This is a profile image of Abdur-Rahim Syed

Abdur-Rahim Syed


A core leader in our technology and innovation work, serving private-sector companies, governments, and investors in the Middle East, North America, and Southeast Asia

Abdur-Rahim leads our work to embed innovation in the Middle East and broader emerging markets. This work includes creating technology and media clusters with public-sector entities, helping emerging market operators adapt to new business models, and working with investors who are interested in the digital revolution.

With public-sector entities, he has helped set up leading technology and media clusters in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, focusing on how to grow digital ecosystems anchored in the base economy, embed R&D and innovation, and attract global technology disrupters.

For technology and media operators, he has helped chart growth and diversification strategies to enable them to become regional leaders and globally relevant organizations.

Abdur-Rahim has served investors at three of the top ten global private equity firms, three of the top five global sovereign wealth funds and launched two of the largest venture capital funds in the region. He has advised on topics including investment fund set up, due diligence in the technology space, and portfolio strategies.

He also leads Fuel by McKinsey’s ignition work for the Middle East, helping regional start-ups scale.

Abdur-Rahim previously worked in our Technology, Media & Telecommunications Practice and was based in Silicon Valley. Prior to McKinsey, he worked in corporate strategy and taught economics and also received the Bok Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching.

Published Work

Is MENAP’s budding start-up ecosystem ready to blossom?,” McKinsey & Company, July 2023

Navigating opportunities for the start-up ecosystem in MENAP with Shorooq Partners,” McKinsey & Company, YouTube, April 2023

MENA’s start-up scene is taking off. Here’s how investors can join in,” World Economic Forum, April 2019

Pakistan’s start-up landscape: Three ways to energize entrepreneurship,” McKinsey & Company, April 2019

Past Experience

Corporate strategy

Harvard University
Economics instructor


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Harvard University

Middlebury College
BA, economics, political science