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VC Experts See Qatar As Launchpad for Regional, Global Expansion

VC Experts See Qatar As Launchpad for Regional, Global Expansion

The country’s growing ecosystem is providing startup founders with the opportunity to utilise Qatar as a springboard for expanding their operations in the region or other international markets, according to experts from a Qatar-based venture capital (VC) fund manager.

Alexander Wiedmer and Soumaya Ben Beya Dridje, partner and junior partner, respectively, at Rasmal Ventures, were part of a Startup Grind Qatar panel, which discussed Qatar’s growing startup ecosystem and how these small businesses have been scaling and commercialising over the last couple of years.

According to Wiedmer, it is a “super exciting time” to set up shop in Qatar. He further discussed current developments in the country’s VC and startup ecosystem, particularly citing Qatar Investment Authority’s (QIA) $1bn “fund of funds” to attract VCs here.

During the opening ceremony of the first-ever Web Summit Qatar 2024, HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani announced the QIA’s billion-dollar investment in international and regional VC funds to support local and international entrepreneurs.

Speaking at one of Web Summit Qatar 2024 panel discussions, QIA chief investment officer – Americas, Mohamed al-Sowaidi said the the QIA’s $1bn investment underlines Qatar’s attractiveness as a destination for international funds.

Wiedmer emphasised that this fund of funds will lead to more local and international VCs in Qatar, which will in turn attract more entrepreneurs to the country.

“Qatar has previously not received much attention in terms of innovation due to political reasons, but this is changing. There will be more VCs here. There will be more VCs from the outside looking at the companies in Qatar. And so it’s a very good time to set up a company in Qatar. I think it’s only looking up,” Wiedmer said.

Similarly, Ben Beya Dridje pointed out the strategic advantages of establishing a startup in Qatar, especially for startups targeting regional clients. She noted that the country is an ideal springboard to the regional market and beyond for either local or international startups that want to grow and expand their operations.

Ben Beya Dridje also underscored Qatar’s potential in specific sectors, citing for example energy tech. Despite Qatar’s small market size, she stressed that the country can be significant for certain industries.