Abu Dhabi's Hub71 partners with Adio to boost start-up ecosystem

In a joint demo day last year, Hub71 start-ups raised $2.7m from Adio

Set up in March 2019, Hub71 is a start-up incubator based within Abu Dhabi Global Market, the emirate's financial free zone. Courtesy Hub71
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Global tech ecosystem Hub71 has joined forces with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office to facilitate the scale-up of early-stage tech start-ups through fresh investment.

Hub71’s Innovation Programme will offer a “robust and competitive environment” for start-ups to access new capital and incentives from public as well as private companies, the entities said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

“Capital is an instrumental enabler that unlocks our start-ups’ growth,” Ibrahim Ajami, interim chief executive of Abu Dhabi-based Hub71, said.

“We are committed to supporting tech start-ups by leveraging the network of partners that back our mission and strive to provide opportunities to access funding or grants,” added Mr Ajami, who is also the head of ventures and growth at Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund.

The new partnership aims to support Hub71's The Outliers programme. Launched in March,. the programme connects selected start-ups with the emirate's companies, particularly those under Mubadala and industrial holding firm ADQ, as well as local and federal government agencies, to increase their market access.

“The Outliers paves the way for start-ups with proven products to work alongside our corporate and government partners … to help them integrate innovation into their business models. Now is the time to apply and get the backing of powerful entities that want to help start-ups develop sustainable POCs [proof of concepts] that can go-to-market,” said Mr Ajami.

Start-ups worldwide can apply for The Outliers programme until July 1. Successful start-ups will gain access to up to $27,000 worth of funding for POCs, other benefits, in addition to partnership contracts and the chance to join Hub71’s community to benefit from its incentives, programmes and global partners.

Start-ups are key to Abu Dhabi’s economy, “both in terms of economic benefit as well as the bold ideas and ambition they bring to the business ecosystem”, Dr Tariq Bin Hendi, Adio’s director general, said.

“The government plays a critical role in creating an environment where businesses are supported to succeed, and at ADIO, we are investing maximum resources and efforts to ensure innovative start-ups can successfully scale up from Abu Dhabi,” added Mr Hendi.

At the end of last year, Hub71 and Adio hosted a demo day for the Hub71’ start-ups to pitch for cash grants from Adio. Following a screening process by an investment committee, 10 start-ups received grants worth more than Dh10 million ($2.7m) to accelerate the development of their innovative solutions.

More than 15 local, regional and international venture capital funds are based at Hub71 with $1.72 billion in assets under management.

Hub71 is a flagship initiative of the Dh50bn Ghadan 21 economic stimulus programme and was founded by the Abu Dhabi government, Mubadala, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Microsoft and SoftBank.

It has positioned the UAE capital as an innovation hub and attracted start-ups in sectors that are crucial to the country's growth, such as agriculture, technology, health care and renewable energy.