UAE startup ecosystem unlocks regional talent

Companies were far more aggressive on fundraising this year - collectively raising $13.8mln: Techstars MD

About 8 in 10 job seekers expect business conditions in the UAE to 'improve' in a year's time. Image used for illustrative purpose.

About 8 in 10 job seekers expect business conditions in the UAE to 'improve' in a year's time. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Getty Images/Yuri_Arcurs

The world has set eyes on the UAE and it only gets now more prominent when the very powerful hub like Techstars with a network of 1,600 companies with a market cap of $17 billion under Techstars accelerator portfolio consolidates its operations in Dubai.

Vijay Tirathrai, managing director at Techstars, said: "We see our role as enabling talented startups to come to Dubai which is an emerging global hub, to explore the region, engage the ready talent pool, penetrate the regional market place and tap into a network of investors."

"In the past 12 months alone, we have witnessed an increased momentum in startups and investor activities, an increase in funding news and successful acquisitions like Careem by Uber, which will have a trickle down effect," he added.

Sharing insights of the second batch of startups, tech-savvy Tirathrai, said: "In the second year of the programme, we attracted more mature businesses which is a testament to the appeal of not only the programme, but of Dubai as a startup hub. The diversity of the programme increased significantly with this year's class consisting of 35 founders from 13 different countries. It was the first accelerator programme to have an Emirati founder. This class was also more focused on enterprise software solution, compared to hardware tech in case of previous year. We also saw that this year the companies were far more aggressive on fundraising - collectively raising $13.8 million."

Ten technology startups from around the world building innovative companies showcased their products and stories at 'Demo Day', held recently. In its second year of the programme, a partnership between Techstars and GINCO Investments, the investment arm of GINCO Group, has been ongoing in the brand new AREA 2071, the international innovation ecosystem space. The event was attended by Khalfan Juma Belhoul, CEO, Dubai Future Foundation and virtually by Mohammed Gheyath, CEO of GINCO Investments, along with official representatives from the government and private sector.

During the 13-week accelerator programme, the 10 companies worked closely with more than 90 mentors from the Dubai's ecosystem and beyond to further develop their business models, go-to market strategies and scale. Over the course of the program, the companies met with more than 25 company founders and investors, took part in more than 20 workshops and conducted around 1,000 meetings. It was announced during Demo Day that many of the startups landed pilot projects during their time in the accelerator, and others are in the works. As a result of the programme, five of the companies are maintaining a presence in Dubai with a focus on Tech, legal tech, food tech, and IoT for Construction and Service Execution Management

"With our partners at Techstars, we set out to prove that Dubai can attract and develop exceptional startup talent from all over the world. Over the past 13 weeks our founders raised capital, shipped product, and built incredible businesses that we look forward to supporting along their entrepreneurial journeys" said Mohammed Gheyath, CEO of GINCO Investments.

In addition to the lifelong support of Techstars and the Gheyath family, the companies have gained access to $2 million in perks provided by partners such as Amazon Web Services, SendGrid, Dentons, and others.


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