Start-up funding need not be prohibitive

22 November 2016

Exemptions would be start-ups that deal with highly complex industries, says Silicon Valley entrepreneur

The right amount for a technology start-up is possibly between $250,000 and $1m, Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki told MEED’s Innovation Live! conference on 21 November.

Kawasaki said exemptions would be start-ups that deal with highly complex industries such as genomic research and medicine, where the initial capital requirement could range within tens of millions of dollars.

“We need to fund, but not over-fund [technology start-ups]” Kawasaki said, indicating that excessive funding, like lack of funding, could potentially undermine growth. He said the typical funding could go up to $1m, but not $5m.

Author of more than a dozen entrepreneurial books, Kawasaki suggested that Dubai’s ambition to become a global technology hub will require significant investment in education, primarily in the engineering discipline.

“The main secret of Silicon Valley’s success is its engineers… who like to create new things and products,” he explained. “[Engineers who graduated from] Stanford University, not venture capitalists, run Silicon Valley.”

The given estimates for an initial technology start-up funding mean technology funds, such as the planned $100bn technology fund by Japan’s Softbank with the help of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and other investors, could go a long way in funding technology start-ups globally, including those that may be founded in Dubai.

The PIF recently invested $3.5bn in taxi service Uber to help the company’s expansion in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

The cash injection from the PIF was part of Uber’s most recent financing round, which values the company at $62.5bn, making it the highest-valued venture capital-backed firm in the world.

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