Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 partners with New York’s Modus Capital to support early stage start-ups

Founders can secure up to $450,000 in funding from the new Ventures Lab programme

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 10, 2020.  Hub71, ADGM, stock images.
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Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 is teaming up with New York venture capital company Modus Capital to invest in early-stage start-ups and support their development of new products and services.

The new Ventures Lab programme will help founders of early-stage start-ups from across the world to develop successful and scalable solutions in Abu Dhabi, Hub71 said on Tuesday.

“Through Ventures Lab, we will enable more founders to lead viable tech companies and attract new companies and investment to Abu Dhabi while supporting the nation’s future generation of entrepreneurs to shape the ... digital-based economy,” said Nader Museitif, head of products and business development at Hub71.

“Modus Capital’s international reach in New York and Cairo, coupled with its proven experience in venture building, is a clear representation of our focus on cementing partnerships that add value and more fundraising opportunities to our founders.”

Hub71 is a flagship initiative of the Dh50bn Ghadan 21 economic stimulus programme.

It was set up in 2019 by the Abu Dhabi government, Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi Global Market, Microsoft and SoftBank to boost the start-up ecosystem in the capital and has positioned the emirate as an innovation centre and attracted start-ups in sectors that are crucial to the country’s growth.

Earlier this month, Hub71 joined forces with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office to facilitate the scale-up of early-stage tech start-ups through new investment.

As part of its latest nine-month programme, selected start-ups will have access to up to $450,000 in funding and gain priority entry into Hub71’s start-up eco-system.

The programme will accept a minimum of 16 founders each year after a selection process conducted by Hub71, Modus and other industry experts.

After graduating from Ventures Lab, founders will also be granted access to Hub71’s incentive programme through which they will receive operational support and other benefits to broaden their market reach.

“We are excited to be supporting and fostering entrepreneurship through our partnership with Hub71, with not just capital but also the expertise and hands-on operational and tailored guidance that start-ups are in need of in the early-stages,” said Modus Capital managing partner Kareem Elsirafy.

Graduating founders will also be able to tap into the $80m Modus Mena Venture Fund that is at the Abu Dhabi Global Market, in addition to Hub71’s growing capital community of 17 venture capital funds with assets under management worth more than $1.72 billion.

Modus Capital, which has offices in New York, Cairo and Abu Dhabi, said it plans to launch three more venture builders in the region as part of its efforts to invest in the Mena start-up ecosystem. It plans to open one in Saudi Arabia later this year.

Entrepreneurs developing a concept or prototype specialised in any sector are eligible to apply to the Ventures Lab programme.

However, preference will be given to FinTech, Direct-to-Consumer, health technology and education technology companies as part of Hub71’s commitment to supporting national priority sectors in line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. Hub71 will also prioritise female entrepreneurs and Emiratis to help foster the next generation of homegrown founders as part of the programme, it said.

Venture capital companies have in recent months stepped up the funding of start-ups that intend to ease coronavirus-induced business challenges through the use of innovative technology.

Start-ups in the Mena region secured $1.03bn in funding last year, 13 per cent more than the 2019 figure, according to data platform Magnitt.