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Exclusive interviews with entrepreneurs from the Middle East and beyond. All the important stories, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Palestine startups

Funding options on the rise for Palestine startups

Palestine is home to a wealth of entrepreneurial talent but its startups have struggled to gain access to funding. A number of initiatives are aiming to change all that by doubling the amount of startup funding available and offering mentoring opportunities. Support is also being offered to Palestinians living in the Middle East and North […]

Washmen CEO Rami Shaar, seen at its Jebel Ali facility, says he doesn't yet see the benefits of listing

Dubai laundry app seeks ‘deeper pockets’ for next step

Dubai’s door-to-door laundry app Washmen plans to tap into private equity and funding from family investment groups, but has ruled out a public listing, CEO Rami Shaar has told AGBI. The company has gone through three rounds of fundraising since it was set up eight years ago, raising $11 million from seed, series A and […]

Intersect innovation hub palestine startups

Innovation hub helps launch Palestinian startups in Gulf

Startups in Palestine are increasingly expanding in the Gulf as a way of overcoming hurdles such as a lack of access to funding and support systems. Central to their strategy is the Intersect Innovation Hub, a business incubator that is helping to build bridges between Palestinian startups and the Gulf region. Rateb Rabi, CEO of […]

Egypt startup funding

Egypt’s currency slump deters startup investors

Egypt’s economic woes have led to a 70 percent decline in the number of startup funding deals in the first half of the year. The country’s currency devaluation and other ongoing economic challenges are deterring investors, industry experts said. Funding for startups across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) fell 21 percent year-on-year to […]

Female startup founders

Female startup founders have ‘tough sell’ in the region

More women need to be in investment decision-making positions to rebalance the gender bias within the Mena startup funding sector, industry experts say. The amount raised by female-led startups tumbled by 88 percent over the first half of this year to $5.6 million, according to the latest data from Wamda, the largest early-stage investment fund […]

Cell-grown meat Prince Khaled

Prince’s cell-grown meat investment gets US approval

Saudi Arabia’s “vegan prince” is set to get a prime cut of the profits from his investment in a startup producing meat made from cultivated animal cells. The US government this month approved the sale of Upside Foods products to American consumers. “Sometimes when you talk to an entrepreneur, you know,” Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed […]

Hamish Harding founded the UAE business jets brokerage Action Aviation

Hamish Harding: British billionaire in the UAE

Hamish Harding was one of the five people who died on the Titan submersible in the Atlantic on June 18. He founded Action Aviation, a UAE-based international aircraft brokerage company, and was chair of the Middle East chapter of The Explorers Club. Read below AGBI’s interview with him last September, when he had just been […]

David von Rosen

Lottoland founder bets on softened gambling rules in UAE

The entrepreneur behind the global lottery betting platform Lottoland is confident that he will one day be able to offer the service in the UAE. David von Rosen-von Hoewel, an international investor and founder of businesses in fashion, finance and gaming, said plans for the UAE’s first casino in Ras Al Khaimah put forward by […]

Mena startup funding

Debt and fintech dominate Mena startup funding

Fintech and debt financing were the dominant themes in Mena startup funding in May, as experts predicted continued growth for the remainder of the year. In May, $445 million was invested in 39 startups in the Middle East and North Africa, up from only $7 million and 11 deals in April. The data was compiled […]

Marcelo Claure, executive chairman of Bicycle Capital

Mubadala invests in $440m LatAm fund

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala is an anchor investor in a new $440 million fund run by former SoftBank executives that will buy into Latin American startups. Miami’s Bicycle Capital has launched the fund, its first, according to a press statement that says it could increase to $500 million. The Bicycle 1 fund will partner with the […]

Oman unveils $5.2bn startup fund and plans for new city

Oman is planning to set up an investment fund with a capital of OMR2 billion ($5.2 billion) to support economic diversification. The news was first reported by state-owned Oman News Agency, citing a decree by Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said. The Oman Future Fund will allocate a percentage of its capital to stimulate the […]

Gulf countries are still playing catch-up on the fintech boom following the financial crisis of 2008-09

Gulf edges closer to its first homegrown tech unicorn

The Gulf region is two years away from realising its first tech unicorn, according to Mohammad Alblooshi, head of Dubai International Financial Centre’s Fintech Hive. Becoming a unicorn – a company with a valuation over $1 billion before being listed on the stock exchange – is the dream of many tech startups. In the fintech […]

Razan Al Sous, founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, second from right, shows the Princess Royal her wares

Say cheese! Syrian refugee to take halloumi startup to Gulf

A Syrian refugee who moved to the UK and set up a halloumi cheese company is looking to the Gulf as one of her first markets for international expansion. “We are always looking for investment because we know that we’ve got high demand in the UK,” Razan Al Sous, founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, told […]

Horacio Pagani, Argentine-Italian founder, CEO and chief design officer at his supercar company

Cars, property and superjets: Pagani plots future with PIF

Horacio Pagani, founder of the supercar that bears his name, is open to further partnerships with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as his company expands into luxury real estate and private jet design. PIF acquired a 30 percent stake in the Italian business in 2021. Pagani, who acts as its CEO and chief design officer, […]

Dina Alnahdy

‘Attitude is last hurdle’ for Saudi women in business

Digitalisation has removed the last practical barriers to female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia, according to one of the kingdom’s prominent business leaders, Dina Alnahdy. The only remaining obstacle, she told AGBI, is their own or others’ attitudes.  “Honestly, there are no real barriers that would prevent someone from starting up a business and flourishing in […]

Talabat managing director Tatiana Rahal previously worked on data analytics for Visa and Mazda

Cashless economy is at the door, says food delivery boss

A cashless economy in the UAE is no longer just an ambition, according to Tatiana Rahal, managing director of food delivery giant Talabat UAE. “The future in the UAE is digital and we see cashless payments as the primary currency,” said Rahal, the company’s first MD who has previously worked on data analytics for brands […]

Raw Coffee has seen a major shift in consumer use as people have taken to perfecting their drink at home

Success brewing for UAE’s speciality coffee culture

Three years after the Covid pandemic broke many businesses, a new landscape is brewing that could fundamentally change the UAE’s coffee culture. Coffee shops were among the first to shut their doors in 2020 and bear the brunt of prolonged lockdowns. But the pandemic has changed customer behaviour and palettes, and the country’s independent operators […]

Person, Man, Adult

Kemal Yazici, founder, Bedia Gallery

Kemal Yazici is founder of Bedia Gallery, an art gallery and studio located in Al Khayat Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai.  What does your company do? Currently Bedia Gallery is exhibiting my artworks. However, in the very near future we will work together with Turkish and German artists and curators. Also, in the long term we […]

Smile, Person, Face

Katie Wachsberger, co-founder, Dana Global

Dana Global is an Abu Dhabi-based venture builder for women-led startups in desert technology: agtech, foodtech, water solutions, circular economy, and renewable energy specifically geared for the unique desert climate of the Middle East.  What does your company do? We work closely with our portfolio companies – early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs – to guide them […]