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The Investor's View: Does Attending Ecosystem Events Improve Chances Of Investment? Henri Asseily, Founding Partner, Leap Ventures, gives his views on whether a startup's presence in events is considered when assessing for potential investment.

By Henri Asseily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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How many ecosystem events have you attended this year as an entrepreneur hoping to meet a potential investor? Startups tell us that one of the primary reasons they choose to go to MENA region events is to improve their chances of funding. We asked investors based in the Middle East, from angels to VCs, to talk back and give us their views on whether startups attending events were better positioned to garner investor interest.

THE Q When assessing startups for potential investment, do you consider how often they attend events in the ecosystem?

"I do not put any positive value in startups attending ecosystem events when evaluating investment potential. On the other hand, in extreme cases, if the startup's management is seen too often in events, this can be detrimental to their fundraising chances. We look for founders who do, not founders who talk. That said, startups can use such events sparingly at different stages of their growth:

  • Before formation, it might be worth looking for potential cofounders and sounding out the market.
  • During fundraising, using an event as an easy logistical tool for having meetings with VCs (but they must always set up such meetings in advance).
  • During a major release with PR/marketing blitz for awareness, but that should be used very sparingly and for really big things that can impact the audience.

The word is always "sparingly.'"

Related: The Investor's View: Is The App Boom Over?

Henri Asseily

Founding Partner, Leap Ventures

Henri Asseily is founding partner of Leap Ventures, an entrepreneur-led Venture Capital firm based out of Beirut and Dubai. Henri has 20 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur focused on internet-related businesses and has particular expertise in relation to algorithmics and computer science. He is the founder of Bizrate.com / Shopzilla, acting as CTO until its sale in 2005 for US$569 million. He was designing flat models before they were called NoSQL, and led the creation of the first product-centric online search engine. He has been coaching entrepreneurs around the globe, and is often seen conducting workshops and training sessions. Henri holds a BA in mathematics and economics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He still codes from Arduinos to iPhones, and prefers the Vim editor.
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