UAE, Israeli Tech Ecosystems Growing Closer
Emirati, Israeli, and global entrepreneurs seek high-tech investment opportunities at a teleconference sponsored by Jerusalem’s OurCrowd and the UAE’s Emirates Angels Investors Association
Excitement was in the air during a globally attended teleconference Tuesday on the United Arab Emirates innovation ecosystem and its key sectors.
An array of senior UAE investment professionals, entrepreneurs and government officials said that they are positive that regional economic growth will increase via bilateral venture-capital investment opportunities made possible by the Abraham Accords, ratified Monday by the Israeli government cabinet. The agreement was signed by the UAE and Israel on September 16 at the White House.
Two investment groups that are in the process of introducing the two markets, Jerusalem’s OurCrowd and the UAE’s Emirates Angels Investors Association, sponsored the conference.
“Israel and the UAE are a natural fit. The UAE has natural resources and a tiny population. Our financial capital exceeds our human capital. Israel, on the other hand, has human capital with an overstretched local financial capital. In both cases, the surplus fits the deficit of the other market,” noted Dr. Salah al-Binali, chief executive officer of UAE-based Universal Strategy and the newly appointed UAE-based venture partner and head of the Gulf region for OurCrowd.
He continued, “The UAE is good at deploying capital and both markets have what the other wants.”
Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, a government agency, said the last few weeks have been exhilarating. “There is quite a lot of interest and curiosity at [what] we have to offer.”
The UAE technology ecosystem has “a lot of constructive disruption,” Bin Hendi said as he welcomed Israeli high-tech representatives., “We want to have a seat at the table on the Israeli side.” He invited Israeli innovators to visit. “Of course, after the pandemic.”
Israel and the UAE are a natural fit. The UAE has natural resources and a tiny population. Our financial capital exceeds our human capital. Israel, on the other hand, has human capital with an overstretched local financial capital. In both cases, the surplus fits the deficit of the other market
“The Gulf is a growing dynamic market and innovative technology … can make it a better place to live and [can create] a great future in the region,” said Abdullah Saeed Juma Al Naboodah, chairman of Naboodah Investments LLC and Phoenix Investment LLC.
He told The Media Line, “Our group is focused on water and agritech, health and life sciences, fintech and mobility markets.” Just last week, his Phoenix Investment signed a memorandum of understanding with OurCrowd to create a $100 million partnership to invest and increase business and tech ties in the UAE and the region.
During the teleconference, the “chat” section was filled with English and Arabic comments, mostly from entrepreneurs and service providers from around the world seeking to make connections.
According to Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd, “The stars are aligned for a great beginning to a long-term, fruitful and productive relationship between Israeli and Emirati investors.” UAE leadership and entrepreneurs have expertise in key areas such as logistics, transportation, airlines and technology. To Medved, there are “lots of opportunities to invest in the UAE.”
Al Naboodah agreed, “The UAE is the hub for the Arab world for technology businesses and startups. With proven regulatory environment and a proven track record, it is the best platform in the Arab world.”