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Startups capitalise on Abu Dhabi's enabling ecosystem: Hub71 CEO

Startups capitalise on Abu Dhabi's enabling ecosystem: Hub71 CEO
9 June 2024 20:05


Abu Dhabi's progressive regulatory system, great macroeconomic and business environment, easy access to capital and talents are among the top enablers that reinforce the emirate's position as a thriving tech ecosystem with attractive investment prospects and global scalability for startups, Ahmad Ali Alwan, Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, has said. 

Since inception, Hub71, Abu Dhabi's global tech ecosystem, has been capitalising on the emirate's great enablers, adding impetus to the UAE capital's commitment to empowering tech entrepreneurs both locally and on the global stage, creating jobs, generating revenues all the while targeting advancing priority sectors and providing the needed support, resources, and guidance for the startups. 

Hub71 has so far attracted more than 300 startups that have raised Dh5.5 billion collectively in venture capital. Hub71's startup community has created more than 1,100 jobs in the capital and generated Dh3.7 billion, Alwan told Aletihad in an exclusive interview. 

Nurturing Ecosystem

"This is a testament to our achievements and our focus on nurturing the tech ecosystem environment in Abu Dhabi," he said. 

Working hand in hand with key stakeholders and partners including Mubadala, ADGM and Department of Economic Development, Hub71 has been assisting startups to overcome challenges, scale up and achieve steady success through its suite of solutions and skilfully tailored programme to make startups thrive throughout their journey, and thereby fostering Abu Dhabi's leading tech startup ecosystem, Alwan said. 

"Abu Dhabi has a good repository of investors, and partners who are looking to invest in technology, and with the technology providers within the startup space, we have always been keen to expand partnerships and ensure that startups have access to all partners and networks," Alwan added. 

"We put the startup founders at the centre stage of everything that we do. We listen to them, we try to understand what are their needs and requirements and what are the areas we can develop and what we can offer to support their growth via all our programmes," he said. 

Hub71's programmes, each curated to support startups at a specific stage of their growth lifecycle, include "Initiate" which comprises sector-specific venture builders to develop new tech startups. The programme aims to onboard more venture builders to support founders with viable ideas to validate products, and establish product-market fit, turning ideas into successful businesses. Once successful startups graduate from Initiate, they are eligible to join the next programme. 

"Access" is the new name of Hub71's recently revamped Company Building Programme, where startups receive comprehensive support packages including Dh250,000 worth of in-kind incentives and Dh250,000 in cash for equity. In addition, high-performing startups can receive a top-up of up to Dh50,000 in exchange for additional equity after one year. 

Startups that join Access enter a vibrant entrepreneurial community where founders can benefit from an extensive network of over 160 corporations, investment partners, and government entities, unlocking the advantages of Abu Dhabi's marketplace designed to nurture the potential of high-growth companies. 

"Bright", Hub71's new programme, operated by "SG Hypergrowth", targets high-performing startups from the Access programme to continue their growth journey from Abu Dhabi to the world. Hub71 identifies Bright startups based on specific criteria and their long-term commitment to scaling out of Abu Dhabi. 

Startups in Bright benefit from an additional Dh750,000 from Hub71 in exchange for equity, expert mentorship, global expansion support, and fundraising support from leading investors, bolstering their position in their respective industries. 

Diversity Drives Innovation

Hub71 has attracted startups from many countries and "we are big believers that diversity does help expand the overall impact which would ultimately feed into technology and more innovation".

"The beauty of working with this many companies and startups is that you've identified a lot of different areas that can be developed or can be optimised for them to achieve their results," he said. 

"Since we started, we worked with a wide set of sectors from our startups representing more than 20 sectors… but as of last year, we decided to focus on six key sectors including fintech, edutech, health tech, climate tech, and food tech," he said. 

Hub71 remains firm in its mission to empower the tech startup ecosystem building on Abu Dhabi's ranking as the fastest-growing startup environment in the Middle East and North Africa region. 

"We started as a startup ourselves and we are keen on making the journey for startups easier whether through access to finance, networking, talents or helping the startups go international, and with its infrastructure and all other enablers Abu Dhabi is the place for tech startups to thrive and flourish," Alwan said.

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