London: Sami Corby is an experienced entrepreneur and investor in sustainable technology. Al-Khouribi has been awarded the “Top 5 (Arab) Inventors Under 35” by MIT Technology Review, and is the founder and CEO of Incubayt Investments.
Goribi, a native of Toronto, entered the business world immediately after graduating in 2007 as co-founder of Contex Energy, an international oil and gas company funded by Canadian capital markets.
While running Condox, Al-Khouribi paid regular visits to the UAE, where he was briefed on the initiative of Masdar City, a new “clean” city in Abu Dhabi that is powered by sustainable energy.
“I noticed the trend in the price of solar energy,” he told Arab News. It is still expensive, but the kilowatt price is falling fast and will be competitive in the medium term.
“So, in 2007, we established Envromena Power Systems, one of the first solar companies in the region in Abu Dhabi. At that time, there was no regulation of the venture capital environment in the Gulf. We have established and operated a solar power plant – the first in the Middle East – and similar plants have been established in seven countries in the region.
In 2017, Enviromena was acquired by a UK pension fund, with sales of more than $ 700 million. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but according to Al-Khouribi “it is a major eviction for all involved.”
In 2019, Al Khraibi launched the Dubai-based venture capital fund Incubayt as the sole investor, with a focus on sustainable technology.
“We have made 13 investments,” he said, adding: “All seed investments, from start-up to Series A financing. And as they mature, we can use the ecosystem we have created to help them reach the next stages of to reach capital letters.
During the COVID-19 restriction in 2020, Al-Khouribi came up with a wonderful idea. “I wondered how it could affect the consumer side of sustainability. Water that jumped from the side. The way we save water today is very weak.
We fill a hydrocarbon bottle and ship 500ml units halfway around the world to drink. It makes no sense in terms of stability or economic stability.
“Current water purification systems work well, but require installation and maintenance. To develop a fixation-free filtration system using reverse osmosis and remineralization, we partnered with a Toronto design firm and contracted manufacturer in Shenzhen to launch in the US in the coming months, then 2022. We plan to launch in the UAE in the fourth quarter. , and Al Khuraibi is the unmanaged leader.
The recipient of Hatch & Boost is the smart farming company, World of Farming, which grows livestock feed “vertically” and without land. “It is non-imported, healthier, more sustainable and cheaper feed,” said Al-Khouribi. According to Khribi, the investment is about a positive environmental impact rather than focusing on specific industries.
He said: “We have no idea in the industry, as long as we do not constantly destabilize the industry. We look around to manage waste, especially compost. ”
Clean infrastructure required
Al-Khuraibi notes that Saudi Arabia will have significant investments in clean infrastructure to reach net zero by 2060 and the UAE by 2050.
“We believe there is an opportunity in the early part of that cycle, to invest in early technologies and early business models and to be at the bottom of these net-zero initiatives,” he said.
“Environment was initially implanted with venture capital and purchased within a decade by retired capital – which shows how fast the cycle moves.
“For different sectors that focus more on sustainability, we can see a similar path. Today there are clear goals, governments are in line, and the number of entrepreneurs with great ideas in the region is impressive. ”
What is driving this renaissance of innovation and creative entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region?
“There are two things that are driving this rapid change,” he noted. “Firstly, we have achieved some successful results. Historically, it has taken courage to say, ‘I’m going to try to start a company, raise capital and then leave successfully. “If you have a good idea and have a willingness to jump into it, it seems to be a successful outcome. “Secondly, capital markets reflect this. When we launched Envromena in 2007, it was almost impossible to raise venture capital outside the region. not the. Now this environment exists. It is well funded and ready to use.
“Also, if you marry guys who have seen positive results and you think ‘if we try, we can do it’ – it creates a very exciting and new ecosystem.”
Creating better ecosystems
What makes Incubate unique and different, says Goribi, is that he and his colleagues “want to get our hands dirty with entrepreneurs”.
“We arrive early, business people live in our offices.” “But not because we say, ‘You have to do things. “She’s like, ‘How can we help? “
“In addition, I am an entrepreneur who understands the pain that other entrepreneurs experience on their journey to the cash flow opportunity of the idea.”
What is Khraibi’s message to young people who are considering entrepreneurship rather than paid work in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region?
“I will congratulate them first, because this is not a wonderful time. If you have a good idea, jump in there and do not be afraid of failure, because failure is part of the reality of entrepreneurship.
“There has never been a strong ecosystem in the area. All directions are pushed in the right direction and support structures are in place.
“If you’re thinking of something that will make the world a better place, we’re all ears – feel free to contact us!”