovative hardware, software, and content and services in this region.

"We've taken the approach of not just working with global manufacturers and local channels to distribute [products], but we've made a number of investments to develop Arabic content and engage in the Web in creative ways," says Gordon Graylish, the vice president of Intel's sales and marketing group. "That is something we as a technology company need to continue to do."

Through Intel Capital, its global investment arm, the company has funded firms such as NeuString, based in the UAE and serving mobile communications service providers, as well as Berytech, an incubator in Lebanon that helps technology start-ups.

"It's about delivering the great content," Mr Graylish says.

"We're not specifying which device," he says. "If you try to create walls or something that is limited, it doesn't succeed long-term."

SeedStartup is another possible source for fledgling entrepreneurs who want to accelerate their start-up process. The company is based in the UAE but invests in start-ups around the world during different cycles, with the deadline for the next round on Thursday.

About half of the projects that have received investments through SeedStartup are from the Middle East and North Africa, although the firm focuses exclusively on Web or mobile-based businesses, says Rony El Nashar, co-founder of SeedStartup.

"We invest in early-stage ventures and like to see a prototype, at least, [and] some ability to execute," he says.

New entrepreneurs who make the cut are brought to Dubai for three months for mentoring and skills training. While an entrepreneur receives $20,000 to $25,000, SeedStartup retains a 10 per cent stake in the business.

nparmar@thenational.ae

twitter: Follow and share our breaking business news. Follow us