CASE STUDY | VENTURE CAPITAL
Transforming How VCs Learn with Dubai Future District Fund
In November 2023, Strategy Tools partnered with the Dubai Future District Fund to create a unique, transformative experience for budding venture capitalists. This case study explores the program’s impact on the participants and the UAE VC ecosystem.
About Dubai Future District Fund
The Dubai Future District Fund is an evergreen venture capital fund of funds based in Dubai. It was established with an initial commitment of 1 billion AED1. Anchored by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), the fund aims to boost startup and venture capital investing and business activity in Dubai and the region.
Venture capital is a multifaceted and demanding field. In the still-developing Middle East region, aspiring VCs often find it difficult to gain hands-on experience and deep insights into fund management.
Dubai Future District Fund emphasizes the importance of mastering the fundamentals of running a fund. They believe that venture capital is not just about setting up a fund and investing in potential ventures. It’s also about nurturing those investments over time, enhancing their value, and ultimately delivering liquidity and returns to General Partners and Limited Partners.
Considering the Middle East’s venture capital scene is still maturing, not all individuals have had the chance to witness a fund’s entire lifecycle. To address this knowledge gap, DFDF champions enriching initiatives such as their Venture Fellows program, with the goal of nurturing the local ecosystem. The Fund Management program, spearheaded by Strategy Tools, aligns perfectly with this objective.
DFDF worked together with Strategy Tools to bring the Fund Management program to address this gap in VC knowledge.
Over three intense days, participants, including seasoned professionals and newcomers, navigated 15 years of venture capital scenarios. This immersive experience allowed them to gain valuable insights and practical knowledge for their VC journey.
The program was facilitated by a team of experts from Strategy Tools (Christian Rangen, Henrik Amstutz, Rick Rasmussen). They created a collaborative learning environment where participants could engage with peers and seasoned professionals. The program was supported by Dubai Future District Fund, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Knowledge Fund Establishment.
The Fund Manager! Simulation is a comprehensive, immersive learning experience designed specifically for both aspiring and experienced venture capitalists. It incorporates the following to craft a deep dive into venture capital and guarantees turbocharged learning:
Real-world Scenarios: The Fund Manager! Simulation is structured around real-world venture capital scenarios. This allowed participants to gain practical experience and understand the long-term implications of their decisions. We also incorporated new, updated content gleaned from the VC world prior to the workshops in Dubai to ensure relevance and timely learning for the participants.
Team Formation: Participants were grouped into teams, simulating the collaborative nature of venture capital firms. This encourages teamwork and communication, essential skills in the VC industry.
Fund Creation: Each team was tasked with creating their own fund, which pushed them to make strategic decisions about the fund’s focus, investment strategy, and portfolio management at warp speed.
Competition: Teams competed against each other to generate the best returns. This introduces an element of healthy competition, driving participants to strive for excellence.
Role-playing: Participants took on key roles within a VC fund, such as fund manager or investor relations. This gives them a firsthand understanding of the responsibilities and challenges associated with these roles.
By combining theoretical knowledge with practical experience, the Fund Manager Program equipped participants with the skills and insights they need to succeed in the cut-throat venture capital industry.
“It’s been a rigorous three days of tension, learning how to do very different things we haven’t done before; but more importantly than not, working to collaborate and value create together as multiple funds in the ecosystem here today,”
Managing Director at the Dubai Future District Fund
The Fund Manager program was a resounding success. Participants reported gaining valuable insights and practical knowledge. The hands-on experience they gained was particularly appreciated. The program also had a positive impact on the UAE VC ecosystem, contributing to its growth and development.
We are currently working on future intakes of the Fund Management program together with our friends at Dubai Future District Fund, as well as several other exciting projects in the UAE.