untitled-design-1I spent all of last week in Kuwait, and heading to Dubai next week before I head back to Chicago.

The title of this post is from Al Shugart’s 3 Rules of Entrepreneurship: each rule reads “cash is more important than your mother.”

One of the reasons I started this blog is to fix some misconceptions the west has about the Middle East, and the Gulf states, here are a few:

 

 

  • My name is Sara, I am from Kuwait, which is a country, that is not in Dubai. Dubai is a city in the UAE which is another country. Both countries are in the Gulf states which are part of the collective “Middle East”
  • I am not a princess or a millionaire, not everyone in the ME is rich and our governments do not pour cash into our bank accounts
  • The region is currently going thru an economic crisis due to lack of planning (creation of alternative income streams versus reliance on oil revenue); and oil prices are at an all-time low which is painful
  • I see the dollar signs in your eyes, which is why, if you want to get into business with one of the Arab States, let’s talk. I have worked at alot of the investment firms and have relationships with a few sovereign wealth firms.
  • Not everyone in the middle east is making a ton of money, in fact few are, just like there is a top 1% in the west, there is one here too.
  • A typical investment associate in the MENA region makes $32-50K a year; so technically an associate in the US makes more, yes you heard me
  • My name is Sara, yes that’s my real name. Only in china do they change their Chinese names and are given western name. And yes I am looking at you CEO of a midwest investment bank who insulted me by asking me what’s my real name.

So how does this relate to VC?

It relates to when Western companies call me to fundraise for them and think an individual or an investment bank in the MENA region will gladly sign a $50M check. This is not the case.

MENA investors are conservative and love to conserve their cash. Cash is King. They are sophisticated investors but prefer preserving versus risking assets on the wild west that is venture capital.

Late stage company looking to raise a round? Call me, but manage your expectations.

 

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