How A Startup in Dubai Can Succeed

When you think of Silicon Valley what do you think of? Maybe you think of Elon Musk going to space or Peter Thiel searching for immortality. Maybe you think of scrappy entrepreneurs using breakthrough technologies to change the world. In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs benefit from networks that provide insider information, venture capital, human capital, mentorship, and support resources galore. It has a sprinkling of hippie counterculture in there to encourage outside-the-box thinking.

Now what do you think of when you think of an emerging startup ecosystem, such as the one in Dubai? What is Dubai’s brand as a startup ecosystem? What kind of startups come out of here? I’d argue Dubai has some advantages to leverage:

  • A headquarters for the Gulf region: The UAE’s macroeconomic conditions and lifestyle make it an ideal hub for the region’s entrepreneurs to flock to. Dubai’s reputation makes it the most trusted source of capital, customers, and talent in the Gulf region. It is a dynamic, global city that people want to buy from and be in.

Startups in emerging ecosystems have major opportunities where they can be competitive by specializing where they have competitive advantages. At the same time, there are enough resources for ecosystem builders to develop down one vertical where there are significant, existing advantages which make it make sense to focus on a specific market. Look at London and fintech. Or Tokyo for robotics. A startup should be where it has the highest chances of success and in some cases that’s Dubai.

Questions related to startup success are overlooked in startup education available now because this education is created from Silicon Valley experiences most of the time. Based on the emerging ecosystem advantages and disadvantages, I’ve outlined questions a founder starting in an emerging startup ecosystem should answer in assessing feasibility in addition to the basics. This can also be used by investors interested in startups in emerging markets:

  • Does the industry I’m in have built in barriers to entry that make it unattainable or unattractive to international competitors?

A few of my favorites that answered these questions well are:

They cater to local problems, are scalable regionally, and use technology to beat out old systems currently in place. These are the types of startups which will build the startup ecosystem in Dubai and give it a respected brand.

Successful startups are being built here now and will be built in Dubai in the future. The ecosystem has a lot to offer and I look forward to seeing it evolve and grow.

DM me if you want to talk investment or startup growth strategies.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store