- Companies should focus on bringing world-class business to compete for capital rather than just focusing on valuations.
- Early-stage ventures require more capital and more governance to get foundations right.
- Luck plays a significant role in the VC industry, and it is better to partner with locals who know the market better.
- The Middle East market is brand-conscious, and companies should implement MENA-focused strategies.
- The ecosystem's journey is at a point where it generates returns, and it is incumbent upon all to drive the dollars into the market and help entrepreneurs.
Investopia 2023 hosted a panel discussion entitled “The VC Challenge: Competing for Capital” featuring heads of VC companies and heads of healthcare and biotech companies. The session explored how to compete for capital in the market and discussed the lessons that could be learned by comparing the VC ecosystem in the Middle East to that of other regions.
Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi moderated the panel, which included David Giampaolo, Vasudev Bailey, and Lachlan Hughes. Dr. Hendi, the CEO of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, began the discussion by asking the panel about their experiences and challenges.
David Giampaolo, the CEO of Pi Capital, emphasized the importance of bringing world-class business to investors instead of just focusing on valuations. He also spoke about the need for early-stage ventures to get their foundations right and for entrepreneurs to have a long-term outlook.
Vasudev Bailey, the Partner at ARTIS Ventures, shared his experiences looking at deals worldwide. He highlighted the need for businesses to have global applicability and advised the region to focus on building novel business models that are globally relevant.
Lachlan Hughes, the Partner at AETHOS Consulting Group, emphasized the need to recognize that markets are different and to spend a lot of time thinking about business models. He also encouraged entrepreneurs to find great partners to help them navigate new regions.
The panel also discussed the challenges of managing valuations in the VC space, the differences between VC ecosystems in different regions, and the need for cohesion in the Middle East’s VC ecosystem.
Dr. Hendi asked the panel about the VC space’s role in the growth and how to continue developing the sector. The panelists emphasized the importance of liquidity and a good ecosystem and advised policymakers to set 5- and 10-year goals instead of 1- and 3-year goals.
The panel also discussed the need for education and more government support. Vasudev Bailey spoke about the need for Mubadala and ADQ to partner with VCs to look at 15-year returns instead of 5- or 10-year returns.
David Giampaolo advised new VCs to move slowly, co-invest, ask questions, assume they know nothing and be humble. He also spoke about the importance of storytelling and holding conferences to attract regional attention.
In conclusion, the panel emphasized the need for cohesiveness in the Middle East’s VC ecosystem, the importance of global applicability in business models, and the need for a long-term outlook. They also encouraged policymakers to focus on developing the sector over the long term and to support entrepreneurs by providing education and support from the government.