Last month was another momentous occasion for our ecosystem, the acquisition of wrappup by Voicera. Exits are really difficult to achieve, and in this case where a company is innovating in Dubai rather than Silicon Valley, it’s even more difficult.
We backed wrappup over a year and a half ago, and we did that because we believed in the team, the problem they were trying to solve, and their pursuit of innovation. Not typical for venture in our region, but these are the types of entrepreneurs that need to have a shot at trying to build something disruptive. They are young, hungry and ambitious, and try they did. Rami Salman, Ayush Chordia and Rishav Jalan, were tenacious in their quest of traction and success, and faced plenty of challenges along the way, which they were able to overcome. They were quick learners and despite being based in Dubai, they made great efforts at building a presence in the US.
In comes Voicera, a VC-backed company out of Silicon Valley, tackling voice recognition technology, and founded by Omar Tawakol, a second-time entrepreneur (previously founder of BlueKai which got acquired by Oracle for $400m). Omar is passionate about the Middle East, and saw Wrappup as an innovative solution that’s complimentary to what Voicera was doing. He understood the region and believed in the team and their product. The rest is history.
This outcome proves that the Middle East can innovate, and can create role models that are able to participate in global change. Full credit goes to the wrappup team for getting this acquisition through and for creating a major success story for the region. Today, they are role models for future entrepreneurs in the region, proving that we can think outside the region and solve global problems. Now, they are on a new, exciting journey where they will continue to learn and hopefully transfer those insights to our entrepreneurs of the future.
To sum it up, it seems like the change we are all pushing for is happening in many areas of our ecosystem, much faster than we anticipated. Let’s continue capitalizing on this momentum and finding further success stories and role models for our ecosystem to benefit from. Congratulations to all involved in this milestone, and most of all to the heroes that made it happen. Rami, Ayush, Rishav and Omar.