Retail is Dead, Long Live Retail

This article originally appeared in Gulf News on 31st March 2017

First Amazon, then Emaar Malls — everyone wanted a piece of the 11-year old Souq.com.

Although Amazon finally won, some questioned why a mall operator would want to buy an online retailer. There is a logic, particularly if one looks at highly developed retail markets such as the US.

In recent quarters we’ve seen a significant slowdown in US brick-and-mortar retailers. Store closures are skyrocketing. Macy’s announced 100 closures; Walmart is closing 269 across 154 locations; Kmart/Sears are shuttering 78 stores and Ralph Lauren 50.

Other retailers have found themselves bankrupt, notably American Apparel, Sporting Authority and Aeropostale. This may not reflect as much about the US economy as it does consumer behaviour.

Continue reading “Retail is Dead, Long Live Retail”

Fundraising risks for UAE start-ups

This article originally appeared in The National on 30th March 2017

At Dubai Internet City’s tech incubator “in5”, dozens of start-ups from all over the world have pitched to us with the hope of being selected to join our community. I’ve followed several of the most promising ideas to the stage where the priority was to scale up, which required funding.

Many start-ups in the UAE look to Silicon Valley for inspiration and advice that includes how to raise money from investors. Start-up ecosystem legend Paul Graham and his now famous Y Combinator have published guides on how to fundraise and a series of well-designed legal templates for start-ups to use. This has saved many expensive legal fees when drafting com­pany formation and fundraising documents.

Continue reading “Fundraising risks for UAE start-ups”