Investments

Dubai’s Falcon Network invests $450,000 in six startups

One of the latest startup community initiatives in Dubai that launched on May 4 in the form of the Falcon Network Pitch Day has led to this week’s angel investment of over $450,000 into six startups: WorkAround, Caravan, Aion Sigma, Saaya Health, Teacherly, and Virtual i Technologies.

The path to this investment has been largely paved thanks to outreach done by Dr. Sayd Farook, who is part of the founding team of the Falcon Network and Goodforce Labs, a Dubai accelerator focused on social impact startups. In addition to reaching out to angel investors based in the Middle East and Asia and inviting 45 of them to join the Falcon Network, Dr. Farook and his team invited high impact early-stage startups to apply for funding opportunities in late 2018.

Dr. Farook, who is also active with initiatives such as the Dubai Future Foundation and its affiliate Area 2071 at Emirates Towers, recently commented on the Falcon Network process.

“We are delighted with the success of our first round – with over 223 start-ups submitting funding applications from 46 different countries. Out of the 13 shortlisted companies, we are delighted that Aion Sigma, Caravan, Teacherly, Virtual i Technologies, WorkAround and Saaya Health have secured investment. These exciting businesses will not only benefit from the financial capital, but also strategic expertise which our angels will provide in order to accelerate their growth potential.”

The Falcon Network, which launched in October 2018 on the sidelines of the Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai, is already planning the next round of funding: applications will open in November 2019.

Dr. Sayd Farook speaks at the Falcon Network Pitch Day in Dubai on May 4, 2019

Smart Money

Founders of the six startups expressed appreciation for the investment and valuable counsel they are receiving from angel investors, including several who previously led successful startups.

“We are grateful to have the Falcon Network as an investor to support us in achieving our vision. We envision a world where talent knows no boundaries and opportunity doesn’t ask for status and work is rewarded with fair pay,” said Wafaa Arbash, CEO and co-founder of WorkAround, a startup that provides a scalable data tagging and verification platform for artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, delivered by skilled displaced people.

Caravan Co-founder and CEO Syed Karim stated that the Falcon Network’s support comes at a time when his UAE-based sustainable transportation startup has found its pace after facing a rocky road.

“Caravan is a value-added aggregator of privately operated buses in UAE with the mission of helping employees find the best bus for their work commute. The vision of Caravan is to help raise the quality of this industry so that more people will be open to considering it for their work commute. Our journey so far has been a tough one, from on-boarding operators to marketing challenges, but we’ve hit our stride earlier this year and started to see healthy, sustainable growth rates,” said Karim.

“With the help of our investors at Wamda Capital and Falcon Network, we are ambitious and confident about the future of Caravan and we hope that we can make a dent in the transportation universe.

Among the Falcon Network’s community of over 45 angel investors is Tajawal cofounder and former CEO Muhammad Chbib, who has most recently launched a new startup called Manal.com, which acts as a travel platform for customized trips.

Chbib said that joining the Falcon Network as an angel investor is an opportunity for him to provide mentorship to founders following his experience as a serial entrepreneur.

“We have managed to assemble a group of people that committed to contribute at least $50,000 each that will be seed invested into promising startup projects. Not only will money be contributed, the mentorship by the Falcon business angels also aims to support and accelerate the growth of the portfolio companies,” said Chbib.

“With the help of the powerful network behind Falcon, we are sure to enable further rounds of funding and subsequently help create a couple of successful businesses.”

Elias Jabbe

Elias Jabbe

Contirbutor at MENAbytes
A Dubai-based writer originally from Los Ángeles, Silicon Beach digital community and the creator of the Californian Creativity Course. His storytelling guides for startups are available at Elias213.com. His writing portfolio is available here and he can be reached on Twitter or hi [at] elias213 [dot] com.
Elias Jabbe

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