26 Feb, 2024
  • Startups onboarded have raised almost AED 5.4 billion (USD 1.5 billion) collectively in venture capital and generated revenues exceeding AED 3.5 billion (USD 1 billion)
  • Hub71’s Company Building Program becomes ‘Access’ and the new launch of ‘Bright’ program aims to support top-performing startups committed to scale out of Abu Dhabi
  • Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem reaches a five-year milestone as startups continue to thrive in the UAE’s capital

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, has attracted more than 260 startups that have raised AED 5.4 billion (USD 1.5 billion) collectively in venture capital. Hub71’s startup community has created more than 1,100 jobs in Abu Dhabi and generated AED 3.5 billion (USD 1 billion) in revenue, signing 118 corporate deals in the past two years valued at AED 658 million (USD 179 million). Today, Hub71 startups represent 22 sectors led by over 320 founders from 54 nationalities who have established operations in Abu Dhabi to pursue further business growth and scale internationally.

2023: A Memorable Year of Impact

Hub71 received 2781 applications in 2023, a 100 per cent increase in the global number of applications for Hub71 programs from the previous year and onboarded 38 startups to its community. The value of funds raised by Hub71 startups, including recently onboarded Cohorts 12 and 13, increase by AED 900 million (USD 245 million) in 2023. Hub71 facilitated commercial deals for startups, which resulted in 77 deals signed with corporates in 2023 worth AED 494 million (USD 134 million). Of these deals, 42 per cent were signed with Hub71 partners valued at AED 150 million (USD 41 million).

Building on Abu Dhabi’s ranking as the fastest-growing startup ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, other significant developments at Hub71 included advancing priority sectors aligned with Abu Dhabi’s economic priorities and addressing global challenges. 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 the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) to advance the development of startups advancing sustainable technologies for a net zero future. To provide startups within each specialist ecosystem with support, resources, and guidance, Hub71 has partnered with New Energy Nexus (NEX), the world's leading ecosystem of funds and accelerators supporting diverse clean energy entrepreneurs, as the Program Operator of Hub71+ ClimateTech. Meanwhile, Hub71+ Digital Assets now has a specialist digital assets venture capital firm, Elixir Capital, as its Program Operator to bolster the ecosystem’s impact. In its first year, 16 startups were onboarded to Hub71+ Digital Assets. The specialist ecosystem also piloted the Sui Founder Hub71 Experience, hosted a 300-person digital assets community event and organized other partner-oriented gatherings.

Hub71 published its 2023 Impact Report, “Empowering Today, Impacting Tomorrow,” available to download here.

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 startup ecosystem. In 2024, we are spearheading new programs and strategic initiatives to attract top talent and ensure startup founders receive unparalleled support through our partnerships, programs and initiatives. Hub71 continues honing a conducive environment for global tech companies to scale and succeed. By nurturing the startup economy, we will solidify Abu Dhabi's position as a beacon of entrepreneurial innovation."

Re-envisioned Programs

Unveiled today at Hub71’s annual Impact Event are the new names of its programs – Initiate, Access, and Bright – each curated to support startups at a specific stage of their growth lifecycle.

‘Initiate’ compromises sector-specific venture builders to develop new tech startups. The program 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 startups graduate from Initiate, they are eligible to join the next program, Access.

‘Access’ is the new name of Hub71’s recently revamped Company Building Program, where startups at Seed to Series-A receive comprehensive support packages including AED 250,000 worth of in-kind incentives and AED 250,000 in cash for equity. In addition, high-performing startups can receive a top-up of up to AED 250,000 in exchange for additional equity after one year. Startups that join Access enter a vibrant entrepreneurial community where founders can benefit from an extensive network of over 160 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 program, operated by 'SG Hypergrowth', for high-performing startups from the Access program to continue their growth journey from Abu Dhabi to the world. Hub71 identifies Bright startups based on specific criteria and their long-term commitment to scaling out of Abu Dhabi. Startups in Bright benefit from an additional AED 750,000 from Hub71 in exchange for equity, expert mentorship, global expansion support, and fundraising support from leading investors, bolstering their position in their respective industries.

New Talent Strategy

In response to the global tech talent shortage and demand for specialized skills, Hub71 is implementing a new strategy through its talent network. In collaboration with top universities and other organizations, Hub71 is creating opportunities for students and graduates, including hosting talent sessions at universities and events like multiple youth activation sessions at COP28 with, Mubadala and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), to bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world startup 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 and their families.

In 2024, Hub71 aims to expand the number of Hub71+ specialist ecosystems dedicated to advancing technologies in priority sectors where innovation has the greatest potential. Hub71 will be pivotal in enabling the capital ecosystem, in building a diverse pool of capital to help startups capture investment opportunities through initiatives like Tech Barza, Fundraising Roadshow, and VC Meets. Hub71 also supports startups to pursue international growth through cross-border partnerships, which are set to grow this year in markets including South Korea, Singapore and Pakistan.

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