Intel investment inspires

Intel's investment in three UAE companies provides some welcome good news for the tech sector in the region, and should finally put to rest the idea that the region either doesn't produce, or doesn't provide a fertile environment, for tech entrepreneurs

Tags: Intel Corporation
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By  Mark Sutton Published  February 22, 2009

Intel's investment in three UAE companies provides some welcome good news for the tech sector in the region, and should finally put to rest the idea that the region either doesn't produce, or doesn't provide a fertile environment, for tech entrepreneurs.

There are plenty of examples of small companies coming out of the Gulf, but backing, especially financial backing, from a major player like Intel brings global recognition to the talent behind those companies. (Its also long overdue for Intel to start spending some of of it regional fund, that's mainly been untouched since 2005).

Of course, it seems to be the case that the cash sums involved are not that large - Intel says its typically takes less than 20% stake in a company, and in markets where companies actually reveal figures once in a while, Intel doesn't usually give a figure on anything less than a $1 million investment.

But the cash isn't the most important part of most of these deals - they are primarily based around extending the use of Intel technology, with a close working relationship between investor and start-up. For this round of investments, its about MIDs, smart home, and graphics and animation, with the investment with Sphere Networks in November, it was around remote management and WiMAX. Its not so much a case of Intel putting its money where its mouth is, but rather helping to build new areas of demand for its product, and seeding the market - but its still a major benefit for the entrepreneur.

It's also interesting that all three of the companies are in tough sectors - real estate and hospitality in particular, and the games industry undergoing a considerable amount of change. But at a time when the rest of the industry is curtailing investment, Intel is investing. Let's hope that Intel's investment acts as an inspiration to these companies and to the rest of the IT sector in the region, and that companies are able to find new opportunities to keep the region growing.

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