In 2009, Yahoo acquired Maktoob a thriving Arab online community that had 16 million users at the time, Mashable.com reported a suspected price of $85M
Sitting at a lively roundtable discussion between young technology entrepreneurs during Amman’sMixNMentor at Oasis500, a leading seed investor and incubator in the Middle East and North Africa, an unlikely individual walked through the doors to pitch his project- Kenyan entrepreneur Wilfred Njagi.
For two years, I’ve been covering technology startups in Nairobi, Kenya- the so-called “Silicon Savannah” of innovation. I’ve seen the ecosystem rise through a great deal of fanfare, witnessed incubators and ICT hubs spring up at an astonishing rate, and heard dozens of entrepreneurs pitch ideas.
Yet not once have I heard anyone mention the Middle East. Nor in Jordan, have I heard any mention of Kenya.
Nairobi’s “Silicon Savannah” and Amman’s “Silicon Wadi” sit at opposite ends of the Great Rift Valley, a place of historical migration of humans, animals and birds, yet not, it seems, startup ideas.