We’ve seen this before. When a Middle Eastern tech champion gets snapped up by its global counterpart, the region’s commentators celebrate it a sign of a vibrant start-up ecosystem. This was the case with Amazon’s acquisition of Souq and now again with Uber’s $3.1 billion for Careem. Our CEO, Elie Khouri, took a more measured and long-term view in his op-ed for Arabian Business.
Even though most of the reaction to Uber’s decision is positive, largely on the account of the price-tag, it’s important to remain lucid and pragmatic. The deal certainly has both positive and negative implications. Even if it’s a large and record-breaking exit for Careem’s investors, this doesn’t mean we can ignore the downside.
Much was made of Amazon’s $580 million acquisition of Souq.com, the region’s leading e-commerce platform. Today, some wonder what the future holds for the local brand. The same train of thought could apply to Careem once the transaction closes.
That said, there is no denying the two deals point to a growing appetite for the Middle Eastern tech start-ups. Something in our eco-system is working and we must nurture it, says Elie Khouri. He questions whether Careem could or should have stayed in local hands.
No doubt more acquisitions of local start-ups by international heavyweights will follow. When this happens, we will hopefully have learned the lessons coming from these two major deals.
To find out what these lessons are, you can read the full article here.