GCC in Tech: Key Takeaways from Derek Watson, the Founder of N2 Technology
In the third episode of “Technology for a Change,” Season 3, the Principal Product Strategist at TekRevol, Hady Shaikh, interviewed Derek Watson, the founder of N2 technology – a marketplace that empowers startups helping them connect in a better way with investors and eventually upscaling altogether.
Throughout the conversation, Derek shared his personal story, how he eventually went ahead with N2 Technology and what the future holds for founders, investors, and the GCC market.
A quick heads-up: Technology for a Change has been our signature podcast for a while now. As we have kicked off our third season with more significant insightful discussions and hopes, we aim to expand our outreach.
Our mission on a digital transformation journey has always been to take inspiration from the best and offer our insights. Our platform is built to bring industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and those with a knack for innovation onboard the journey .
Derek Watson: His Journey and Insights on Technology and Investors
Derek Watson identified the ideal intersection between the two worlds with more than 30 years of experience in financial markets and emerging technologies. Right now, it helps startups and investors agree on the same page and upscale together through N2 Technology.
Starting in the 1990s, Derek started his entrepreneurial run with Wake Asset Management, a private hedge funds company. Over the years, as someone responsible for raising capital and identifying market gaps, Derek saw that founders and investors had trouble figuring out how both could help each other.
To Derek, N2 Technology is a vision that came at a need-of-the-hour and was long overdue. With the communication gap building up and no precise solution in place, N2 Technology leverages the concept of big data and machine learning. The algorithm on the platform is designed to identify and understand different perspectives and determine the requirements for startups and investors alike.
To explain it, Derek states that N2 Technology is a platform that helps founders present their digital products better and ultimately build better conversations with investors.
Key Takeaways from N2 Technology X TekRevol Podcast
● Convenience with tech
Derek transitioned from hedge funds to a more vast technological landscape because he felt that technology was a source of convenience. For upcoming entrepreneurs, it is essential to take note of this fact and not underestimate the potential impact of their product.
Once all ears are covered and your product understands core problems, it is ready to launch, and investors will step in.
● Dubai and the wider GCC region are open to challenges
The aftermath of the 2008 financial crash did not look as bright for businesses starting in Europe, where Derek was based at the time, and in most parts of the world. At the time, companies were slowly moving to Dubai and the people relocating had bigger visions and were optimistic enough to continue after the financial crash.
Again, Derek believes that everything is possible, easier, and seamless in Dubai and other GCC countries. Hady complimented his statement by emphasizing how events like GITEX and Expo 2020 have helped cultivate a culture of innovation and technology.
● Focus on launching an MVP
Regarding product strategy, Derek mentioned that he preaches the concept of working on a minimum viable product (MVP) to founders. In this digital landscape, more than getting users onboard for the sake of it, identifying crucial problems and getting feedback from end-users should matter the most.
An MVP enables founders and the development team to improvise on the go much more quickly. And while convincing investors, Derek said that founders often overlook the monetization factor and do not prepare a detailed plan for investors to look at.
● Sustainability matters
When the conversation turned towards emerging Fintech companies in the UAE and companies being more vocal about climate change and creating an environmentally friendly product, Derek mentioned that the plan should be well thought out from all ends, covering every possible outcome.
Going through fundraising stages and getting a hundred employees onboard isn’t enough if the company will close down in a few years. Derek addressed the startup bubble problems and highlighted that entrepreneurs should focus on a sustainable approach.
● Storytellers stand out
It needs to be backed by solid credentials and an actual workable product. However, during the pitching stage, raising funds and getting VCs and investors onboard with your idea has much to do with narration and how you broadcast everything.
According to Derek, being a good storyteller is like having a double-edged sword in hand. You either win big or go home. Be confident with your idea and coordinate with your development, design, and strategy team to deliver accordingly.
● Collaboration matters
Understanding dynamics and working together in a bigger team works well. Identifying where the product lacks and being stern about it matters. Founders are often too keen on unsustainable ideas and overlook or underestimate more minor problems.
In the best-case scenario, they should be vulnerable to investors and work with a collaborative mindset – bringing the best out of each other. A perfect triangle is what Derek likes to call it.
Thoughts for the GCC Region and the Future
On a final note, with the pandemic easing down and everything returning to the way we used to be while acknowledging the drastic changes we saw in terms of technology and cultural change – moving forward, the UAE government is developing decades’ worth of plans that all come down to the common idea of growth and sustainability and creating an ecosystem where being a digital nomad is the go-to choice for visitors, the future looks bright, safe to say.
The future is limitless, and it is the perfect time to research and accelerate further for businesses. And the inclusion of the Metaverse and a Web3 ecosystem will break even more barriers in a good way.
Author : Zain Ul Abideen
As a creative content marketer, Zain looks beyond the binary - looking over content development stages, how it merges with ongoing marketing trends, and assimilates data. Creating customer-driven analytical experiences (CX) is his forte. When away from marketing, you can find him catching up on pop-culture news and looking over stories of representation.
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