Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 3 December 2020

Abu Dhabi tech accelerator Hub71 signs deal with TechWadi to attract US start-ups and VCs

Agreement will promote cross-border knowledge sharing and investments

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
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

Hub71 has joined forces with Silicon Valley non-profit organisation TechWadi to attract US start-ups and venture capitalists to Abu Dhabi.

The partnership will give US start-ups and investors priority access to Hub71’s ecosystem and incentive programmes, as well as promote cross-border knowledge sharing and investments, the Abu Dhabi tech accelerator said on Thursday.

“Our partnership with TechWadi creates value for both our international communities of founders as well as any US start-ups looking for growth opportunities in the Middle East,” Nader Museitif, head of partnerships and business development of Hub71, said.

The Hub71 start-ups will benefit by gaining direct access to US VCs and mentors within the TechWadi network, including Google Venture, 500Startups and Silicon Valley Bank. Its mentors come from top companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Salesforce.

Companies on both sides will gain support, access to capital and market opportunities to scale their businesses abroad, Mr Museitif said.

“In our pursuit of staying ahead of the curve, we are continually assessing and improving our offering and quest to help start-ups to thrive.”

Launched today, the Hub71 x TechWadi programme will see the US start-ups that have chosen Abu Dhabi as their springboard for global growth pitching for generous incentives. These include free housing, health insurance and office space for up to three years, equating up to Dh3 million per start-up.

“We are excited by the partnership … and the opportunity to help empower entrepreneurs through access to resources, mentorship, training and access to capital between Silicon Valley and Abu Dhabi,” said Sharif El Badawi, board member of TechWadi and managing partner at 500 Startups Middle East and North Africa.

TechWadi will also host a pitch day for selected Hub71 start-ups that will vie for US VCs and investors.

“Abu Dhabi is becoming a magnet for ambitious US-based tech start-ups looking for growth opportunities within a progressive, future-led and flexible regulatory environment that enables our portfolio companies to expand their target markets earlier in their journey,” said Alaa Halawa, head of US ventures at Mubadala Investment Company.

Hub71, whose start-ups have collectively raised more than Dh510.1m up to the second week of last month, was set up in March 2019 by the Abu Dhabi government, Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Microsoft and SoftBank.

It has more than 50 international start-ups, of which 10 per cent were founded in the US.

The accelerator is a flagship initiative of the Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 economic stimulus programme. In May, the Abu Dhabi government also rolled out a Dh535m Ghadan Ventures Fund, which targets start-ups and is being managed by Abu Dhabi's state holding company ADQ.

Updated: August 27, 2020 04:31 PM

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