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Venture Catalysts Strengthens Its Global Presence with Its Launch in Dubai

Aims to replicate the superlative success of its India model by scaling it in other emerging start-up hubs across the world

In a move which further consolidates its position as a high-potential player in the global arena, Venture Catalysts, India’s first integrated incubator, has announced its launch in Dubai. Organised the grand launch event at the Taj Dubai in Business Bay, UAE was attended by more than 150 prominent investors as well as several other key stakeholders from the region, including top entrepreneurs.

The latest international expansion from VCats builds on its foray into Qatar, and further underlines its commitment to build a global ecosystem of quality investors, mentors, HNIs, and start-ups. The incubator aims to create an integrated international entrepreneurship-focussed network which facilitates business knowledge and technical acumen between Indian and international start-ups, investors, and organisations.

Venture Catalysts’ Dubai expansion is being hailed as a revolutionary development that will revitalise the larger start-up ecosystem in the region. Dubai has been breaking new grounds as an emerging global start-up and innovation hub, and was recently ranked 29th in Nestpick’s 2017 Startup Cities Index ahead of the more established ecosystems of London, New York, and Tokyo. Strong support from the government has also been critical to driving the continued success of Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, paving the way for several successful start-ups like Careem, yallacompare, Fetchr, and Talabat. The operational launch of an established integrated incubator such as VCats is expected to further catalyse this growth and unlock the next level of evolution from the region’s start-ups.

Speaking on the launch, Dr. Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Co-founder & President– Venture Catalysts, said, “Dubai, at present, is at a stage where India was around 10 years back. Several high-potential start-ups are making their presence felt in the regional market with their disruptive approach and their focus on leveraging technology. To unlock the next phase of their evolution, these ventures require institutional support from domain leaders, be it in terms of investment, mentoring, or business networking opportunities. This is exactly where Venture Catalysts steps into the picture. Having created an entire ecosystem comprising promising start-ups, HNIs, investors, mentors, and incubators in India, we are looking to extend our effective and high-impact start-up support model to drive the growth of Dubai-based start-ups. This expansion will also help us to tap into the existing and future synergies between the markets in India and Dubai. We aim to enable an exchange of investments, business knowledge, and technological expertise between stakeholders in both regions for driving mutual growth.”

In addition to driving start-up growth, the move is also expected to give a massive fillip to the region’s investors and HNIs. Start-ups have established themselves as an extremely lucrative alternative investment avenue for HNIs across the globe; post a 2017 IPO, just seven years after its launch, personalized fashion provider Stich Fix provided a valuation-to-investment capital (VIC) ratio of 47x. Roku, a Silicon Valley start-up which developed a popular streaming device and platform, also generated a VIC of 20x in its recent IPO. Many Indian start-ups – such as MakeMyTrip, JustDial, and redBus – have also generated double-digit multiplier returns for their investors. With most of Dubai’s top start-ups currently bootstrapped, investors and HNIs have an unparalleled opportunity to maximise their capital gains through start-up investments. Having created one of the leading investor networks in the Indian subcontinent, VCats can assist investors from Dubai and across the world realise the massive investment potential of the region’s start-up ecosystem.

“Often called the City of Gold, Dubai is home to some of the biggest HNIs in the world. We aim to help these HNIs derive greater value from their surplus wealth, while simultaneously stimulating economic growth in the region and creating an environment conducive to start-up growth. With multiple highly innovative and disruption-driven ventures in our investee portfolio, we have the proven track record and necessary expertise to replicate our investment success in Dubai as well. We will additionally look to nurture start-up incubation opportunities in Dubai for improving the chances of start-up success for our investee ventures here,” added Dr. Apoorv.

Anuj Golecha, Co-Founder, Venture Catalysts said, “VCats has been extremely successful in its mission of bolstering the start-up eco-system in India by enabling path-breaking ideas and innovative models to turn into robust businesses. We wanted to widen the footprint of the work we are doing and Dubai was the natural choice for such expansion, given its massive entrepreneurial potential and its large base of HNIs and investors. Our launch in Dubai will further add to our on-going endeavours of creating a strong global network of investors and facilitating cross-border growth opportunities for start-ups.” 

VCats also marked its Dubai launch with an Investor Pitch Day, which saw six promising start-ups making their business pitches in front of 150+ prominent investors to secure capital funding. The selected start-ups – ImpactGuru, Kapiva, Rooter, Ideal Insurance, Hospals and University Living – were handpicked for their innovative business models, scope of growth, and disruptive potential in both the Indian and the GCC markets.

Founded by Harvard and Wharton alumni, and incubated at Harvard Innovation Lab, ImpactGuru is a crowdfunding platform that facilitates donations to needy individuals, NGOs for medical, education & other social causes, via its global community of donors/supporters. Kapiva is into the Ayurveda and nutrition food space. It makes a range of highly differentiated & proprietary Ayurvedic juices, capsules, oils and classical medicine.

Rooter is a mobile app that connects sports fans online. The app redefines how sports fan connect online, predict scores and share comments with friends during the game. Ideal Insurance is an insurance broking & advisory firm offering speciality insurance. Hospalsis a medical tourism company that offers end-to-end hospital services in India for global patients. It has been revolutionizing the $4bn medical tourism business. University Living is a housing marketplace for international students, bridging the gap that exists in the overseas student accommodation market by connecting international students with serviced apartments/hostels near their universities.

VCats, over the past few years, has focused extensively on developing a strong global start-up network and has been nurturing numerous brilliant business ideas, talented entrepreneurs, and a rapidly expanding investor network in India and on a global level. Its latest geographical expansion is another step towards this goal, as it will help VCats in mobilising investors and start-ups from the Dubai region to facilitate cross-border investment, business networking, and growth opportunities.


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