Abu Dhabi: a second home to American tech companies
We caught up with Derick Smith, founder and CEO of AmmbrTech – a platform that delivers internet connectivity to communities with a range of products and services. AmmbrTech was originally founded in the United States and has recently been accepted into the Abu Dhabi-based Hub71 Incentive Program to receive the emergent package which includes non-equity subsidies for three years including 50% free housing with OYO rooms, health insurance and office space at the centrally located WeWork x Hub71; for up to 25 employees.
Derick talks to us about what it was that attracted him to Abu Dhabi and Hub71, and why his experience has been remarkably exceptional.
Talk to us about AmmbrTech and what are you currently working on?
AmmbrTech is a platform that delivers internet connectivity to underserved communities with a range of content, services and products. We initially developed solutions for the physical infrastructure for a telecoms network, and that is now fully commercialized. We are now developing a Cloud and Edge Cloud infrastructure and marketplace.
What attracted you to Abu Dhabi and how has Hub71 helped you?
I’ve been closely monitoring the crypto regulations around the world for the past couple of years, and ADGM’s regulations caught my eye. There are also some really great initiatives to support startups and encourage them to establish in Abu Dhabi. Naturally I became really interested in ADGM and what they had to offer startups, especially within the ADGM ecosystem. When we first came to visit the UAE I met with the Ghadan21 team and Hub71 and we was very impressed by them. We applied to the Hub71 Incentive Program, and were fortunate to be accepted into this excellent tech hub! I have moved here and am in the process of transitioning the rest of the team to be based here in Abu Dhabi
In your experience as an AI expert, what do you think the region should do to attract more AI talent?
There are some exceptional AI companies here in the region. In my opinion, the key here is that we need to focus on the things that make Abu Dhabi unique, and give Abu Dhabi a competitive edge over other global players. There needs to be a focus on the things that the US and the UK are not doing well in. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s clearly a safety and security picture. So, I think we should communicate that the UAE is a place where there is total safety and security. Another focus should be on the welcoming environment of multi-culturalism. These are the things that will ultimately attract talent. And finally, Abu Dhabi obviously see’s Artificial Intelligence as key to the next phase in the diversification of its economy.
What is the future of tech and fintech startups in the UAE, in your opinion?
Abu Dhabi is doing an exceptionally good job of attracting people to come and establish here. It is certainly very competitive on various fronts regionally and internationally, and Abu Dhabi is rapidly proving itself to being a globally recognized tech ecosystem
How was your experience in setting up your business in Abu Dhabi and Hub71 in particular, and what advice would you give for people who are considering establishing here?
I have to say my experience with Hub71 was absolutely sterling! The willingness of people to talk to you and set up meetings to assist you and provide you with the materials you need, is incredible. The apartment with Oyo (Hub71’s accommodation service partner) was ready the second day I arrived in Abu Dhabi – I booked two nights in the hotel and ended up spending only one night! Same with the office – WeWork x Hub71 booked me in and I was able to settle into my new office space on the same day of my arrival. My overall experience was brilliant, and I have never come across a simple and convenient process for entering a new country, and it just keeps getting better!
To find out more about Ammbrtech, go to: https://ammbrtech.com/
To apply to the Hub71 Incentive Program, click here: https://www.hub71.com/application/