Abu Dhabi's Aldar chooses three PropTech start-ups for its accelerator programme

Companies chosen for first iteration of Scale Up are Germany's Envio, Finland's GBuilder and the UK's Metrikus

Aldar's HQ building in Abu Dhabi. Delores Johnson / The National
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The UAE's biggest listed property company Aldar has chosen three property technology (PropTech) start-ups for its inaugural Aldar Scale Up accelerator programme.

Selected start-ups include German company Envio that offers Internet of Things products to monitor buildings, Finnish company GBuilder that has a system allowing for easier communication between stakeholders on construction projects and UK-based Metrikus, which offers software that focuses on making building and estate operations more efficient.

The accelerator programme has provided a way of tapping into the global PropTech start-up market and harnessing innovative concepts, Maan Al Awlaqi, executive director of strategy and transformation at Aldar, said.

“We congratulate all those who participated in this programme on their excellent concepts, which will undoubtedly drive positive change in the industry,” he added.

The programme, which was launched by Aldar in February in association with StartAD – an accelerator based at NYU Abu Dhabi – aims to help global companies with innovative real estate technology enter the UAE market.

The chosen start-ups will benefit from “tangible growth opportunities” through pilot projects with Aldar and other leading industry players in the region, the Abu Dhabi developer said.

The programme focuses on three key areas – sustainability, data analytics and smart development. It received more than 200 applications from 31 countries and nine start-ups were selected to take part in online training sessions and mentorship. Out of these, three were awarded pilot projects.

The chosen start-ups have also been automatically shortlisted for Hub71’s incentive programme, which offers more than $400,000 worth of equity-free subsidies including free housing, health insurance and office space for up to three years.

The real estate sector accounted for Dh38.4bn of gross domestic product of Abu Dhabi in 2019 [about 4 per cent of total GDP], Ramesh Jagannathan, vice-provost for entrepreneurship at NYU Abu Dhabi, and managing director of startAD, said.

“Real estate constitutes over 50 per cent of the world's assets … however, only 58 per cent of real estate companies globally have a digital strategy in place.

“With technological advancements and digitisation, the quest for sustainability and changes in consumer behaviour, it is clear that there is an undeniable need for the industry to evolve,” Mr Jagannathan added.

The construction sector needs to spend close to $57 trillion by 2030 to keep pace with global GDP growth, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.