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Hub71 attracts over 190 startups that have raised Dh5.4bn

Hub71 attracts over 190 startups that have raised Dh5.4bn
28 Feb 2024 13:29

ABU DHABI (ALETIHAD)

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, has onboarded over 190 start-ups that have raised Dh5.4 billion ($1.47 billion) collectively in venture capital since it launched five years ago to accelerate entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi.

Leveraging a 22% year-on-year increase in fundraising performance, Hub71’s start-up community has created more than 1,100 jobs in Abu Dhabi and generated Dh3.5 billion ($D1 billion) in revenue, signing 118 corporate deals in the past two years valued at Dh658 million ($179 million). Currently, Hub71 start-ups operate in 22 sectors led by more than 320 founders from 54 nationalities who have established operations in Abu Dhabi to pursue further business growth and scale internationally.

As Hub71 marks another year of impact featuring celebrity appearances and thought-provoking discussions, the global tech ecosystem evolved rapidly in 2023. In 2023, start-ups already part of Hub71 raised Dh900 million ($245 million) in funding, including the funds secured by start-ups that joined the community last year before their onboarding. Hub71 facilitated commercial deals for start-ups, which resulted in 77 deals signed with corporations in 2023 worth Dh492 million ($134 million). Of these deals, 42 per cent were signed with Hub71 partners valued at Dh150 million ($41 million). Amid the deal spree, Hub71 onboarded 38 start-ups to its programmes following a 143 per cent increase in the global number of applications for Hub71 programmes from the previous year.

Fast-growing Start-up

Building on Abu Dhabi’s ranking as the fastest-growing start-up ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, other significant developments at Hub71 included advancing critical sectors aligning with Abu Dhabi’s economic priorities and addressing challenges of global importance. This began with the launch of two new specialist ecosystems: Hub71+ Digital Assets, dedicated to unleashing the potential of Web3 and digital assets, and Hub71+ ClimateTech, launched during COP28 UAE to advance the development of start-ups developing sustainable technologies for a net zero future.

To provide start-ups within each specialist ecosystem with support, resources, and guidance, Hub71 appointed New Energy Nexus (NEX), the world's leading ecosystem of funds and accelerators supporting diverse clean energy entrepreneurs, as the Programme Operator of Hub71+ ClimateTech. Meanwhile, Hub71+ Digital Assets now has a specialist digital assets venture capital firm, Elixir Capital, as its Programme Operator to bolster the ecosystem’s impact. In its first year, 16 start-ups were onboarded to Hub71+ Digital Assets amid over 2000 applications received and piloted the Sui Founder Hub71 Experience and hosted a 300-person event and other partner-oriented gatherings. Looking ahead, Hub71 will focus on expanding start-up programs, shaping regulatory frameworks, hosting significant events, and cultivating talent and partnerships to grow Abu Dhabi’s digital asset ecosystem.

Creating Impact

Ahmad Ali Alwan, Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, said: "Our focus is on creating a lasting impact for founders and the Abu Dhabi economy. The strong performance of Hub71 and the success of our thriving community over the past five years is a testament to the vision of our wise leadership in transforming Abu Dhabi into a leading tech start-up ecosystem. In 2024, we are spearheading new programmes and strategic initiatives to attract top talent and ensure start-up founders receive unparalleled support through our partnerships, programmes, and initiatives. Hub71 continues honing a conducive environment for global tech companies to scale and succeed. By nurturing the start-up economy, we will solidify Abu Dhabi's position as a beacon of entrepreneurial innovation."

Unveiled at Hub71’s annual Impact Event are the new names of its programmes – Initiate, Access, and Bright – each curated to support start-ups at a specific stage of the growth lifecycle.

Initiate is a cutting-edge programme comprising sector-specific venture builders and venture studios that will develop new tech start-ups. 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 start-ups graduate from Initiate, they are eligible to join the next programme, Access.

Access is the name of Hub71’s recently revamped Company Building Programme, where start-ups at Seed to Series-A receive comprehensive support packages from up to Dh250,000 worth of in-kind incentives and Dh250,000 in cash for equity. In addition, high-performing start-ups can receive a top-up of up to Dh250,000 in exchange for additional equity after one year. Start-ups that join Access enter a entrepreneurial community where founders can benefit from an extensive network of over 140 corporations, investment partners and government entities, unlocking the advantages of Abu Dhabi's marketplace designed to nurture the potential of high-growth companies.

Bright is Hub71’s new and exclusive programme, operated by SG Hypergrowth, for top-performing start-ups from the Access programme to continue their growth journey from Abu Dhabi to worldwide. Hub71 identifies Bright start-ups based on specific criteria and their long-term commitment to using Abu Dhabi as a base for regional expansion. Start-ups in Bright benefit from an additional Dh750,000 in exchange for equity, expert mentorship, global expansion support and fundraising from leading investors, bolstering their position in their respective industries.

In response to the global tech talent shortage and demand for specialised skills, Hub71 is implementing a new strategy through its talent network, which has grown 13 per cent in the past year. In collaboration with top universities and other organisations, Hub71 is creating opportunities for students and graduates, including hosting talent sessions at universities and events like multiple youth activation sessions at COP28 UAE with Hub71 partners, Mubadala Investment Company and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), to bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world start-up experiences. Hub71 is also looking beyond the UAE for promising talent. In partnership with the Abu Dhabi Residents Office (ADRO), 129 Golden Visas were issued in 2023 for Hub71 founders, granting long-term residency to innovators, their families and employees.

In 2024, Hub71 aims to expand the number of Hub71+ specialist ecosystems dedicated to advancing technologies in critical sectors where start-up innovation has the greatest potential. In supporting Abu Dhabi’s economic vision, Hub71 will be pivotal in building a diverse pool of capital to enable start-ups to capture investment through initiatives like Tech Barza, Fundraising Roadshow and VC Meets. The funding will allow start-ups to pursue international growth through Hub71’s mutually beneficial cross-border partnerships, which are set to grow this year in markets including South Korea, Singapore and Pakistan. Abu Dhabi's Hub71 supports the UAE's technological advancements, helping the nation reach its goal of becoming an Entrepreneurial Nation by 2031.

 
 

Source: Aletihad - Abu Dhabi
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