Abu Dhabi, UAE: startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based startup accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD); and VentureSouq, a GCC-based venture capital firm, have announced the seventh annual Angel Rising Investor Education Symposium, which will take place virtually from March 22-23, 2022. Themed FoodTech For Thought, the two-day Symposium will cover timely and important topics of how to harness technology to address food security.

Featuring panels, case studies, presentations, and investment opportunities, the event will bring together top regional and global speakers from venture capital, technology, finance, academia, and policy to discuss challenges and opportunities related to the food sector. The event is open to anyone interested in knowing more about investing in technology startups in the FoodTech sector; registration is now available here.

Topics at Angel Rising will include food traceability and data transparency, emerging technologies, new models for food distribution, changing consumer habits, and building a regionally resilient food system, along with investor and startup panels.

startAD Managing Director Ramesh Jagannathan commented: “Globally, food is expected to grow to 56 percent by 2050, yet crop yields have declined 10-25 percent due to climate change. The GCC currently imports 85 percent of its food, and the population is expected to increase by over 12 million by 2030. Nutritious food is fundamental to human existence. Aligned with the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051, this year, Angel Rising will convene the most credible changemakers, entrepreneurs, and investors worldwide exploring how secure access to food can produce wide-ranging positive impacts, including economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction.”

Founding Partner at VentureSouq Sonia Weymuller, continued: “Through the VentureSouq Conscious Collective we have witnessed first-hand the rapid evolution of the conscious investment space and the interconnectivity across regions and sectors. The rapid digitization, the availability of exponential technologies, and the core values of this next generation of founders have served to accelerate this growth significantly. The Food and AgTech space surpassed 2020 funding levels during H1 2021; according to PwC’s latest figures, ClimateTech specifically saw USD 60 Billion raised by over 600 startups - a 200% year-on-year growth, the fastest it’s ever grown. This is occurring amidst a backdrop of key shifts in regional policy – most GCC countries announced their Net Zero targets and the next 2 COPs will be hosted in MENA: Egypt and then the UAE. The nexus of food security and technology is at the heart of these trends and I am thrilled to be welcoming such a knowledgeable roster of speakers at this year’s event.”

Speakers include the Co-founder of Seafood Souq Fahim Al Qasimi; Managing Director of Working Capital Fund Ed Marcum; Director & Fellow at The Open Earth Foundation and Social Alpha Foundation Katherine Foster; CEO of  Agritecture Henry Gordon Smith, Founder of Drawdown Foods Nicole Rogers; Associate Director at Manulife, Angel Investor and food and agriculture advisor Caio Malufe; Investment Manager at the FII Institute Kholoud Almohammadi; Head of Technology and Innovation - Food, NEOM Andrew Yip; Entrepreneurship Director of KAUST Hattan Ahmed; Founding Partner of Terra.do Anshuman Bapna; Founder and CEO of Orbillion Patricia Bubner; General Partner at Outsized Ventures Rodrigo Mallo Partner at SP Ventures in Brazil Francisco Jardim; Partner at Future Positive Capital Sofia Hmich; and Partner at Nucleus Capital Maximilian Bade.

Head of KAUST Entrepreneurship Center Hattan Ahmed said: “At KAUST, we invest and support entrepreneurs to create change in the world. Angel Rising has grown to be the most significant platform for investors in the region. This partnership reinforces our commitment to building a community of conscious investors looking to create sustainable impact. Angel Rising will convene over 200 investors who are already actively executing impactful investments in the GCC. This year, we welcome Wa’ed, a key VC player in Saudi Arabia, to advance the impact investing agenda.”   

In 2020, The Angel Rising team launched the GCC’s first Conscious Investor Fellowship, which is now held annually. The eight-week program has powered 50 mission-driven investors representing GCC-based family office funds, private investors, venture capitalists, corporate and government investors with the skills, tools, and community to further investments in impact-driven technology startups. This edition of Angel Rising is powered by Wa’ed Ventures, the venture capital unit of the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and The US Mission to the UAE, and is supported by Baraka and Soma Mater as ecosystem partners.

For more information about Angel Rising, please visit here.


About startAD

startAD is an Abu Dhabi-based accelerator, steering local and global startups to scale in the UAE and beyond. Powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, startAD is a new model for innovation that creates customized and impact-driven programs in partnership with stakeholders including governments, corporations, investors, and innovation entities, furthering UAE’s transition into a knowledge-based economy. startAD’s unique sprint accelerator model enables corporations to further innovation by partnering with startups disrupting their core businesses while equipping startups with the training and opportunity to pilot their solutions with industry leaders.

startAD offers unparalleled business advancement opportunities to local and global tech startups, SMEs, researchers, investors, and youth through an extensive range of programs, state-of-the-art facilities, and a strong global network. Driving innovation in construction, retail, finance, and other priority industries in the UAE, startAD alumni startups have raised USD 70 million in investment, generated USD 50 million in revenue, secured over 50 global pilot projects with corporations, and created over 270 jobs worldwide.

About Tamkeen

Tamkeen is an Abu Dhabi based company mandated to deliver projects to meet the UAE’s vision of knowledge-based development. Tamkeen works with a variety of local and international institutions to enrich the UAE’s social, cultural and educational landscape.

 About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from 115 nations and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.

About VentureSouq
VentureSouq (VSQ) is a GCC-based VC with a global portfolio of over 250 companies. VSQ also develops rich educational content around venture investing and delivers it via a number of programs throughout the MENA region. In 2020, the firm launched the VSQ Conscious Collective, which brings together mission-driven investors aligned in motives and purpose. The platform invests in global, early-stage ventures and teams that choose to harness the power of technology to address today’s most pressing societal, economic and environmental challenges.