Beirut Could Be the World’s Next Silicon ValleyBookmark this
Unknown to most American investors, a quiet tech revolution is building in the Middle East.
Ignited in late 2014, this “Beast of the (Middle) East” is gradually inching its way towards a seat at the big kids’ table – and closer to the current leader of the pack…
And thanks to some recent generous developments (read: monetary backing), it’s picking up the pace.
As Mike Butcher of Tech Crunch puts it, “Beirut is rapidly shaping up to be a powerhouse for startups in the Middle East. It has many of the key elements: a highly entrepreneurial culture; incubators and accelerators; venture capital; some gradually favorable government policy; and access to growth funding.”
Now, it’s not about to knock Silicon Valley off the throne anytime soon… but it’s certainly modeling itself on the essential elements of the renowned Californian tech hub.
Indeed, the pro-growth initiatives of Lebanon’s Central Bank, plus the United Kingdom, and major venture capitalist firms are positioning Beirut as the future “Silicon Valley of the Middle East.”
Here’s the proof…
Beirut’s Tech Pot Is Growing
Attention – and, more importantly, a glut of new funding – is flowing towards Beirut, in hopes of establishing it as a new tech hub for the region. For example…
- Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), Berytech Fund, and LEAP Ventures have “each raised at least $50 million.”
- Beirut-based Leap Ventures recently announced a new $71-million venture capital fund focused on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
- Further pushing the agenda of the tech ecosystem, Lebanon’s Central Bank promised to invest up to $400 million into the startup economy via its “Circular 331” initiative.
- Even Britain is jumping in to boost the area’s tech presence. Tom Fletcher, the former Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs to the Prime Minister (also the current U.K. Ambassador to Lebanon), is championing a new initiative aimed at bridging startup communities between Lebanon and the U.K. The project is referred to as a U.K.-Lebanon “Tech Hub.”