Start-ups based in Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 secured Dh1.5 billion ($408 million) worth of investments since the inception of the technology hub in 2019, benefiting from the emirate's focus on the technology sector as it seeks to diversify its economy away from oil.
Start-ups at Hub71 raised Dh30m through more than 20 deals last year and the aggregate valuation of the companies operating at Abu Dhabi’s technology ecosystem soared to Dh5.87bn, Hub71 said in a statement on Wednesday.
These companies were also responsible for creating 1,000 new jobs, with their revenue touching Dh1.2bn since the inception of the tech hub at the Abu Dhabi Global Market three years ago.
“As we work toward achieving the UAE’s ambition of becoming an entrepreneurial nation by 2031, Hub71’s strong performance in 2021 exemplifies the enabling business environment we have established in Abu Dhabi,” Mohammed Al Shorafa, chairman of Hub71, said.
“We aim to position technology companies for growth and our priority remains to enable a flexible and favourable business environment that supports creative ideas and scales solutions to address society’s most pressing challenges.”
Hub71 is a flagship initiative of the Dh50bn Ghadan 21 economic stimulus programme and was founded by the Abu Dhabi government, Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Microsoft and SoftBank. It helps entrepreneurs to build tech companies with a global outreach.
“At Hub71, we partner with founders who are scaling the leading businesses of tomorrow that are inspiring new ways to advance sectors and influence how we do things,” Badr Al-Olama, acting chief executive of Hub71, said.
Start-ups at Hub71 closed 32 funding rounds in which companies such as Egypt-based freight marketplace Trella and Dubai’s BitOasis, a cryptocurrency platform, raised Dh154m and Dh110m, respectively, to fund their expansion across the UAE and the region.
Hub71 is also forging new partnerships to accelerate the growth of start-ups. Last year, it signed a preliminary agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to collaborate on a series of programmes to support start-ups in the emirate and to help them leverage technologies that could advance their development. It is also partnering with Khalifa University of Science and Technology to help students and alumni of the university become entrepreneurs.
"To solidify its impact in 2022, Hub71 will intensify its efforts to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position globally as an attractive innovation hub for entrepreneurial talent," it said.
"The tech ecosystem aims to reinforce its capital community of VC funds and continue growing its strategic partnerships that facilitate cross-border market access, funding and knowledge exchange."
More than 100 companies operate at the technology hub representing 18 sectors including cyber security, aerospace and defence, mobility and logistics, e-commerce and retail, and FinTech, among others, according to the latest report published by Hub71.
The UAE, the Arab world's second-largest economy, has taken various steps to encourage entrepreneurship in an effort to fuel its post-oil economy.
Last year, the country unveiled the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative, the goal of which is to make the Emirates home to 20 unicorns — a term referring to start-ups valued at more than $1bn — by 2031, as well as to attract and expand small and medium enterprises.