There is growing interest from start-ups in Abu Dhabi’s tech hub

Texas News Today

File photo: United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi Overview, January 3, 2019. The photo was taken on January 3, 2019. Reuters / Hamad I Mohamed / FILE PHOTO / FILE PHOTO

October 19, 2021

by Hadeel Al Sayghu

DUBAI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi’s new technology hub has drawn interest from UAE and foreign start-ups despite the economic impact of last year’s coronavirus pandemic amid growing optimism from the region. It says that it is touching the sky.

Hub71’s chief operating officer, Zida Itani, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi state-owned fund Mubadala Investment Company, SoftBank Vision Fund and Microsoft, has gone through a selection process of nearly 3,500 applications since its inception in 2019. , states that it has accepted 100 start-ups.

“Despite COVID and everything else, start-ups keep enforcing. In fact, we have seen a boom in some sectors from the pandemic like health technology, education technology and fintech,” Itaya said. where did it go.

Investors are looking for potential tech unicorns in the Middle East (private start-ups valued at over $1 billion), and with some successes from local tech companies, start-ups are encouraged to keep in the UAE. Is. said.

Spotify’s rival, Anghami, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa, will be the target of a so-called Special Acquisition Company (SPAC) earlier this year and listed on the Nasdaq exchange in New York.

Carrom, a ride hailing app in the Middle East and Asia, was acquired by Uber for $3.1 billion in 2020. This was the biggest exit for start-ups in the region. Amazon acquired e-commerce marketplace Souq.com in 2017 for $580 million.

The support provided by Hub71, which was extended to all hub-based companies during the pandemic, also encouraged start-ups to be based in Abu Dhabi.

According to Itaya, the company was provided with free office space, accommodation and insurance for all employees.

Hub71 brings in approximately 19 venture capital funds, has total assets under management of $2 billion to $2.5 billion, and a pool of ready-to-use capital that can be deployed across Hub71 companies.

Located in the emirate’s financial district, Hub71 is the flagship initiative of Abu Dhabi’s 50 billion dirham ($13.6 billion) Gadan 21 stimulus program, which was launched in 2018 to accelerate economic growth.

(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh, edited by William Maclean)

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