King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has partnered with the investment platform VentureSouq, startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator anchored at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), and its partner Tamkeen, to launch the first Conscious Investor Fellowship in the GCC. The pan-regional fellowship is a six-week virtual program dedicated to enabling regional investors in the GCC to create sustainable change through impact investments. The program, which will take place from Oct. 7 to Nov. 25, comes as part of the upcoming annual Angel Rising Symposium, to be held virtually between Nov. 24-25, which provides education and conversations on the future of the angel investment sector and how it can fuel national and regional innovation.
The fellowship aims to empower the next generation of regional mission-driven investors who will fuel emerging ventures using technology for meaningful change, resulting in a measurable positive impact. Twenty-five investors from family offices, corporate and government entities will be welcomed as fellows of this inaugural cohort, where they will learn how to identify and invest into tech-enabled impact-driven startups.
The program will cover conscious investment strategies, startup diligence and valuations, impact measurement, portfolio management, and global sector trends in the impact space. Elective thematic masterclasses will also be offered, with a specific focus on health tech, educational tech, environmental tech, and agricultural tech. Participants will be able to apply their knowledge and invest in live deals through VentureSouq’s Conscious Collective Fund. The inaugural edition is held in collaboration with the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center and Hub71.
Hattan Ahmed, head of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center, said: “KAUST is driven by a mission to advance research and create new technologies that address our greatest global challenge in food, water, energy, and the environment. We are starting to see more deep tech startups emerging from the ecosystem, disrupting existing industries and creating new solutions to these challenges. The Conscious Investor Fellowship is a key step to advancing this ecosystem and educating regional investors about the potential of emerging technologies and their long-term value. For Saudi Arabia in particular, there is a unique opportunity to nurture this deep tech ecosystem for real economic transformation.”
Ramesh Jagannathan, research professor of engineering, vice provost for entrepreneurship at NYUAD, and managing director of startAD, said: “Conscious investment is a growing global force, accelerated by the ongoing impacts of the global pandemic. In the UAE, and specifically Abu Dhabi, we have a unique opportunity to engage with this global trend, given that the emirate has the highest net potential wealth globally.”