MENA Investors' Forecasts for 2018: Walid Mansour, Partner and CIO, MEVP Investors are out with their forecasts for the MENA entrepreneurial ecosystem and they are bullish, to say the least.
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We picked the brains of investors looking at the Arab world for their expectations of the MENA entrepreneurial landscape in 2018, and their thoughts on sectors that we should keep an eye on next year. Here's what Walid Mansour, Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), told us.
"I believe that 2018 in MENA will be a good year for entrepreneurs– there are more funding options available, and a stronger demand for technology products that will help innovative and dynamic companies raise capital and grow. In addition, the global tech industry will develop fueled by higher penetration rates for online and software companies, and a generally low interest rate landscape. I wouldn't be surprised if we hit new record highs on global valuations for tech companies. I also think that e-commerce enablers, logistics- driven technologies and fintech businesses will be more fashionable across emerging markets. We will still hear about blockchain startups, however, many will require to figure out viable business models in order to take their place under the sun.
"Our MENA region is still underfunded, with regards to venture capital, and this represents a good opportunity. The timing to invest in MENA is promising due to two factors: strong demand for technology related products and services, and relatively low competition on the funding side. There are opportunities in all sectors provided the businesses deliver real solutions to this region given its challenges in a complicated market with local needs. MEVP's fifth investment fund, with a target size of US$250 million, aims to capture tech VC opportunities which will help accelerate the region's tech innovation ecosystem. We see a significant gap in VC funding for later stage and growth tech ventures– and our fund will be an ideal fit to young entrepreneurs' aspirations and help them become market leaders in the region. The fund will specifically target six verticals: content, fintech, marketplaces, healthtech, e-education, and online travel."
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