IMC Looks To Link India & MENA Startup Ecosystems

LAFFAZ Media has recently launched INDO-MENA Corridor (IMC), an initiative focused on Indian and Middle East & North Africa (MENA) startup ecosystems. The initiative aims at connecting tech startups with potential investors and advisors through a seamless application process accompanied with knowledge sharing delivered through a series of virtual events.

“Our core cognition for IMC is wise and clear, forming an integrated ecosystem where joint enablement across India and the MENA region can take place considering the similar goals that both startup ecosystems share. Unlike the traditional accelerators, IMC’s door is always open for startups throughout the year. We are delighted to have startup ecosystem leaders like Microsoft for Startups Middle East and StartupScale360 as the ecosystem partners for the IMC as they are committed to empower the initiative and scale it further. And aiming to keep extending our partner canvas throughout the year,” stated Mohammed Haseeb, CEO & Co-founder of LAFFAZ Media.

The IMC came into implementation during the early COVID period and it took six months to bring it into existence. The news startup approached various ecosystem enablers to join forces as ecosystem partners and received positive responses from Microsoft for Startups Middle East, a dedicated program for MENA based B2B startups to help them successfully scale their companies; and StartupScale360, UAE based startup ecosystem builder that connects all key stakeholders, founded by Swethal Kumar, former VP of Mubadala and ex-Hub71. The first episode of IMC virtual events ‘Introducing INDO-MENA Corridor’ on February 03, 2021, explains the agency.

The initiative is further empowered by Andra Public Relations, Bahrain, as the Supporting Partner.

Pradeep Singh, CTO & Co-founder noted, “Ever since we started LAFFAZ, we always had this thought of creating a corridor between India and the MENA region to match innovation with right enablement. The synergy helps both startups and investors to connect regionally as well as internationally.”

According to the Embassy of India Bahrain, Indian nationals constitute 30 percent of the total population of Bahrain. Numerous Indian startups including Ola, Zomato and BigBasket have also said to raise investments from the Middle East based venture capital firms and institutions such as Vy Capital, Mubadala, Jabbar Internet, Investcorp of Bahrain and many more.

“The UAE has all the ingredients to become a vibrant hub for start-ups, underpinned by effective public-private partnerships and fast regulatory decision making. The Emirates have a long history and strong ties with India, and having Indian startups take advantage of the UAE’s ecosystem is a natural extension of this collaboration, which will contribute to realizing the country’s ambition to further shift towards a knowledge based economy,” said Roberto Croci, Managing Director, Microsoft for Startups Middle East.

The present connection between the startup ecosystems of India and the MENA region that involves remarkable cross border investments, the establishment of VC funds, government policies and free zones is claimed to lay the foundation of the integrated INDO-MENA startup ecosystem.

Mr Kumar commented, “The UAE is at the crossroad between Indian subcontinent and EMEA. It provides a perfect landing platform for Indian startups to penetrate into the MENA market. It has all the right ingredients to welcome startups to its ecosystem, and help them scale up the business with the right support of the key stakeholders including Government bodies, regulators and investors communities.”

“Initiatives such as the IMC are crucial to create a solid bridge between two large startup ecosystems; which is India; the 3rd largest startup and home to 21 unicorns ecosystem and the MENA region which just witnessed its first unicorn exit and had the highest number of investments to date according to MAGNiTT. We are happy to support a platform to take startups to the next level both regionally and cross border,” said Fatema Ebrahim, CEO of Andra Public Relations; a Bahrain based FinTech PR firm.