UAE: Startups should not hold back on their ideas, say experts

Despite setbacks across the world, there is still a lot of scope to get funding, they say

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Dunja Poetschke (right) at the New Age Finance and Accounting (NAFA) conference organised by Khaleej Times.
Dunja Poetschke (right) at the New Age Finance and Accounting (NAFA) conference organised by Khaleej Times.

Published: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 7:26 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 8:06 PM

Despite the unexpected collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank in the US, startups in the region should not hold back on their ideas, according to experts at the New Age Finance and Accounting (NAFA) conference organised by Khaleej Times.

“Ideas come quick, but others come quicker,” said Dunja Poetschke, the CFO of monthly car subscriptions app Invygo. “If you have an idea to start a company, there is no good or bad time. If you wait, someone else might come in with the same idea and then you are not the first to the market. So be bold and go with it.”


Dunja was one of the speakers at the event who was on the panel discussing the role of CFOs in bridging the gap between strategy and finance and how to stay ahead of the curve.

Amit Agarwal, the CFO of Trukker, agreed with her. “I would advise anyone with an idea to go for it,” he said.


“In fact, I think the best startups are born from adverse situations. This is the time when startup owners need to think long-term and not get bogged down by the news.”

According to Amit, the collapse of SVB is also a lesson to startups. “It is something no one ever expected,” he said.

“So it is a reminder to startups to not depend on banks only and diversify their funds.”

Investment will come

Despite the setbacks across the world, Dunja said there is still a lot of scope for startups to get funding.

“The question is can you get access to funding,” she said. “If you are looking for funding from the US, now is not probably a good time. But if you are looking for funding from the region, then I think there is a lot of appetite for new startups, ventures and disruptors. I speak to VCs on a regular basis, and I know that they are always looking for new companies and ideas.

According to Amit, it is finance winter now but is the best time for startups to work on their base. “They should think about the product, put in place a good team and think about the strategy,” he said. “Capital will come to you. Companies should invest time in their ground building. When the markets come back, they will be at the forefront to absorb that capital and build up.”

He said Trukker, a logistics and transportation company, spent three of its six years of operation just laying the groundwork for a good product. “Initially we were a company just focusing on UAE and Saudi markets,” he said. “We did our research, built our product and now we are operating in nine different countries.”

He also added that investing is not going to change by events like this. “Yes, it may create some nervousness in the short term but over the long term I do not see any major impact.”


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