According to ArabNet Business Intelligence, digital startups in MENA raised $650M in equity investments in 270 deals in 2017. ArabNet Kuwait will feature dedicated discussions about the state of the Kuwait innovation economy and startup investing from leading regional and global investors and stakeholders. The Innovation and Investment forum will feature leading tech entrepreneurs to share their journey, the challenges they faced and lessons they learned, as well as the opportunities they still see in the market.
Transactional businesses continues to dominate the digital landscape in the MENA region; in Kuwait KNET processed over $3.3B in online transactions during 2017 alone. The Middle East is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the world, with sales volumes set to expand to $22.3 billion in 2020. The E-commerce Forum will host the leading e-commerce and e-retail players to highlight the latest emerging trends and dive into the future of payments.
Global fintech funding reached $31B in 2017 and according to ArabNet Business Intelligence, regional funding to fintech companies hit over $250M between 2012-2018 YTD. Technology is transforming the banking and financial services sector, which is why GCC cities are competing to become the next leading fintech hub. The Money forum will explore trends in financial technology and the transformations created by big data, blockchain, AI and the practical opportunities available for banks and financial service providers.
Brands and businesses are experimenting with new technologies such as artificial intelligence, data / analytics, and Internet of Things to enhance customer experience, improve efficiency and drive sales. Influencers continue to play a key role in the marketing value chain, with 94% of the brands, agencies, and retailers finding influencer marketing beneficial, according to Liniqia. Meanwhile, data driven marketing is growing rapidly, with new GDPR regulations and customer backlash making this more complex and sensitive for advertisers to navigate. The Media and AdTech Forum will shed light on the best practices for content creation and distribution, data-driven marketing, as well as technologies that are reshaping marketing and the consumer journey.