The UAE is an ambitious player in the global aerospace, space and defense industry. The country remains steadfast in its commitment to bring the latest innovation across these verticals and has made headlines for having one of the largest markets in the world for its investments in space technologies exceeding $5.4 billion within a $47.4 billion aviation sector, which is approximately 13.3 per cent of the country’s GDP.
The aerospace sector in the UAE is one of the six industrial strategy focus sectors. The country is putting a special interest on aerospace as it could spinoff technology that could indirectly impact the economy in various fields including high precision technology. Moreover, the UAE folded together 25 companies into one defense organization known as EDGE. With the mandate to innovate technologies and services with greater market speed and efficiency, the company has the potential – in terms of backing and funding – to impact the global defense equipment market which is largely dominated by Western companies. Suffice to say, global aerospace and defense startups are recognizing the immense market potential and are eyeing the UAE as a base for their regional expansion.
Eloide Guillerm, Project Director, Gothams x Hub71 Accelerator, gave us her insights. “With programs like our Gothams x Hub71 Accelerator Program, there’s never been a better time than now to be in Abu Dhabi. The Emirate is strategically located and is in the right place to be a leading hub between the East and the West. The UAE is also very welcoming of new ideas and innovations.”
“We’ll be picking a special cohort of next generation of space, aerospace and defense who will be selected for our free intensive 12-week program. During this program, startups will get to live the full Hub71 experience, meet with influential industry leaders, regulators, corporates, investors and other like-minded startups based in Abu Dhabi.”
Ideally located in close proximity to the aerospace powerhouses in the US, Europe and the Far East, Abu Dhabi presents many benefits to startups who are increasingly seeing Abu Dhabi as their next home for its regional operations.
The Gothams x Hub71 accelerator is open for 2020 applicants until July 11, 2020 and is looking to fast track the next generation of startups by providing the them with $120k investment and connections to venture and strategy networks in Silicon Valley and beyond. The 12-week program kicks off on September 6 and culminates to a defining moment on November 25 – where chosen startups will have the opportunity to pitch the world’s biggest investors and notable defense companies in the region. Through Hub71, startups will also gain access to expert knowledge, mentorship and business leaders who will help to nurture innovative ideas, qualifying them for a spot on the Hub71 Incentive Program.
In 2019, Gothams, concluded its first cohort which included 150 hours of direct mentorship from 25 local and global mentors and a series of deep dives into the global and regional aerospace and defense industries. The program received 99 applicants from across the globe, of which only four startups were chosen: US-based Natilus, Palestine-founded Red Crow Intelligence, US-based Precious Payload and UK-based EarthX.
Since the program, all four startups have made the move to Abu Dhabi from their respective home countries, after being accepted into the Hub71 Incentive Program which offers seed-stage startups 100% free housing, office space at WeWork x Hub71, and health insurance for two years.
If the 2019 cohort were anything to go by, the 2020 cohort are in for an even more exciting journey that begins in Abu Dhabi, but continues beyond.
Overview of 2019’s chosen startups
- Red Crow Intelligence – a Palestinian startup which provides precise targeted tactical intelligence in real-time to mitigate security risks by utilizing open source technology to collect, verify and analyze data in time-critical situations in the Arab region. Read about them in The National here.
- Natilus – A US startup with a turnkey autonomous cargo aircraft that will disrupt the airfreight industry, reducing global air freight costs by 50% through the use of large autonomous drones. Their drones use 25-35% less fuel than traditional air freight planes.
- Precious Payload – a US-based startup that help teams planning to launch a satellite guiding you through all the steps required to get your payload to orbit.
- EarthX – a UK startup which provides web-based software and tools to visualise data. Explore, gain insights and find new discoveries using EarthX. The creation tools allow you to build your own geospatial content in the form of Layers and GeoStories.