Khaldoon’s story with entrepreneurship begins in 1994 while he was was studying medicine and surgery at The University of Jordan, when he helped introduce the Middle East to an Arabized version of BYTE Magazine—the leading global tech authority at the time.
Shortly after, Khaldoon went on to play a leading role in kickstarting the Internet industry in the Arab World. He founded the first venture-backed online business in the region in the form of arabia.com (1996), and the first regulated venture capital fund in the region (Technology Development Fund, Cairo, 2001). Today, Khaldoon is often credited with helping shape the region’s first wave of Internet professionals.
“I’m interested in building regional champions who can lead the digitization of our region, and global industry winners who can gain global markets while creating immense value at home”
In 2005, Khaldoon founded Riyada Ventures, a venture capital firm, where he started working with Adey Salamin, iMENA’s cofounder & CEO. What distinguishes Khaldoon is that he has been on both sides of the entrepreneurship table—both as a founder and an investor. With more than two decades of experiencing digital businesses in various capacities, he has formed a comprehensive understanding of the digital entrepreneurship journey and has built an extensive network of relationships regionally and globally along the way.
Ultimately, Khaldoon believes that what makes or breaks a business is a thorough understanding of market, people, product, and the chemistry amongst them all.
“Start by selecting the right market, one that’s big enough to justify the risk. If you chose a regional market, make sure your business model is immune to global players who are ahead in funding and maturity. If you chose to go global, make sure you have a clear and proprietary differentiator.”
Khaldoon holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from The University of Jordan and has completed the Kauffman Venture Fellowship in Palo Alto. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, where he completed the Young Global Leaders Leadership and Policy education program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. He is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization, and has completed the YPO programs at Stanford, London Business School, and Harvard Business School.