Arab world gets first tech venture capital initiative

Intilaq invites regional entrepreneurs to submit proposals on technological innovations and ideas

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  April 20, 2009

A new venture capital fund has been set up by Bayt.com to support and encourage technological innovations in the Middle East.

Bayt.com, which has taken a big step outside its scope of a regional job site, revealed that the Intilaq initiative will focus ideas and products that drive technological development as well as internet adoption and usage.

Intilaq, which means ‘to launch’ in Arabic, is ready to accept proposals through their website from startups currently in the Arab world or those keen to relocate to this lucrative region.

Dan Stuart, head of Strategic Initiatives at Bayt.com, admitted that while the Middle East presently has a limited number of home-grown technologies that situation will change with the right support.

“There are currently so many challenges involved in creating a successful start-up, including a lack of funding and the challenge of finding experienced mentorship and support. As such, new entrepreneurs face many obstacles in transforming their vision into a reality, and many great ideas and great talent never actually see the light of day,” stated Stuart.

“By empowering people to create new and innovative approaches to business, and helping them find opportunities, we are together contributing to a sustainable and diverse future for the region,” added Stuart.

Without divulging just how much money was on offer, the Intilaq website clarifies that funding amounts depends “on how far long you are in the launch process.” It goes on to add that its “minimum goal is to give you enough money to build an impressive prototype or beta version, which you can then launch and use to get further funding from us or someone else.”

In return for financial support, Bayt.com and Intilaq get equity in the startup and even consider strategic acquisition opportunities.

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