Learning never exhausts the mind

The job of venture capitalists has many facets and only one of them is writing a cheque. The role of a VC is to help the founder throughout his or her journey, which starts before he or she even raises money. 

Founders must be jack of all trades which is not an easy job. Often founders are first time entrepreneurs that have never built a company from scratch or have raised funding before. The good news is, there is more information available for free now than ever before. The internet is full of great content covering all different aspects of the life of a startup.

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The team at Oraseya Capital has made the attempt to filter and compile the best content ranging from pitch deck templates to tips on how to negotiate with VCs. Because we are an investor in the MENA region with an emphasis on Dubai, we have also collected a selection of content that helps founders to navigate the regional specifics. 

Which blogs keep you up to date about the latest startup news in the region? Which investors exist and at what stage do they invest? What are the best startup events to build your network? These and many more questions you might have are hopefully answered in this guide.

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There is content out there that is simply too good to be missed. The selection below is a list of articles, books and videos that we believe are must read/listen/watch for every entrepreneur. While we don't want to label them as the canon of entrepreneurial knowledge, they probably get close to it.

How to Start a StartUp
How to Start a StartUp Lecturer Series
Why the Lean StartUp changes everything
What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
​​​​​​​The Bezos Letters: 14 Principles to Grow Your Business Like Amazon
Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to take Action
​​​​​​​The Lean Startup
Lean Presentation Design
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Fundraising is a topic high on the agenda of every entrepreneur. Each day in the news we see headlines of startups announcing that they have raised millions of dollars in funding. But to get to that point is a long and difficult journey. That doesn't mean it is impossible. However, the funding announcement is only the culmination point of weeks and months of work. 

The investment process itself can be lengthy and daunting. While good VCs don’t take advantage of it, founders are at a disadvantage given that they lack the knowledge and experience to raise funds. With the below selection of content, we try to equip founders with the required knowledge to get ready for fundraising and grab the attention from investors.

Guide to Fundraising
The Non-Obvious Guide to Fundraising

If you’re a Founder looking to fundraise venture capital, the first thing you need to understand about the process is that it’s far more complex than it appears. This comprehensive article guides you through the right Founder mindset when fundraising, understanding the VC mindset and the phases of fundraising.

Pitch Deck
The quick and dirty guide to creating a winning pitch deck 
This guide walks you through the essential slides that must appear in a pitch deck. This is an indicative and well-rounded structure. In case you believe you need to incorporate more details on certain topics, please add these slides in the annexes.
Best Pitch Decks
This blog post provides many tips & tricks to make your message stand out and illustrates these tips with real examples.
Startups: What is a pitch deck presentation
A list of recommended slides from top VCs (500Startups, Sequoia Capital, etc.) and pieces of advice on how to grab investors’ attention.
Forbes: Best pitch deck / Startup pitch decks : What you can learn
A collection of pitch decks from unicorn companies, including Uber, Snapchat, Airbnb, when they were raising during their early stage.
Investment Instruments (Priced Equity vs Convertibles)
Convertible vs. KISS vs. SAFE
Article 1 | Article 2
These pages list the differences between these three financing methods and terms usually used for each(valuation cap, discount, maturity) and implications for the entrepreneur and investors.
Y Combinator - Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE)
On this page you can find the YCombinator SAFE templates and explanation.
Term Sheet & Deal Terms
Term Sheet Guide
This guide walks you through the key clauses appearing in a term sheet from the economics to the terms usually negotiated between founders and investors. It also addresses the company governance post investment (voting rights, board rights, etc.).
Term Sheet Guide based on the typical terms of 200+ VCs
This guide aims to provide entrepreneurs with know-how to understand the key components of the Term Sheet and how it compares to the "market standard" which is based on input from 200+ VCs.
Due Diligence
Due Diligence guide, Y Combinator - Due Diligence checklist
These pages summarize an investor’s approach to due diligence, the multiple points under review and documents asked to the founders. The level of details and documents requested varies depending on the funding stage (seed, Series A/B/C+), industry, and type of business.
Cap Table
What is a cap table?
This page summarizes the essence of a capitalization table, which is a comprehensive spreadsheet listing all of your company’s securities.
Sample Cap Table
Through this link you can download a standard cap table spreadsheet.
Cap Table Template
Another template to be downloaded with instructions in the excel file.
Negotiation Tactics
Top skills for founders in startup fundraising
A set of negotiation points usually discussed between VCs and entrepreneurs, and tips to address them from a founders’ standpoint.
HBR - How to negotiate with VCs
Tips & recommendations from a Harvard Business School professor on how to negotiate with VCs during fundraising.
Forbes - Five mistakes to avoid while fundraising for your startups
This article lists the major pitfalls encountered by entrepreneurs when fundraising, from raising too early to raising at too high valuation.
The problem of startup valuation going too high or too low
An interesting article on the consequences of raising at a too low or too high valuation.
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Blogs/ News Sites
Wamda is not only one of the largest VC’s in the MENA but also an excellent source of information for news & research report on the local startup ecosystem.
A popular news website dedicated to technology and local startups.
MAGNiTT - News
MAGNiTT is the most popular platform in the MENA for startups & investors. Access hundreds of reports, daily news on investments and apply directly to dozens of VCs for funding.
Startup MGZN
A digital publication and community for startups in the Middle East.
Entrepreneur - Middle East
Advice, insight, profiles and guides for established and aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide. Home of Entrepreneur magazine.
Arabian Business - Startup
Read all the latest news on the startups, investors, venture capitalist, founders, and latest technology in the Middle East.
Bloomberg - Middle East
Bloomberg publishes daily business and markets news, data, analysis, and video, featuring stories from Businessweek and Bloomberg News.
Startup Directories
A MENA-focused directory of startups. Create your profile in a few minutes.
Another directory of startups, Arabnet also hosts one of the most popular startup conferences in our region.
Angel List
The largest directory of startups globally and a platform to connect with investors, accelerators, and talents.
Research & Reports
MAGNiTT - Research
MAGNiTT publishes regular reports on the state of the startup ecosystem, trends and funding.
Wamda - Research
Another source of detailed reports and analysis on investments in the region.
Arabnet - Business Intelligence
Arabnet - Business Intelligence
Dubai Chambers - Publications & Reports
The directory of publications from the Dubai Chamber for both public and private sectors.
Step Conference
Step is the largest, annual tech festival in Dubai for startups to showcase their potential.
RiseUp Summit
One of the MENA region's largest innovation and entrepreneurship summits, taking place in the heart of Downtown Cairo annually.
Arabnet - Conference
Arabnet is a leading events, insights and innovation platform focused on tech business and innovation in the MENA region.
GITEX North Stars
Co-located with GITEX Technology Week, GITEX North Stars gives start-ups a global stage on which to shine and meet with potential partners and investors.
Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival
A relatively new and upcoming festival for entrepreneurs hosting many world-class speakers and pitch competitions.
Venture Building: UAE Accelerators/Incubators
AI Venture Labs
Accelerator program for pre-Series A startups in the expansion phase with completed seed financing
C3 Social Impact Accelerator
Focused on revenue-generating startups with at least two years of operations and contributing to at least one of the 'UN Sustainable Development Goals'
Abu-Dhabi based accelerator focused on sustainability and clean technology startups
Dubai Future Accelerators
Facilitates partnerships between entrepreneurs, private sector organizations and government entities to co-create solutions to specific challenges
Fintech Hive
With programs developed to help FinTech, InsurTech, RegTech and Islamic FinTech startups create solutions for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region’s largest financial industry and insurance partners.
Supports innovative aviation, travel and tourism startups
Offers 4-month custom-training program for startups at the idea and/or MVP stage. Recently partnered with UAE Space Agency to offer a program for technologies in Space Sciences
Mohamed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund Accelerator
For UAE-based post-ideation stage startups in the fields of education, clean energy, water, transport, health and space
Plug & Play Tech Center
Runs 3 accelerator programs: Fintech, Travel & Hospitality, and Health
Startupbootcamp Fintech Dubai
Operated by Startupbootcamp and focused on innovations in financial services
Offers programs for startups of different stages: Pre-Seed, Seed, Series A
A 12-month accelerator program for aerospace technologies
TechStars Hub71
Designed for startups across a variety of verticals, all focused on innovations that will accelerate Abu Dhabi’s new world economy
The Greenhouse
Retail tech-accelerator program that runs twice a year for 3 months, offering startups with market access and retail expertise
Early-stage accelerator for women-led tech startups from across the MENA region
Published Reports
State of Tech Talent in Dubai, 2023
A collaboration between Integra Seven and Wamda. This comprehensive guide not only reveals strategies for attracting and retaining tech talent within Dubai's burgeoning tech ecosystem, but it also provides crucial insights for policy-makers to boost the digital economy.
How COVID-19 unlocked the adoption of E-commerce in the MENA region
This research report takes a close look at how the pandemic impacted the growth and resilience of the e-commerce space in these three aforementioned markets. The research resulted in several key insights with regards to how e-commerce might continue to advance in the current landscape and future.
The Gender Gap in Startup Investment 2022
Investment in the Middle East and North Africa’s startup ecosystem continues to surpass expectations and break records. In 2021, $3 billion was invested across 639 deals, almost triple the amount raised by startups the year before.
Access to Talent for MENA’s Entrepreneurs 2016
In this report, based on a survey of 963 entrepreneurs and 1,697 workforce participants, the Wamda Research Lab (WRL) aims to shed light on the trends and challenges of talent acquisition within MENA’s startup ecosystem as well as offer recommendations addressed to ecosystem stakeholders on how to overcome these challenges
'Digital Middle East: Transforming the region into a leading digital economy, 2016
Analyses the state of digitisation in the Middle East. Its purpose is to assess what the region has achieved, gauge the potential value that the continued adoption of digital could generate, and offer recommendations for how public and private sector digital leaders can address gaps and pursue opportunities.
Invest Tech: The era of opportunity in MENA, 2016
Published by Grant Thornton and BECO Capital, the report provides a look at the technology investment landscape in the MENA region
Digital Future of the Arab Region, 2017
The document sets out the features of the digital economy in developed countries and their plans in this field. It also reviews the status of technology across the world, the status of information and communication technology (ICT) in the Arab region, and the potential of Arab countries to shift to a digital economy