Startup founders across the globe are eager to do business in Qatar, according to Felix Ochefu, the founder and CEO of an all-in-one group travel solution app: Kahana.

Ochefu was referring to a “unique opportunity” the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) offered to participants at the ‘Startup Qatar’ pavilion during the Web Summit Qatar 2024, which Doha successfully hosted last February.

The event, held of the first time in the Middle East, attracted more than 1,000 international startups, including Kahana, the Web Summit stated in a recent tweet on X, which chronicled Ochefu’s first Web Summit event.

According to Web Summit, “Kahana is a travel co-ordination app that allows groups to plan and book trips together seamlessly. It connects travellers through a single API, bringing together more than 300 airlines and 1mn accommodation options.”

It added: “Users can search for flights and hotels, build itineraries using AI and communicate with their group, all in one place, allowing for an integrated collaborative experience. Kahana’s goal is to eliminate fragmentation for group travellers by providing an end-to-end AI-powered solution.”

Ochefu told Web Summit, “While meeting a couple of really smart founders at the Startup Lounge, I was made aware of an opportunity from the Qatar Financial Centre, which had launched a Web Summit-only opportunity for startups to set up a company in Qatar.

“I found this intriguing, so I went to get some more information and was shocked at how many companies were signing up on the spot. It just showed how serious the Qatari government is about working with the best founders in the world, and how excited the founders are about being part of Qatar’s technology ecosystem.”

He also said, “We’ve been working on an angel round since Q3 last year as part of a wider $1mn pre-seed round we’re launching very soon. So, we’re very much in fundraising mode, and I was excited to meet and talk to interested venture capital and angel investors attending Web Summit, especially Qatari and other Middle East-based investors, as they are serious about leading the world when it comes to creating the future of travel and tourism.”

Web Summit Qatar 2024 was part of the Qatari government’s efforts to achieve the Third National Development Strategy 2024-2030, the QFC stated on its website.

“During its participation in this world’s largest technology conference, the QFC offered a unique opportunity for companies to register and obtain licences to do business in Qatar on the spot, in addition to exclusive benefits, including waived registration fees and annual fees for the first five years, and a tax exemption in line with international standards.

“During the summit, QFC managed to attract more than 100 companies operating in various industries, including finance, digital, and fintech, to enter the Qatari market, one of the leading investment destinations in the region,” QFC further stated.

Speaking on the QFC’s active participation in the summit, CEO Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, said: “Hosting this world’s biggest technology event comes within the nation’s efforts to enhance the digital and tech ecosystem, boost innovation, build capabilities, and support entrepreneurs and startups, which are essential to building a diversified knowledge-based economy.

“As part of our commitment to enhancing Qatar’s booming business ecosystem, we offered exclusive facilities and benefits for companies that registered during the Web Summit as our contribution to attracting foreign investments, diversifying the national economy, and supporting the nation’s efforts to become an advanced tech hub in the region.”
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