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January 19, 2024
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Embracing Middle East Funding: Silicon Valley’s Newfound Affection


– Tech investors and founders in Silicon Valley are once again seeking funding from Middle East investors, a trend that had slowed after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
– The end of the era of cheap capital has prompted many Western startups and VC firms to go abroad for funding, particularly to regions with large sovereign wealth funds.

Silicon Valley investors and founders are once again turning to Middle East money for funding, despite previous concerns about the association with Saudi Arabia following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The end of the era of cheap capital has led to a difficult fundraising period for Western startups and venture capital firms. This has prompted many founders and investors to seek funding abroad, especially in regions where high oil prices have increased the size of sovereign wealth funds. Zafer Younis, founder of Silicon Valley Venture and Innovation, has helped broker introductions for U.S. venture capitalists to wealthy investors in the Middle East since 2019. He has noticed a significant increase in demand for his services, with over 90 investors asking for help organizing road shows in the Middle East last year. However, investors and founders need to remember to be humble and culturally sensitive when seeking funding in the Middle East, as humility is highly valued in the region. Despite the initial concerns following the Khashoggi murder, the financial benefits of Middle East investment are again appealing to Silicon Valley. The Middle East offers an opportunity to access significant amounts of funding at a time when AI startups are in high demand.

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