G7CR Technologies, a cloud services provider based in India, plans to invest up to $30 million to support start-ups in the Middle East and Africa region and India.
The company plans to select more than 1,000 start-ups to its accelerator programme next year, offering support across key business areas to help them grow and potentially become billion-dollar organisations.
G7CR Technologies has already invested more than $1m in 100-plus technology services start-ups in the third quarter through its Start-up 360 initiative, in which 30 per cent of investments were reserved for those in the UAE.
G7CR, which has an office in Dubai, is planning to select more than 300 start-ups from the UAE in the first half of 2022 to its accelerator programme. Three start-ups from the Emirates with the potential to become companies with a valuation above $1 billion – or unicorns as they are more popularly known – have already joined the programme, with 15 more having been identified.
"By building a cloud technology platform and working closely with these start-ups, we have understood various business challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. With our expertise and market reach, we intend to help these start-ups which even have the potential to become unicorns," said Christopher Richard, managing director and chief cloud architect of G7CR Technologies.
G7CR's initiative is in line with the UAE's goal of becoming a hub for innovative start-ups. Last month, the Emirates launched the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative, which aims to make the UAE home to 20 unicorns by 2031.
The UAE also announced a Dh1bn ($272m) private equity fund for lending to SMEs operating in strategic sectors, which is slated to be released in the first quarter of 2022 and continue over the next five years.
There are 16 unicorns in the Middle East, including ride-hailing service Careem and Saudi e-wallet STC Pay, according to data from Statista. Swvl, the Dubai mass transit and shared mobility services provider, is poised to make history by becoming the first Middle East unicorn to list on the Nasdaq.
Mena start-ups received $1.2bn in funding during the first half of 2021, more than the $1.09bn raised in the whole of 2020, Magnitt reported earlier this year.
G7CR's Start-up 360 plans to invest in an additional 200 start-ups in the next four to five months. Start-ups with business-to-business software-as-a-service products that are expanding their sales operations in newer regions including the MEA would receive benefits ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.
The investments will focus on strategic support across capital, competency building, revenue and technology, with the initiative helping start-ups to opt for transformative innovations and utilise cloud services for a wider approach in sales and boost productivity.
“Start-ups want to utilise the advantages that cloud technology bring to their business and at the same time they also look for a partner with advanced skills to migrate, optimise and manage their existing workloads to the cloud," Mr Richard said.
Aside from MEA and India, G7CR also has operations in the UK and South-East Asian countries.