Target Global: A Venture Capital Firm Transforming the UAE's Tech Ecosystem

Target Global: A Venture Capital Firm Transforming the UAE's Tech Ecosystem 

Shmuel and Peter feel privileged to work with ambitious and fearless entrepreneurs and to learn something from each of them. Being a VC is a bit like being a journalist; they get to discover new places, learn new things, and see the world through someone else’s eyes on a daily basis.

Who are Shmuel and Peter? Shmuel Chafets is the Founder & Chairman of Target Global, and Peter Roos is their COO. We got the chance to sit down and talk about their expansion into the Middle East and the opportunities that await startups and SMEs in the region. 

Peter Roos (left) COO of Target Global , Shmuel Chafets (right) Founder & Chairman of Target Global

Target Global, one of the world’s leading technology investment firms, is making its mark in the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) tech ecosystem, providing founders with a unique opportunity to leverage their expertise and support. This move is excellent news for entrepreneurs looking to build transformative companies given Target’s track record of investing in global champions including Rapyd, Auto1, Delivery Hero, and Revolut, among others. 

Target Global's extensive experience across geographies, cycles, investment types, and sectors distinguishes it from other venture capital firms. It is dedicated to being a long-term ecosystem citizen in the UAE and is eager to invest from both through its early-stage and growth funds. This means that Target Global is not only providing funding, but also partners, mentors, and coaches to its portfolio companies. 

The firm understands the challenges of building a business from the ground up and uses its experience to help others succeed. The firm is comfortable investing at any stage, from pre-seed to growth. Target Global was impressed by the UAE government and sovereign bodies' approach to tech investing, which has transformed the country into a platform for founders to meet and establish second headquarters or R&D centers, seamlessly. The firm identified the UAE's biggest pain point as securing institutional pre-seed money, and they aim to fill that gap. 

Target Global views Hub 71 as a strategic partner to connect with companies and help them scale. As an investor in a couple of start-ups from the Hub71 ecosystem, Target Global is excited about the opportunity to work with more of their companies and engage with them in various ways. 

The firm decided to be based in the The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) given their alignment on finance and technology. The professionalism and openness of the ADGM chairman, His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, played a big role in the firm's decision to establish a presence in the region. They are committed to becoming more deeply involved in the ecosystem, describing themselves as "ecosystem citizens” who will play their part in ensuring the ecosystem evolves. 

Peter Roos explains, "As a European who has lived in the UAE for almost 10 years, I can attest that you rarely see a government that is as entrepreneurial as the government here. Last fall, we had the pleasure of bringing a delegation of 15 unicorn founders to the UAE. These founders came from all sorts of places and had certain preconceptions and stereotypes about the UAE. After this trip, many of them were left speechless. 

In fact, during lunch with the Minister of Digital Economy, one of the German founders texted someone in the chancellery of Germany what KPI’s the government used to evaluate their work given the tremendous impression the UAE  government's strategy made on them. 

"I did not come with the intention of staying for 10 years, but the way the UAE has changed by the vision of His Highness is nothing short of inspiring“ - Peter Roos

Thanks to the highly professional and friendly regulatory environment in the UAE, companies can easily trust ADGM to build a local presence. Shmuel and Peter spoke about Rapyd and Copper, two companies that plan to make Dubai their second headquarters. 

By leveraging its extensive experience and knowledge of the global tech industry, Target Global can make a significant contribution to the growth and development of the UAE's tech ecosystem. Their approach of working closely with entrepreneurs as partners, mentors, and coaches sets them apart from other venture capital firms and positions them to drive positive change in the world through technology and innovation. 

Roos adds, ”There is virtually no sector that has been left untouched by the far-reaching and impressive reforms and programmes that the UAE government has introduced over the decade. We are proud to work closely with regulators and ADGM to give back to the ecosystem and ensure that European founders know what incredible opportunities are available to them here." 

The possibilities for the ecosystem are truly endless. The most important ingredient is identifying a founder that is excited to do something a bit differently and to help age-old industries join the technological revolution. As Shmuel Chafets puts it, "I have been incredibly fortunate to have invested in well over a hundred companies throughout my career, and some of them have gone on to become large businesses like Auto1 and Delivery Hero, while others were sold along the way. Some are still in development and have the potential to become successful in the future, while some just didn't work out. The most important and rewarding thing for me is the process - learning from the people who are working tirelessly to build something and supporting them in realizing their ambitions however I can.” 

There’s lots of reasons for founders to be excited about Target Global's entry into the UAE's thriving tech ecosystem. The firm's commitment to making a lasting impact on the region and fostering a sustainable and inclusive tech ecosystem puts them in a prime position to take part in the development of the UAE into a hub for technology and innovation. With their extensive experience, unique investment approach, and impressive track record, it’s the start of an exciting chapter for Target Global. 

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