Abu Dhabi has launched Hub71, a tech ecosystem supported by some of the world’s most powerful technology investors and companies to accelerate the Emirate’s goal of becoming the nucleus of a vibrant tech start-up ecosystem. Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 is a key initiative of the Government’s Ghadan 21 economic accelerator program announced last September by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
His Excellency Jassim Mohammed Buatabh Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office commented: “Abu Dhabi has proven itself as a place where innovation can succeed and inspire. Through the Abu Dhabi Government’s economic programs and plans, we’re doubling down on our efforts to make Abu Dhabi a global beacon for technology and innovation.”
As part of this initiative, the Abu Dhabi Government has announced it will launch an AED 535 million fund administered by Abu Dhabi Investment Office to invest in startups and VCs at Hub71. Starting April 28, 2019, the fund will co-invest with venture capitalists (VCs) in Hub71 based tech start-ups through a government matching scheme, as well as invest in first-time fund managers to support their establishment and growth in the Emirate. Hub71 is also offering fully subsidized housing, office space and health insurance for seed-stage tech companies. For more established tech ventures, 50 per cent subsidy packages will be available.
For the first time, Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 will bring together three key pillars that are essential for the success of Abu Dhabi’s tech ecosystem – capital providers, business enablers and strategic partners. Mubadala Investment Company, Microsoft and SoftBank Vision Fund are founding partners of this new initiative, working in close collaboration with Abu Dhabi Global Market to create a dynamic business environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Scott Guthrie, Executive VP of Microsoft’s Cloud + AI Division, said: “As a partner of Hub71 Abu Dhabi, we are firmly committed to the Middle East region as it continues its journey to digitally transform and innovate. It’s important for us to contribute to the UAE’s dynamic, interconnected ecosystem of globally minded start-ups, innovators, investors, industries, academia and government. By converging together at Hub71 Abu Dhabi, we’re helping to create a home for global talent and ambitious innovators looking to this region for opportunity.”
His Excellency Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer and Chief Executive Officer of Alternative Investments & Infrastructure of Mubadala Investment Company, said: “As an active investor, we have a strong track record of deploying capital and building partnerships in the tech sector all over the world. Hub71 is the perfect platform for Abu Dhabi to drive a tech transformation, bringing together our global networks, investment experience and strategic expertise so that early and growing tech companies who are ready to scale up, can do so successfully within this region.”
With over 40 percent of the region’s new tech companies choosing the Emirates, this initiative underpins the government’s forward-thinking investment in the tech sector. Hub71 plays a central role in delivering on the Government’s economic strategy, building on the Capital’s strong industrial foundations, creating new jobs and sectors, while boosting international investment in the UAE. The tech hub has been established to address the financial and regulatory roadblocks facing start-ups all around the world and is finalising talks with global investor firms to deploy funding to exceptional start-ups.
Masayoshi Son, Founder and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. commented: “The SoftBank Vision Fund and our portfolio companies are honoured to participate as a founding partner of Abu Dhabi’s Hub71. This is a ground-breaking project that will see technology companies, start-ups, academics and investors collaborating to create something truly exciting for the tech sector across the region and beyond. We would like to congratulate the people of Abu Dhabi on the launch of this wonderful initiative.”
H.E. Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State to the United Arab Emirates and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market, says: “We are excited that Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is the anchor and home for Hub71. Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 is about setting a foundation for early and growing tech companies who seek and recognise the immense opportunities in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and wider region. As a regulator and business enabler, ADGM provides the ideal platform to augment Hub71’s interconnected global ecosystem. We will continue to deliver valuable business access and tools, supported by progressive regulatory systems, to enable start-ups and entities to conduct business with ease, and position Abu Dhabi as their home.”