Arthur D. Little and Match-Maker Ventures 'Corp-Up Middle East' webinar report uncovers the true merits of bringing corporates and scale-ups together

The Middle East startup ecosystem has recently been bolstered with sizable investments, exceeding USD 1 billion in 2020 alone

Dr. Nicolai Schauml;ttgen

Dr. Nicolai Schättgen

  • Newly released report follows recent ‘Corp-Up Middle East’ webinar and elaborates on key takeaways
  • Mature startups or scale-ups and corporations from all industries can advance their innovation mandates in a mutually beneficial manner through the collective expertise, experience, and resources of collaboration

Dubai: Corp-ups, or partnerships between corporations and mature startups or scale-ups, have become increasingly popular over the past decade. More corporates are seeking help with differentiated, timely innovation, and more startups are pursuing the means for accelerated market entry and exposure to larger customer bases. Arthur D. Little (ADL), the leading management consultancy firm with the longest-standing presence in the Middle East region, and Match-Maker Ventures (MMV), a corporate venturing and scale-up-corporate collaboration expert, have concluded a comprehensive examination of this trend, co-organizing and hosting the successful ‘Corp-Up Middle East’ webinar. Having explored the relevance and impact of the regional corp-up arena alongside professionals from both sides of these collaborations, Arthur D. Little and MMV today published a post-event report with associated key findings and takeaways. The report, titled Corp-up as a driver of innovation and growth in the Middle East, explains why corp-up partnerships in the region yield impactful outcomes for both parties and reveals how all stakeholders can contribute to greater success in the years ahead.

Thomas Kuruvilla, Managing Partner at Arthur D. Little Middle East, said: “From a regional perspective, many countries continue to scale to new heights while driving their respective digitalization and innovation agendas, with effective transformation and innovation stemming from these collaborations. This has proven to be particularly vital considering the pandemic-related challenges of late, and we have seen many notable companies coming together with scale-ups to remain innovatively relevant, overcome disruption, and capitalize on the combined benefits that large, credible organizations and flexible, agile startups can deliver collectively. As a result, the Middle East’s corp-up landscape has never been more resilient or full of opportunities than it is today. Investors have identified the long-term value attainable through initial funding, and there are now heightened demands for corp-up partnerships across several dimensions.”

Globally, funding rates of startups have been rising continuously in recent years, and the Middle East is no exception. In 2020 alone, annual investment surpassed USD 1 billion in MENA, a figure already on track to be surpassed in 2021. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) account for a significant share of such funding totals, a fact which underlines investors’ belief in the value and long-term prospects for success of startups and scale-ups in the region. Several primary areas have shown significant demand for corp-up partnerships, including fintech and 5G. The ‘Corp-Up Middle East’ webinar explored the importance of scale-up solutions across industries, from providing agile healthcare payment solutions to ensuring telecommunications providers realize new service frontiers. Moreover, the agenda discussed the looming irrelevance of non-digital businesses, and why this trend is opening the way for corp-up collaborations to drive innovation and make the necessary adjustments quickly.

Dr. Nicolai Schättgen, CEO and Founder of Match-Maker Ventures, said: “Through a pioneering process of corp-up ‘matches,’ corporates from a variety of industries have already reached new heights of innovation and empowered scale-ups to successfully level-up their solutions. Stakeholders in these collaborations continue to receive significant benefits, leveraging both the speed and agility of scale-ups and the stability and reach of corporates to achieve maximum joint impact. This model has proven effective around the world, and recent trends clearly demonstrate that it has growing relevance for the Middle East. With a voracious regional tech appetite and expanding investment in the region’s startups, this increasingly mature innovation ecosystem is ready for exactly these kinds of collaborations. From fintech to healthcare to telecommunications, corp-up has an appreciable potential impact for the region’s corporates and scale-ups alike.”

With shared perspectives from reputable participants from corporate and scale-up backgrounds, including Virgin Middle East, Etihad Etisalat Mobily, Forward Investments, Majid al Futtaim Holding, Impact 46, Magnati, Access Health International, Vodafone Turkey, and OnePIN, the ‘Corp-Up Middle East’ webinar shed light on how corp-up success can overcome challenges and why the Middle East is uniquely positioned to facilitate positive outcomes. For example, where it may take a corporation years to identify a problem, design a scheme in-house, and deliver the needed solution at scale, there are scale-ups ready and willing to partner and provide mature, market-proven solutions.

And while regulations and fragmentation do remain regional challenges at present, the Middle East is particularly well-suited for corp-up collaborations nonetheless. Due to accelerating digital transformation, openness to new technologies, and a widespread determination to stay ahead of the curve where innovation is concerned, the region presents rich opportunities for scale-ups and corporates to engage in collaborations, something that applies to every industry. With funding, innovation demands, and digitalization continuing to increase, interested parties from all sectors can benefit from the constructive disruptions these collaborations enable and ultimately realize sustained success as they advance to their desired future business outcomes.


About Arthur D. Little

Arthur D. Little has been at the forefront of innovation since 1886. We are an acknowledged thought leader in linking strategy, innovation and transformation in technology-intensive and converging industries. We navigate our clients through changing business ecosystems to uncover new growth opportunities. We enable our clients to build innovation capabilities and transform their organizations.

Our consultants have strong practical industry experience combined with excellent knowledge of key trends and dynamics. ADL is present in the most important business centers around the world. We are proud to serve most of the Fortune 1000 companies, in addition to other leading firms and public sector organizations.

About Match-Maker Ventures

Match-Maker Ventures (MMV) drives tangible business impact by matching the innovation power of high-growth tech companies with the assets of large corporates. MMV’s network of 120+ industry experts enables them to identify the best-fitting solutions for the dynamic needs of organizations. Match-Maker Ventures selective portfolio comprises of 15 scale-ups with impactful deployments across 50+ countries in banking, insurance, telecommunications, e-commerce and beyond. Through a thorough match-making process, MMV ensures the right partners collaborate in the right way at the right time.

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