Emirati startups introduced to Israelis at Ourcrowd-Emirates Angels Event
OurCrowd and Emirates Angels Investors Association held an online event which gave Israeli investors and entrepreneurs their first glimpse of the tech opportunities available in the United Arab Emirates. UAE Tech Investment Landscape: Introduction for the Israeli Ecosystem, broke records with over 2,000 registrants who were able to hear from some of the Emirates’ top business leaders and officials talking directly to Israelis for the first time.
H.E. Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Abdullah S. Al Naboodah, chairman of the Al Naboodah Investment Company in Dubai and a member of one of the UAE’s most prominent and successful business families, headlined the broadcast. A special greeting was included from Dhaher bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO, Abu Dhabi Global Market.
“We’re really delighted to have signed with OurCrowd,” said Al Naboodah, who has created a $100m partnership with OurCrowd to invest in startups throughout the region. “For our business, it’s vital that we were one of the companies that started the relationship with Israeli companies. We think a lot of startups in this region would like someone like OurCrowd to help them develop. The UAE has always been the hub for the Arab world in terms of tech businesses. We’ve seen some sold for more than a couple of billion dollars.”
Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office said: “There’s a lot of opportunity here, a lot of room for constructive disruption and we want to have a seat at the table on the Israeli side and we want to welcome you to the table that we’re sitting at as well and help us drive that change.”
The event line-up covered the UAE innovation ecosystem and its key sectors including AgriTech, EdTech, HealthTech and Robotics:
- H.E. Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Investment Office
- Abdullah Saeed Juma Al Naboodah, Chairman, Al Naboodah Investment Co.
- Dhaher bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO, ADGM
- Stephen Barnett, Director General for Business Development, Abu Dhabi Global Market
- Masaood Al Masaood, Chairman, Emirates Angels Investors Association
- Dr. Sabah al-Binali, OurCrowd Venture Partner and Head of Gulf Region
- Faris Mesmar, Managing Partner, Hatch & Boost
- Motaz Abu-Hijleh, CEO, World of Farming
- Ralph Debbas, CEO, W Motors
- Mohamad Kaswani, CEO, Urban
- Jon Medved, CEO, OurCrowd
Dr. Sabah al-Binali, recently appointed to head OurCrowd’s operations in the UAE and the Gulf region said: “The similar size of the Emirati and Israeli economies, and their complementary skill sets, make them extremely compatible for joint business ventures.
“Everyone knows that the opportunity existed, and now that the opportunity from a legal perspective has presented itself, people are moving,” al-Binali said. “In the UAE, Israelis will find a friendly business environment with world-class regulators, sales tax of just five percent and no corporate income tax. For someone used to a corporate tax rate of 35%, that’s a 50% increase in profit right there.”
Masaood al Masaaod, Chairman of Emirates Angels seconded this notion, saying: “The UAE ecosystem has developed rapidly in the last two years and there are many players that angel investors can tap into.
“When we look at Israel, known as the Startup Nation, we have a lot to learn from the success stories over there in many fields like agritech, healthcare, artificial intelligence, security and many others where we can collaborate,” al Masaood said.
Emirati startups featured included World of Farming, which uses hydroponics and vertical farming to grow crops in the UAE’s high temperatures and humid climate; Urban, a platform that allows renters to view and visit properties and pay their rent online; and W Motors, creators of the UAE’s first electric supercar with hologram technology that allows drivers to control their GPS, radio and entertainment systems by clicking images floating in the air.
Ralph Debbas, CEO, W Motors, creators of the Arab world's first supercar that was famously wrecked by Vin Diesel in ‘Fast & Furious 7,’ and builders of the UAE's first automotive plant, said that the UAE is the right ecosystem needed to start a new business.
“When it comes to the system of autonomous, definitely having international partners such as companies in Israel and others, they are more than welcome to join us in this initiative to start bringing in their technologies to the UAE,” Debbas said.
Jon Medved, OurCrowd’s CEO said: “The Emirati startups that we are already looking at are going to be very interesting for Israeli investors. It’s really fun to do business with people who are genuinely excited and positive about the recent developments. The stars are aligned for a great beginning to a long-term, fruitful and productive relationship between Israeli and Emirati investors."