Middle East as Home to a Hot, Rising Tech Scene

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Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Maha Ibrahim, general partner at Canaan Partners, describes the thriving technology sector in the Middle East and the challenges of running an innovative technology operation in the region. She speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.”

Middle east gets a lot of attention for all of the unrest, but there are other things going on there, too.

Tell me about the tech sector out there.

It is different based on the country.

Each country, whether it is egypt, lebanon, the gulf states, they all have different pockets of tech heavy industries.

The problem is in each country, the differences are so vast that it has been very hard for them to collectively grouped together as a force in technology.

We're looking at a map, how are the countries different?

You have that egypt, israel, the home of waze, which google to spot.

We know israel very well.

Certainly we have not seen any technology innovation that is rivaled anywhere else in the middle east but for what is just coming out of israel.

That said, the gulf states are really interesting because they probably have the highest average revenue per user as any mobile area and the world, including the u.s. and western europe.

The problem is the population they're just cannot sustain massive companies.

You have a very wealthy people spending a lot of money on their mobile apps, and you mentioned the gold phones coming out of saudi arabia, that again not a big market.

And then on the flip side, you have egypt, which is a very educated society, but with an $80 million -- an 80 million population, which is not very advanced economically.

So you have a big market, but not when i can pay a lot.

I imagine there are some challenges.

What are the challenges operating in the middle east?

Politically the challenges are not great with israel because the israelis have been going through this for decades.

The tech transfer between the u.s. or europe and israel asbury well-established at this point.

There is not sony challenges of the israeli economy and the israeli entrepreneurs, but certainly if you are in lebanon or egypt, the challenges are much higher because the asset to capital and the local heroes frankly are not there yet.

Coming about the companies you have invested in out there that are the biggest success stories?

We have a number of investments in our israeli portfolio.

Probably the most from the thing is run cents, a chip company that was embedded into microsoft connect, the device that was on top of the xbox peer we have a very high hopes for that company, in that it into television and other types of devices beyond the ki nect.

All right, maha, thank you so

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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