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Thursday, March 6, 2014

START-UP UAE: ‘Dubai could become the next Silicon Valley’

START-UP UAE: ‘Dubai could become the next Silicon Valley’

Google - Silicon ValleyHaving just returned from a recent trip from the heart of tech, Silicon Valley, I wanted to share my experiences.
I travelled West as part of the Google For Entrepreneurs programme (that’s me at Google, left) – and was lucky enough to spend some time in the famous offices, riding the colourful bikes and networking with some of the most elite names in tech.
A visit to the West Coast was always a dream – and as a passionate entrepreneur and follower of tech – this was a place I believed would unlock success. After reading Steve Jobs’ autobiography and the recent hit title ‘Hatching Twitter’, I was keen to find out what it was about the area that made companies there so successful.
During my visit I was taken on a tour to the garages where HP started, where the first Google server was built – and, also, taken to Jobs’ famous home where the Apple computer was established. These were all exactly how imagined – tree lined streets in a very American style neighbourhood.
In addition I stopped by Mark Zuckerberg’s house – who lives a stone’s throw from where all the history took place – to drop off a birthday card for facebook’s 10th anniversary! As the founder of a tech start-up myself, and having now been to what is seen as the heartbeat of tech, I have to say I am proud – and happy – to have decided to base myself in the East and call Dubai my home.
Silicon Valley map
I believe that the reason why the majority of successful tech companies are based out of Silicon Valley is really down to the network. Although it is a fantastic place, Dubai has so much more to offer. My view is that we are where Silicon Valley was 10 years ago and as more companies base themselves here – and more start-ups are established – we have a good chance of becoming the next Silicon Valley.
At times as an entrepreneur steering your start-up ship it can be a tough battle – and the thought of heading West at times can be appealing. However when you strip it back – the facilities, infrastructure and amenities the East has to offer are superior.
All that needs to happen in my opinion is for the start-up community to grow – and a circuit of companies to become available for world-leading engineers to come and work for. Geographically, Dubai is perfectly located. Now, one common link between all companies in SV are the cool offices.
Dubai Internet CityWorking for a hot start-up is not just about the company but also the environment and sleekness of the offices. It makes all the difference – and as a CEO is a great excuse to bring out the child in you. With this in mind, my first purchase on landing back in Dubai was a PS4, bucket seats – and our very own bar!
As a tech firm wanting to be the next big thing, my home is Dubai – this is where it’s at.
Our guest start-up gurus are Simon Hudson and Leith Matthews. Simon was a senior figure at Groupon Middle East but has now started his own business – brndstr. Leith founded MAKE business hub in Dubai Marina but has moved on and is hard at work on his next start-up.


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