Tue, 26 Sep 2023

Abu Dhabi shaping up as UAE's Silicon Valley

Lola Evans
12 Feb 2021, 16:12 GMT+10

ABU DHABI, 10th February, 2021 (WAM) -- Hub71, Abu Dhabi's global tech ecosystem, has selected more than 100 tech startups to join its growing community, raising AED 185 million ($50.4 million) in capital for the new businesses since its launch in March 2019.

Hub71 is a flagship initiative of Ghadan 21, the UAE capital's accelerator programme driving the emirate's development through investing in business, innovation and people.

Despite the challenging economic environment caused by the global pandemic, Hub71's community expanded from 35 startups in January 2020 to 102 startups a year later, surpassing the '100' milestone and representing 191 percent growth.

"Abu Dhabi's global tech ecosystem has arrived and as world events have dictated, it's at the right time and the right place. We have an unrelenting commitment to collaborate with our partners and enhance our technology hub, remaining steadfast in capturing more of the world's top entrepreneurial talent to support their growth globally from a stable, safe, and open business environment. Now more than ever, we believe innovation and technology is our future and we will continue to support the growth of Hub71 from Abu Dhabi and beyond," Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi, Chairman of Hub71, said.

Focused on the period from March 2019 to December 2020, Hub71's Impact Report reinforces the growth and positive impact delivered by Abu Dhabi's global tech ecosystem. Hub71 filled its WeWork x Hub71 workspace to 96 percent capacity, with 65 percent of startups at Seed Stage and 35% at Emergent Stage. Today, its international community of 209 tech founders originate from 43 countries, with 18% women and 15 Emirati founders.

Since Hub71's launch, its community has facilitated job creation for startups, which have onboarded 250 team members with further plans to hire 340 people over the next 12 months. The global tech ecosystem's popular Incentive Program has supported almost 250 startup employees, having secured more than 2,100 applications since its launch. As part of Hub71's commitment to nurturing knowledge and talent, over 150 hours of mentorship and 51 internship opportunities have been delivered through its partnerships, while it has facilitated more than 1,600 meetings and 105 events to advance its innovation hub.

Hub71 surpassed the 100-startup milestone after selecting 27 startups out of 127 worldwide applicants to its final cohort of 2020. Seed stage startups represented 70 percent of the cohort, ensuring Hub71's Incentive Program supports businesses during their critical early stages by providing equity-free subsidized housing, health insurance and WeWork x Hub71 office space that makes relocating and setting up business in Abu Dhabi easier and more affordable. The global tech ecosystem alleviated the burden of its startups during the pandemic with a COVID-19 support package that covered the housing and office space rent of all its startups' employees for several months.

Contributing to Hub71's diversity, the latest cohort of startups originate from 13 countries, including Hub71's first startups from Israel, South Korea, Czech Republic and Nigeria, which joined the community in December. Following Hub71's significant participation at FinTech Abu Dhabi 2020 and support given to its community throughout the pandemic, the tech ecosystem was particularly popular among Fintech startups and prioritized Healthtech companies in the fight against COVID-19, which accounted for 26 percent and 15 percent of the latest cohort, respectively.

"Our way of life has changed remarkably over the past year and it's because of the vision laid out by Abu Dhabi's leadership that Hub71 has gained a first movers' advantage on cultivating a vibrant and diverse tech community that harnesses innovation to meet the evolving demands of today's society.

"We set out to reach 100 startups by the end of 2020 and achieved it through hard work, perseverance and a clear vision to drive innovation and business growth. Reaching this milestone raises the bar higher for the next stage of our journey, and above all, further defines our fundamental role in giving entrepreneurs opportunities to transform industries and impact our future economy," Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, CEO of Hub71, said.

To drive further growth in 2021, Hub71 says it will leverage the access provided by existing partners and will proactively forge partnerships in new markets across the globe to enable, support and engage with entrepreneurs and tech founders in their home markets as it sustains a high-quality pipeline of growing startups.

The global tech ecosystem aims to build on its existing community by focusing on attracting the best-in-class tech talent, entrepreneurs and investors to Abu Dhabi and promoting the attractiveness of the UAE capital's innovation hub to the world.

(Adapted from a story by Emirates News Agency authored by Tariq alfaham and Hatem Mohamed).

(File photo. Credit: Hub71).

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