Biotech, AI and climate tech are booming sectors for startups — Web Summit Qatar

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While venture capital is scarcer than during the last crypto bull cycle, some sectors are seeing a rise in valuations, drawing investors’ full attention in 2024. 

During a panel at the Web Summit Qatar moderated by Cointelegraph’s editor-at-large Kristina Cornèr, venture funds executives discussed their investment strategies for the coming months and what makes founders stand out.

Fundraising panel at the Web Summit Qatar. Source: Cointelegraph/Web Summit.

According to Kevin Holmes from the Founders Network, startups working on artificial intelligence, climate tech, biotechnology and the healthcare industry are on the rise. “This year, it feels like we’re coming back, and we’re on the verge of another sort of boom with GenAI,” he stated.

Artificial intelligence is also a big focus for Zach Coelius from Coelius Capital. According to him, there’s a “tremendous amount of excitement” around AI startups, with gains and product improvements backing up the trend surrounding the technology. 

“So for the last decade, it was like: ‘Oh, this is a little bit better. This is a little bit better. This is a little bit better.’ And now it’s like: ‘Whoa, that’s way better.’“

Speaking about the attributes of a founder who is able to turn the tables, Adwa Aldakheel, from Falak Investment Hub, listed perseverance as one of the most important. 

“I want to watch them fail because I know they […] find another model, they will pivot and 70% of startups pivot. But it’s a privilege as an investor to be a part of this journey for a founder that knows and is driven by purpose, not just for a quick exit or a Forbes magazine cover.”

As for Coelius, a startup founder needs to think creatively about how their product can solve problems. “What you see all the time in the startup is everybody […] doing the same things, in the same ways, and very rarely do those outcomes work out. It’s the original thinkers who are out, really trying to come up with new ways to solve new problems with new technologies, that ended up being the biggest outcomes.”

Holmes from the Founder Network believes that having a global mindset when looking for capital can be a key to crossing barriers.

“It’s just as hard to start a small business as a big business. Coming from San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the big exits are there […]. We want to meet with founders thinking globally and […] looking to open an office in Silicon Valley in San Francisco so that you can have that outcome. It’s great to build a unicorn, but it’s even better to have an exit.”

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