Top Arab ‘techpreneurs’ offered insights into how they achieved success in Silicon Valley and why they are now bringing their ventures back home, at the third edition of Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP)'s ‘technovate’ discussion platform.
The tech and innovation community in Doha was treated to a discussion that shed light on how Arab expat ‘techpreneurs’ are returning to the region with coveted experience, a global network and a fresh mindset.
Dr Maher Hakim, managing director of QSTP, led the discussion with Joy Ajlouny, co-founder of Fetchr, and Dr Khalid al-Ali, co-founder of Senseta. Both guests gave accounts of their journeys through the global tech landscape and described how they are using their business and tech acumen to nurture entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.
Dr Hakim said, “Dr al-Ali and Joy Ajlouny have brought the Silicon Valley mindset with them to the region. They are part of the driving force behind the growing regional innovation ecosystem. By recruiting successful Arab techpreneurs to complement our research and development community,we can create an environment that is conducive to product innovation and economic success.”
Fetchr is a technology company based in Dubai that was set up to solve the ‘no-address’ problem hindering growth in emerging markets. It is the first start-up in the Middle East to be funded by one of the top venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, and has been named the number one startup in the region by Forbes Middle East.
Ajlouny said, “The main reason Fetchr was able to secure funding from a top venture capital firm is because we offer a solution to a problem.
“Investors like to hear that you have a solution to a market need, particularly a worldwide solution. In Silicon Valley, there is no hierarchy, as venture capitalists know that their future lies in the bright minds that knock on their doors with great ideas and greater commitment to executing their ideas,” added Ajlouny.
Dr al-Ali, co-founder and executive chairman of Senseta, a leading company in mission-critical data fusion and analytics solutions, has spent much of his career in Silicon Valley. Recounting his journey of entrepreneurial success, he explained: “Senseta is based on the world of big data analytics.
“When we first started out, big data wasn’t yet well-established, but we still managed to attract investors from Silicon Valley and five Qatar-based shareholders. The company has gone on to become one of the world leaders in mission-critical data and analytics used to save lives on a daily basis.”
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