Starting Up KnowledgeBusinesses in QatarAdvice from the trenches…Or what we’ve learned in the last year...in 10 minutes or less Doha Tweetups Abraham Kamarck & 18 October, 2011 Haya Al Ghanim
In the last year, we’ve changed strategiesalmost on a weekly basis The reality of the environment is that we are bleeding edge and need to maintain to succeed in the long-haul
The Start-Up Paradox….To createsomething great,you must be bothPatient &Impetuous at thesame time…. Impetuous = hasty and precipitate in action
The Start-Up Paradox…. It’s like running a Marathon, you have to be ready to go the distance…but you can’t ever stop running.
The Start-Up Paradox….There will be major ups & downs.Success can only bejudged over time.Steve Jobs wasonce fired fromApple (1985).
The Start-Up Paradox…. Start-ups are difficult everywhere, but they are especially hard in Qatar. WHY???
Because…..QATAR is a START-UPQatar is trying to do what no onehas ever done before…“Qatar, Punching Above it’s Weight..” – Foreign Policy“Tiny Qatar’s Big Plans May Change Mideast” – Bloomberg Business Week
…and what no one thoughtQatar could do… Which is a bigger accomplishment?
Qatar is a start-up. 2030 is still a long way away. Everything in Qatar is constantly changing.And we ALL need to help realize 2030. We have to keep running.
As Start-Ups we have to HelpBuild the Start-Up Environment #StartUpQatarSo now let’s talk about theStart-Up Environment in Qatar…
Start-up Myths in Qatar 1. Qataris are not entrepreneurial… 2. I only need the expat market… 3. 2022…….. 4. I have a start-up, IF…. 5. Franchises = Gold
The Current Challenges…1. Direct Challenges2. Systemic Challenges3. Cultural Challenges
Direct Challenges (just a few) Online Payment Gateway Set-Up Fee: Q.R. 28,750 #QNBFail?Also,• Municipal Registration requires Commercial Offices• Licensing Problems
Systemic Challenges(1) Last 10 years growth has been funded byGovernment Spending. (Directly & Indirectly) Q Companies Hire Staff and Pay Salary & Benefits Employees Spend on Rent, Retail, Restaurants and Range Rovers
#QatarRentOuchSystemic Challenges(2) HIGH…no Seriously,Seriously, RidiculouslyHIGH Asset pricesDoha has the 12th most expensive office space inthe world (QR3,248 or $887 per m² per annum).Only MENA country in the top 20Most expensive space in the world when adjustedfor office population.
Systemic Challenges(3) The Talent Vacuum The Talent just isn’t here in the needed numbers yet…There are only 200K “White Lindsay Lohan is often calledCollar” workers in QATAR* a “Talent Vacuum”The Problems: The Seeds of the Solution:• Young Qatari population QF & Al Jazeera• Sponsorship System Plus….Doha is not ready• High Asset Prices (traffic, schools, sewage?) *qix.gov.qa
Cultural ChallengesThe Cultural Barriers to Knowledge Growth1. The Majiles Scenario -“Your Successful, Know-it-all Uncle.”2. The Paradox of Success –“What got you here, won’t get you there.”3. Sweat Equity –“Ideas are Cheap, Execution is Everything.”4. Angel Investors or the lack of them
Angel Investing…a snapshotAngel Valuations are difficult because there is often notmuch to value, so industry norms developIn the US an Equity Norm is 20% for a US$ 500K investment.We need a norm for Qatar. i.e. 20% for QR 500K #QatarAngels Source: Mark Suster, www.bothsidesofthetable.com
Start-Up Opportunities in QatarAreas with the greatest potential for scalable growth(The Big Bets)#NewEconomy - Everything needs to changee.g. Sustainable Solutions, Smart Manufacturing#SOCENT – “Bottom of the Pyramid” Strategy#HUB – Media, Education & Research#FailWell – You Are Going to Fail
#FailFast#FailSmart#FailWell In the VC business, if you hit.300, you are doing well. If you hit .400, you are going to the hall of fame. But it is how you behave when you strike out that defines your reputation. No throwing bats. - Fred Wilson