As per the statement by a sector expert, “UAEs start-up ecosystem is swiftly gaining up a huge global popularity, portraying the venture founders as well as investors globally within the rear of the concerted as well as combined efforts via the corporates as well as governments.
With the progression of better support system that also includes access to technology tenders, computing power, talent anywhere and initial-stage venture capital, dropping down the entry barrier for start-up projects to the territory, this trend is anticipated to get further momentum in the approaching months and years.
The Managing Director of the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator as well as the veteran in start-up mentoring globally, Vijay Tirathrai stated that: “The reality is that innovation and disruption is happening at a feverish pace [in the UAE]. Today, [the Techstars Hub71] roster of 209 tech founders originate from 43 countries which shows the [rising] global interest in Abu Dhabi’s start up ecosystem.”
With around 20 tech concerns having set up shop in Abu Dhabi, Tirathrai stated that there are more start-ups are in the pipeline.
Techstars, a global platform for investment and innovation operates a 50 accelerator programs around the world, conducting the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator Program in Abu Dhabi in partnership with Mubadala Investment Company.
He further added out that: “Through Techstars partnership with Hub71, we have seen close to 20 technology start-up ventures setting up in Abu Dhabi. Many of the companies I know have engineering and business development teams distributed around the world, whilst having a presence in Abu Dhabi. This is the norm now.”
“An increasingly vibrant ecosystem led by tech hubs, accelerators, corporate start-up labs and on-ramping programs by tech giants, coupled with an incentivised environment by governments has made it all the more alluring.”
The veteran start-up mentor also mentioned the UAE government for incentives like backed housing, office spaces and health insurance, and five-year visas to make it striking to initial-stage firms, but felt more desired to be done.
Tirathrai who is also the former CEO and chairman of the Washington DC-based Entrepreneur’s Organization further added out that: “It’s the best time ever to start a business [here].”
Worksathlon, Aumet, DesignHuz, Flaist, Dopay, Educhain, Nestrom, Sensgreen, Yacob, Bonflite, Strategy Connect and Klaim are among the start-ups that have set up shop in the UAE through the Techstars Hub71 programme.
Tirathrai stated that: “This would allow start-ups to seek commercialization, market adoption and scalability at a much faster rate and even export technology applications to the wider region. Besides, this will also enable a huge opportunity for start-ups seeking to anchor the base in Abu Dhabi, with the objective of penetrating the wider GCC.”
He also further added that: “Increased liquidity with more incentives for international investors to set up shop here is needed. Access to capital markets by building fast track ‘ramps’ to the Nasdaq and New York stock exchange will enhance the stature of international hubs in UAE.”
According to him, appealing tech giants to invest big in significant infrastructure platforms, like data centres, 5G networks, opening national grids for financial systems, alternative energy, airspace for drones, IoT inter-connectivity and alliance with key research centres around the biosphere will enable a more robust ecosystem.
Tirathrai also stated out that access to capital beyond early-stage funding was still deficient, as are possibilities for exits in the UAE.
He stated that: “Our portfolio companies from the 2020 and 2021 cohort are beneficiaries of Mubadala investment. Should these companies scale in size and seek later stage investments, we know that these companies can seek follow-on investments from top VCs around the world, including Mudadala.”
On its tie-up with Mubadala, Tirathrai stated that the investment firm partners with Techstars to invest in start-ups. Tirathrai, who has originated numerous industries in Asia, also discovered that Techstars was discovering new accelerator programmes in the UAE and the territory, and is possibly looking at Saudi Arabia next.