Sharjah, UAE – As part of its strategic vision to support the e-gaming industry, Sharjah Media City (Shams) has partnered with the region’s leading venture capital firm Shorooq Partners to empower their first Gametech programme for founders.
The programme was launched earlier this year by Shorooq Partners with Shams as the Sharjah Ecosystem Partner, and in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, AD Gaming, Tamatem Games, and others. The SHFT BUILD programme supports startups in the Gametech industry as one of the key sector driving economies of the future. It also aims to upskill talent and partner with leading global companies to provide knowledge, expertise, and support for the programme's startups.
SHFT BUILD targets game studios, game developers, distribution platforms, developers of game engines, and streaming platforms that are building startups in the gaming industry. Over the course of the eight-week programme, 33 startups with a total of 68 founders spent more than 300 hours with SHFT BUILD’s online learning programme, designed to help founders in the gaming and eSports industry succeed and secure seed investment. This included purposely designed content and over 100 hours of one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions to help them enhance their business models, fundraise, and develop market strategies. Participants reported a 91% satisfaction rate with the programme.
The programme concluded with a Demo Day, which gave the six top-performing startups an opportunity to pitch to an audience of over 160 guests including founders, investors, and programme partners.
His Excellency Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Shams, who spoke on Demo Day, said: “Sharjah Media City has an ambitious vision to position Sharjah as a world-class hub for media and creativity in the region, to make creative entrepreneurship more accessible to talented creative individuals, and to inspire business growth. Gaming is naturally at the core of this mission, given the tremendous growth and reach the sector has come to enjoy.”
“Our partnership with Shorooq Partners on the SHFT BUILD Gametech programme has allowed us to channel our resources towards driving innovation, supporting innovative projects, empowering ambitious, passionate eSports startup founders, and being their partner as they make their way towards progress and success,” H.E. asserted. “Furthermore, this partnership will help us advance our mission and vision for the media, innovation, and entrepreneurship sector – and the gaming and e-Sports industry, in particular.”
Mahmoud Adi, Founding Partner of Shorooq Partners, said: “The most successful games today, such as Fortnite, League of Legends, and Minecraft, are communities that retain loyal, long-term users and generate billions of dollars in annual revenue. Games are also driving innovation across the entire consumer ecosystem, pioneering best-in-class mechanisms for user engagement, retention, and monetisation, such as microtransactions, battle passes, and web3 tokens. In the long term, we believe games infrastructure and technologies will be key building blocks of the Metaverse.”
“With that in mind, Shorooq Partners is committed to playing our part and setting the stage for the gaming and eSports industry to grow and mature in the UAE and the region,” Adi added. “Partnering with Shams on the SHFT BUILD programme is a significant step in that direction, and has allowed us to work with founders of gaming startups with great potential to be trailblazers in the sector.”
Founded in 2017, Shorooq Partners is the leading early-stage venture capital firm investing in innovative startups across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP) region. Its flagship SHFT BUILD online programme is part of the Shorooq House of Frontier Technology, and aims to support founders across the region who are looking to build startups in industries that are driven by frontier technology.