DP World’S TURN8 brings new group of entrepreneurs to Dubai

Startups from around the globe come to be mentored, learn to be business savvy

TURN8 Round 5 Group

TURN8, the successful seed accelerator initiative founded by DP World that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation has selected nine new startups for investment as part of round five of its programme

Some 23 startup companies at a market value of US $30 million have been established since the beginning of Turn8. The latest round follows a selection process to identify startups that have a promising business concept and who have had some experience testing the market.

The international reach covers global markets with participants from the UAE (Dubai), Spain, Russia and Chile, the first South American startup applicant.

Yousif Al-Mutawa, Chief Information Officer at DP World, said: “This latest round reinforces the international flavor of the programme and proves that innovation is a global phenomenon. We are delighted to welcome the new applicants to Dubai, which once again is demonstrating its commitment to innovation in line with the vision of our leaders. DP World continues to take an active interest in establishing a culture of innovation in the UAE and Turn8 is a premier example of that effort.”

Teams have already been flown down to Dubai and will soon begin the four-month mentorship programme to refine their business idea and gain practical training on how to run a successful enterprise backed by seed funding of US $30,000 to help them develop their projects.

The start-up companies that were chosen for TURN8 round five are:
•SaveSpace (Dubai) – Offers local pick up/drop off of boxes to customers for storing their belongings.
•MedicSen (Spain) – A system designed for the intelligent and integrated treatment of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
•FairFare (Kazakhstan) – Helps service consumers in uncovering concealed prices by means of peer-to-peer information sharing.
•Mytriphoto (Chile) – Allows hotels to reach potential customers organically, improve online reputation and promote new sales with self-service photography
•Rewardial (Romania) – A blogging outreach and user engagement platform
•RealEye (Russia) – A mobile app that enables users to create their own route maps in cities between sites.
•MakersBuilders (Dubai) – The first educational institute of its kind in the Middle East, aiming to become the leading provider of technology education for children and teenagers.
•Foodiac (Finland) – A marketplace for private chefs and high-end catering.
•909Music (Dubai) – An online music library dedicated to licensing, producing and providing modern day, cutting-edge, quality rich music for media and avid music listeners worldwide.

TURN8 is a technology startup accelerator launched by DP World in 2013 to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship globally. Teams are selected from dozens of hopefuls that pitch their ideas at TURN8 events and via an online application.

To read original article, click here.

How I got the first 1,000 users for The Transporter’s Market?

Always believe in your idea, and find first what can make it fail and then find what can make it succeed.

Today, for most of us is just a regular Thursday, but for me is a day that I will always remember because is the day when I reached to 1,000 users on the platform that I founded: LoadMe – The First Online Transporter’s Marketplace in the Middle East.

It all started one year back, when we were selected in a business accelerator:

LoadMe and Turn8 Teams

A prototype was launched in January 2015 and in March 2015, a fully operational platform was ready. A lot of work and marketing efforts in the following months and in June 2015 it started to lift off the ground and before the end of August it reached to 1,000 users.

Starting from today I will not call it a startup anymore, I will call it a company because is one year old and it reached seamlessly an important milestone – 1,000 companies registered that are doing business on the platform.

First 1000 users for LoadMe

I want to thank you first to this 1,000 companies who believed in us and are using daily our tool, and also I want to thank you to our partners for support because we would never be here without them: Turn8DP WorldYellowstone Group and a few more.

For those of you who don’t know, LoadMe is actuality an online marketplace for shipments and trucks where you can find transport for your goods or you can load your empty trucks, some call it a Load Board some call it a Freight Exchange Platform and others call it The Uber for Trucks. If you are a logistics professional fell free to Register on LoadMe, be active and make your job easier by using our communication tool.

This is how it works:


Sebastian StefanCEO at LoadMe.ae – The Transporters Market from the Middle East

Skills Swapping platform launched in Dubai


Swappaholics Holdings Limited, an innovative startup that recently graduated from the TURN8 Accelerator program (Round 4) in Dubai has launched a skills swapping portal, a disruptive platform, modeled after the barter trade system that will allow professionals to connect and swap skills in a social setting.

Skillz (www.skillz.io) is going to be a platform that is going to be a game changer in the online freelance ecosystem by allowing professionals to trade without the use of money. A platform where your skills become a social currency.

“We are breaking the monopoly of money, and empowering everyone with equal trading opportunities” says Francis Obirikorang, CEO and Co-founder.

Skillz will allow people to trade skills, build up their portfolio, connect and interact with like minded professionals, rent their skills and also contribute their skills for social good.

A website designer can design a website for a legal professional who in return will offer legal services in exchange for the website.

Doctor, chef, construction worker and housewife posing

Currently, the main pain point facing many freelance websites is the need for money to trade, which is eliminating many people from trading due to little or no cash. “Everyone has a unique skill set which can be traded” remarked the CEO of Swappaholics. Its an ecosystem where everyone wins. With Skillz, your skills is your social currency.

Skillz is currently web based and the Android and iOS mobile applications will be launched by the end of 2015 to give users a multi channel approach to swapping their skills. Launched in Dubai, Swappaholics has plans of extending the Skills swapping portal to the other MENA regions with a global focus in mind.

URL: http://www.skillz.io

Email: francis@skillz.io

The TURN8 Experience #TeamSwappaholics


We discovered TURN8’s call for applications by “accident.” We didn’t participate in the usual hackathon or “innov-a-thons.” Instead, a simple Google search for where to take our ideas popped up many accelerators accepting applications. Instinctively, we chose to apply to TURN8. There was something uniquely intriguing about the name. Two days after submitting an application, we got an email from TURN8 requesting a Skype interview between Swappaholics and Mohammed Hamdy, who was the Managing Director of the TURN8 program. “That escalated quickly,” I said to my co-founder Michael Ocansey.

The Skype interview lasted for about 30 minutes; questions relating to how we came up with the idea, what problem we sought to solve and how we planned on monetizing our application came in thick and fast. Hamdy was very precise and knew how to aim for the jugular with his intuitive and deep searching questions. One question that I termed the “shark attack” question was “are you ready to quit your full-time job and take up this venture?” At this point there was no turning back.

The interview ended with “you will hear from us soon.” A week later we were notified of our pre-selection. We were the first team to be selected for TURN8 Round 4. Due diligence stage commenced. Lots of paperwork; lots of emails were exchanged and we were officially confirmed. Dubai, here we come! We jetted out of Ghana on February 6, 2015, using Ethiopia Air. We missed the connecting flight and spent a day in Addis Ababa. It was a very cold experience and coming from a tropical country; we had to brace ourselves. We landed in Dubai on February 8 at approximately 4:00 AM local time.

First cultural shock. Checked into our prized room, what is locally referred to as a partition room. It was no bigger than a cubicle. We had to adapt fast. Then came the food. No African food in sight. Time we introduced our tongues and taste buds to different cuisines.

On February 9 it was time to head to The Cribb, where TURN8 teams work. Armed with a map and an RTA card we set off. Everyone gets lost once in a while in a new environment. We ended up at a different Al Qouz. You couldn’t blame us. We hailed a cab and phoned the TURN8 Community Manager who gave the directions to the cab driver. One team (Cabit, now Paack) had arrived early for the start of the program. We exchanged pleasantries with them and settled in to work.

The program officially commenced and boy was it an exciting one, covering topics like business modeling, financials and other important knowledge entrepreneurs need to acquire to help them become better managers and steer the affairs of a startup. Passion alone cannot guarantee the success of your startup. Choosing mentors is one key pillar of the TURN8 program and it helps startups get invaluable knowledge and coaching from people with industry knowledge. Mentors, I term them as “rudders of a ship,” help steer a startup and avoid errors that have the potential of killing it.

From pitching events, barbecue parties, prototype building, etc., TURN8 has helped shaped our perspective in the startup business. TURN8 is more than an accelerator; it’s a family that is bent on making everyone succeed. You are chided if you go wrong, encouraged and praised if you do things right. You learn not to take anything personal but rather strive to improve who you are. Many of us came into the program with only passion as a tool, but we have acquired enormous knowledge that can last a lifetime. It’s been one heck of an amazing journey and we have no regrets for joining this beautiful experience.

Now all pumped up, psyched up and ready we await the Investor Demo Day on June 13, 2015. It’s going to be a celebration of handwork from these 120 acceleration days. The Arabian night is going to be lit by beautiful ideas. Join us as we make history.

More about Swappaholics find here: http://turn8.co/swappaholics

Author: Francis Obirikorang, CEO at Swappaholics

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/swapchief

Investor Pitch Deck – [Infographic]

Raising money from investors is a crucial step for all startups, but even for experienced founders a great pitch can be challenging.

Your ability to deliver captivating content quickly and efficiently will often be the deciding factor for whether an investor funds you or walks away…

Check out our infographic below to see what it takes to make the perfect pitch:


Have you made the perfect pitch? Tell us how you wowed your investors in the comments below!


Faisal is the Content & Community Manager at PayFort. He enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, e-commerce and startups. You can find him on Twitter, Google+, or reach him at fkhalidi@payfort.com

Original article you can read here.

Apply for TURN8 now: www.turn8.co/apply

My Amazing Experience at TURN8 Accelerator


Taking a plane to Dubai for the first time was a mix of emotion! Fear, happiness and uncertainty were the things I was carrying on that flight when I set out to start my dream and create a company. What I brought back with me was even better (apart from a sweet Razer gaming headset) — a company. Okay, rewind a bit.

On December 22 there was a pitching contest organized in my home town of Nis, south Serbia (nice place, visit it), by a startup accelerator called TURN8 and a real estate company Clean Earth Capital. So my friend and I were thinking we should give it a shot, what’s the worst that can happen? We never even heard of the term “startup” but we went. In short, we kicked ass and we won.

Next thing we knew, we were dragged into this world of business, entrepreneurship, shares, MVP’s, BMC’s and all these fancy words that we didn’t have a clue what they meant, but we knew the entire thing meant opportunity ! We hit the books and a few months later chapter one starts (read above, the plane thing).

Working in an accelerator

An accelerator is a programme created to give your business idea a boost. They provide some funding, tutoring, classes, contacts, all things an idea needs (they do take a part of your company in the form of equity shares, but this is only one of the trades you will make 😉 ). Now, I don’t knowabout other accelerators, so I will speak from my perspective and experience in TURN8.

Working in TURN8 was amazing! They have an amazing working space, incredible team, events all the time. They taught me how to be a CEO! Every week there were a bunch of “classes,” like business model generation, marketing, pitching, BMC (business model canvas for all you newbs). In a matter of two months, my partner and I were on our way to becoming serious entrepreneurs. Our idea was even more on the way of becoming a real company!
Company growing up
We do this thing called Good Game Network. It’s an online hub where gamers can find an opponent, arrange a match and play for money. It started with three people, my partner Zorana who was until then a front end developer, my friend Dimitrije who helped with developing the idea (it’s a miracle what 10 hours of late night gaming sessions do to a man), and myself who was hardcore into back end development.
So we wrote our first plans and estimations and started working… but then this thing happened. People from the community, from Nis, gamers started contacting us offering help and to volunteer. It turned out, many, many people had the same passion (taking video games to a whole new level!). We quickly found one more developer, just as passionate as us. He started working his a** off and he was amazing. After he joined, we started to actively look into the Dota2 community for other people and it was amazing. From just a few people we went to a nine person team in just over a month! Our work was 100x faster, but somehow more work kept emerging — the whole thing started to become very serious.
Now we have a team, we have tested a huge part of the system (works like a charm), we have vision and focus and we are on our way to success.
To sum everything up for the tl;dr guys

Accelerators are awesome. Ideas are awesome. Get those two together and start an amazing relationship!

About Author

Good Game network, TURN8

Konstantin Velickovic, CEO of Good Game Network

Konstantin was professional gamer  for over 7 years as a leader of two successful gaming teams. Started first business at the age of 16, programming and selling video game servers to the Serbianmarket. Now he leads a gaming startup called Good Game Network.

For inquiries, contact him on his email: cpt.koki@gmail.com

If you are interested in applying for TURN8,

Apply Now

Under patronage of the Russian Business Council, the biggest Russian startup expedition Startup Sabantuy is coming to Dubai.

Startup Sabantuy

The application period is opened.

Under patronage of Russian Business Council (www.rbcdubai.org), the biggest Russian startup expedition Startup Sabantuy is coming to Dubai.

Startup Sabantuy is initiated by the most effective High Technology Park in the Russian Federation called IT-park. It was based 5 years ago in the city of Kazan and few years later in Naberezhnye Chelny, Republic of Tatarstan.

Startup Sabantuy is the international expedition held by IT-park which is aimed to find ambitious technological startups.

Participation is free, registration is required at http://startupsabantuy.ru/

Startup Sabantuy is held fourth time and this year the team of expedition will visit 10 Russian cities (Saratov, Izhevsk, Samara, Ufa, Yaroslavl, Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar, Irkutsk, Chelyabinsk, Petrozavodsk) and 3 foreign countries (The United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Serbia).

Startup Sabantuy is looking for: SaaS & smart cloud, new mobile services and applications, cloud technologies, e-commerce, management and storage of data, corporate and user software, gaming services.

Startup Sabantuy is supported by: RVC fund, Kama Flow, Runa Capital, LETA Capital, Rostelecom, Navigator Found, Russian Business Council in Dubai, Business Emirates, TheCribb.co and TURN8.co.

During the expedition the team of Startup Sabantuy in collaboration with the experts of venture funds will work with the projects providing valuable feedback and mentor support. After what 25 the most promising projects will be selected. These projects will have a chance to participate in Sabantuy CEO CAMP acceleration program, which will be held at IT-park in Naberezhnye Chelny. The program will allow startup founders to gain practical skills which are required for successful operation in technological market.

In addition, all participants of Startup Sabantuy expedition will get a chance to undergo GenerationS pre-acceleration program organized by RVC fund without preliminary selection.

The final step of Startup Sabantuy (Demo Day) will be held on 11th of July, 2015 when selected startups will present their projects to major investors.



High Technology Park IT-Park in Kazan and Naberezhnye Chelny is recognized as the most effective Technopark in Russia. 157 companies currently work here. The infrastructure of IT-park includes IT-academy, data-center, business incubator, coworking, hotel, and restaurant. The business incubator of IT-park is the biggest in Russia (total area is 3 thousand sq.m.). The range of business incubator ` s residents became successful IT-companies such as Eidos, Avtodoria, Sprut technology and others.

RVC – government fund established in 2006. The mission of the fund is to encourage Russia’s own VC industry and boost capital of VC funds.

GenerationS – federal accelerator and contest for technological startups hosted by RVC since 2013.

RIS Ventures is a partnership of investors, CEOs and founders of technology companies. The company provides tools and instruments for the development of technology businesses. The clients of RIS Ventures are Kaspersky Lab, Abbyy, Quest Software, Softline and other IT companies. RIS Ventures developed and held startup acceleration and development programs for IT-park, Ingria Business Incubator, IIDF and ITMO University.

The Cribb

The Cribb is a business incubator where innovative startups from around the world work side by side in an exciting and creative environment! The Cribb offers complete entrepreneurial resources, meeting and event space, a training facility, a computer lab, a cafe, and a lounge, all of which encourage networking and fun as well as work. The Cribb aims to help young innovators develop their business ideas in support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Dubai. In addition to hosting entrepreneurs from the community, The Cribb is home to the TURN8 Startup Accelerator program, i360 Accelerator as well as couple of international brands such as Tripadvisor, Profusion, Pressella, International Award.

Visit www.thecribb.co or call +971 4 319 7645 for membership information.


TURN8 is a program launched by DP World to foster a global entrepreneurial and innovation culture in the UAE. The aim is to inject entrepreneurial know-how and accelerate commercialise-able ideas to market. This revolutionary program strategically scouts for early stage ideas and concepts from around the world that can be refined and brought to market through the TURN8 seed accelerator. Visit http://www.turn8.co/.

Russian Business Council

Russian Business Council in Dubai and North Emirates (RBC) is a non-government organization, which represents interests of the Russian business community in the UAE and promotes international businesses within Russia.

RBC has been founded in October 2009 and registered in September 2010 under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce with the approval of Government of Dubai and the Russian Embassy in the UAE.

RBC is a dynamic, business focused member based organization that was established to support and promote business and investment opportunities between Russia and the Middle East.

Russian Emirates

«Russian Emirates» Publishing & Advertising Company was founded in Dubai in May 2004 on the base of the similarly named website created in 2001. At present, the Company consists of Russian Emirates Publishing House, which publishes three best magazines in Russian language. Based in the UAE and works in cooperation with Russia and other former Soviet Union Republics, «Russian Emirates» holds leading positions in the Russian-speaking media market.

Engines of innovation: TURN8

TURN8 Demo Day

Cassette tapes, VHS tapes, and transistor radios. Just three examples of home electronics and consumer items we would be using today if there hadn’t been a few visionaries willing to pursue innovative ideas which seemed unthinkable at the time.

Innovation has been a vital driver of progress, and with 2015 being market as Dubai’s Year of Innovation, the UAE has plans to put itself at the forefront of the ever-changing tech landscape.

In a recent column, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself stated that governments and companies had no other option: “Their choice is simple: innovate, or become irrelevant,” he wrote.

However, should the responsibility for driving innovation forward be carried solely by the government or is a holistic approach by all stakeholders in a society needed to produce meaningful results?

A significant number of current executives in the UAE are willing to follow in the government’s footsteps, with 89 percent perceiving innovation as a positive force which has contributed to better living standards for people in the country, according to the recently published fourth edition of the GE Global Innovation Barometer.

Nevertheless, the research further suggests that it is a public institution which has an eye for an ‘innovative’ detail in 40 percent of cases. Their initiatives are followed by only 26 percent of multinationals.

Looking specifically at the world’s largest companies and market power they usually enjoy, it seems reasonable that not so many of them recognise the need to encourage creative behaviours and disruptive processes outside their own R&D departments.

Yet there are exceptions. A number of transformative companies worldwide are willing to be engines of innovation within their societies. One of them is DP World, the Dubai-based world’s third largest port operator.

“It should happen from both sides,” said Yousif Al Mutawa, chief information officer at DP World and Turn8’s accelerator programme director, on the sidelines of the accelerator’s third Private Investor Demo Day event held recently at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

“The government has to play a very strong role but large corporations also have responsibility not only to the community but also because their own future is under question mark unless they innovate.

“For them to innovate, it’s not only about internal R&D but also about looking at trends and maybe acquiring some new solution that may lead them to their new core business in future.

“The corporates always look at competition and compare themselves to them but disruption doesn’t come from competition. It usually comes from places you least expect, from a start-up or a completely other industry.

“Unless they understand that, it will be difficult for them to transform themselves.”

Although its operations span across 65 locations around the world, DP World has found stepping beyond traditional business improvement models by taking the risk of nurturing entrepreneurship in the UAE to be an important part of its own ability to innovate successfully.

Seed accelerator TURN8 is a prime example of this innovation process.

“DP World has been a pioneer [in the region],” continued Al Mutawa.

“We’ve started this [TURN8] because we need to think about how the world is changing and how we can adapt ourselves to this change.

“Also, how we can cultivate the culture of innovation within our own corporates, and then Dubai and then the UAE.”

Al Mutawa spoke while 12 tech start-up founders from TURN8’s Fall 2014 class were preparing to pitch to regional and international investors at the Demo Day.

DP World launched TURN8 in April 2013 as a seed accelerator programme aimed at seeking ingenious ideas that can be refined and brought to market through a 120-day seed accelerator.

It has delegated the day-to-day management of the accelerator to Innovation 360, a Dubai-based innovation management firm, founded in 2008 by Kamal Hassan who aimed to help regional enterprises and governments improve their innovation strategy, execution and leadership.

Although his ‘real’ job was supposed to be a researcher and an associate scientist at the University of California in San Francisco, or as he explains a “lab rat”, Hassan spent two and a half decades supporting and occasionally financing SMEs in Silicon Valley.

When the MENA region started looking for entrepreneurial solutions seeking to diversify its economy, Hassan returned from the US to launch his Dubai-based innovation and entrepreneurship think-tank, the Innovation 360 Institute.

Drawing on this vast start-up-related experience in both Silicon Valley and the UAE, Hassan told StartUp on the sidelines of the event that for innovation in the region to flourish, the private sector would need to open its doors to entrepreneurs.

“The opportunities are there but corporates have to understand that the way forward is not to build innovation in-house but to actually do ‘acqhire’ [the neologism created from a combination of the words acquire and hire],” he said.

“To acquire and hire is a model pursued by corporates which are looking for talented entrepreneurs. They acquire their start-ups at a very interesting valuation but they know that in the long run this is the best way.”

Originally coined by Rex Hammock, a US entrepreneur, in 2005, the term quickly picked up traction when it was noted that tech companies such as Google, Apple or Nokia were purchasing start-ups primarily to hire their founders.

Facebook has been the largest performer of talent acquisitions with the latest being its purchase of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service, for $22 billion (£13.7 billion) in cash and stock. As part of the deal, WhatsApp co-founder and chief executive Jan Koum has joined Facebook’s board.

“Today, a start-up in the US can easily sell to a big brand name. It’s easy for them to go and build relationship with big corporates because these corporates are looking for innovations. They know that now they cannot build everything in-house,” Hassan continued.

“If you look at all the big corporates [in the US], they all have venture arms. We don’t see that here, with the exception of DP World and few others.

“Today, if a start-up or an inventor wants to go to talk to a corporate, there are a lot of restrictions on selling, procurement models are not really advanced.

“We need to create a pull system which allows start-ups to come up with businesses knowing there is a market for them.”

For that reason, the TURN8 programme begins with an online and event-based international scouting campaign, followed by a 120-day long training when the chosen start-up founders are invited to Dubai, given workspace and mentoring, and a maximum of $30,000 to develop their ideas.

Reaching the post-accelerator stage with a business-grade investment plan, the start-up teams are then assisted on their quest to obtain funding from various individual or institutional investors. In the meantime, TURN8 starts preparing for another bunch of teams.

Since the inception, the cycle has repeated three times graduating 32 teams. All of them gather at The Cribb, a workspace which was established by TURN8 and i360accelerator in Al Quoz Industrial Area 1.

With its 1,800 sq ft lounge area, a ,2000 sq ft playroom, a 900 sq ft training room, and the availability of i360’s community of mentors, The Cribb has turned into a popular social hub for budding entrepreneurs.

“Better than a master’s degree in business,” said Khalid Al-Jaaidi, co-founder and CEO of Vidium, a Dubai-born free mobile video messaging service, when asked to describe his experience with TURN8 just a few minutes before his pitch.

“Practice trumps theory, and TURN8 has supported us from day zero, and guided us through turning a great idea or an innovation into a business,” he added.

With a number of recent research studies revealing that almost 50 percent of occupations existing today will be completely redundant by 2025, Hassan pointed out that an adequate education on entrepreneurship had still been missing in the region.

“With the exception of certain Arabic countries, most universities are not producing entrepreneurs, they are still concentrated on subjects that produce good workforce but not entrepreneurs,” he said.

“We need to do this because that’s the solution for unemployment and not producing more employees.”

Since Al-Jaadi has pursued his innovative idea, which is to allow mobile users to get genuine first-time reactions to their video messages, secured the support of TURN8 to help him nurture it from a pre-early stage to becoming an early stage start-up, you would expect his post-accelerator journey to be plain sailing.

The fact that his start-up is entering the promising mobile messaging over-the-air market, which is estimated at a total revenue of $45 billion with 2.5 billion users by 2017, might be a reason more to expect increased investors’ interest.

However, there are challenges, as highlighted by Al-Jaaidi.

“I’d say the challenge comes from supporting the ‘early’ stage itself,” he said.

“We have VCs ready for the growth stage, which is a lot less risky and more about exploding, and we have incubators for pre-early.

“The ecosystem is missing people who are serious to back the early stage. It’s a risky stage that many investors shy from.

“Many start-ups are missing the middle link, the investment round, the partnership, the traction that makes or breaks everything.”

Hassan agreed that the biggest challenge in the market related to start-up investment, and said: “We still have very few VCs. Angel investment is also coming up but it’s also weak, and they are not educated yet on how to make angel investment. We need more of all of that.”

Focusing on the volatile start-up market is also a long shot for the regional banking industry whereas, as Hassan started explaining, the banking system in Silicon Valley is playing a vital role in incentivising start-ups.

Founded in 1982, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a US-based high-tech commercial bank, started by collecting deposits from businesses financed through venture capital to expand into banking and financing venture capitalists themselves.

Later on, the bank added services to keep the clients as their company progresses from the earliest stage, when the founders are using seed funding or bootstrap cash, to working with them through all of their growth stages.

And the results speak for themselves – out of KPMG’s list of 50 top start-ups in 2014, half were SVB clients.

“We have start-ups that are as good as the ones in the US. What is lacking is the ecosystem to actually take them to the next level. We need to put them on the global stage,” he said.

When asked how a speed-paced start-up culture fits into the region’s traditionally more conservative and family-oriented business mind-set, Hassan explained that spending decades in building just one company might be outdated in today’s innovation-driven economy.

He said: “Why don’t we allow hundreds of people to build companies and then acquire them and merge them into something that can last as well?

“There are difficulties to understand that around here. That’s why everybody is talking about family businesses. They’ve built them since the 50s and they are still sitting on them.

“It’s great money, but what does it do to diversify economy, resolve unemployment, and cultivate innovation? It’s just making one individual wealthy.”

While Hassan hoped that the next bunch of TURN8 entrepreneurs would focus on robotics, the ‘internet of things’, healthcare, and business to business automation – identifying them as “needed in this market” – Al Mutawa concluded by reiterating DP World’s vision:

“Bringing all those minds in Dubai, growing them into start-ups, and hopefully one or two of those will become the next Google or…It will be something that has happened in Dubai since it’s not just about buying and selling, it’s also about creating knowledge.”

Author: Tamara Pupic, Senior Reporter, StartUp Magazine

Original article you can read here.