Mahmoud Adi
Mahmoud Adi, head of Hub71, I said there is a huge interest among start up firms to come to Abu Dhabi and they are trying to select right set of firms. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: Hub71, a global tech hub launched earlier this year, is aiming to attract 30 to 40 firms in 2019 to boost start up ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, its head told Gulf News in an interview.

“Our first start up will join us in a few weeks and we are expecting to attract 30 to 40 firms by the end of 2019. Majority of them are from the Mena region,” said Mahmoud Adi.

Hub 71, a Dh1 billion initiative was launched by Abu Dhabi government in March to boost starts ups in the technology sphere and diversify the economy away from oil.


Amount Abu Dhabi has committed for Hub71

Mubadala Investment Company, Microsoft and SoftBank Vision Fund and Abu Dhabi Global Market are involved in the project which forms part of Ghadan 21 programme of the government that was established to accelerate the economy with a stimulus package of Dh50 billion.

Elaborating further on Hub71, Adi said there is a huge interest among start up firms to come to Abu Dhabi and they are trying to select right set of firms.

“We want to make sure that we have the right community or the right set of companies with in the first year because those will act us the first core community that people will be aspire to be part of.”

“It is also very important for us to get diversity from where the companies are coming from, diversity in term of sector, diversity in term of level of tech that they are addressing and that would make Hub71 quite unique.” he added.


Housing, office space and insurance Incentive for 2 years

Abu Dhabi has committed up to Dh1 billon for Hub71 project with incentives as well as investment to lure start ups to come to Abu Dhabi and set up their operations.

For seed companies, which are extremely early in their life cycle with a team of five people, the incentive package that is being offered is 100 per cent on housing, office space and health insurance for two years. The value of the package is expected to be slightly under a million dirhams.

For emergent companies that have grown beyond the seed stage with a larger team of six to seven and up to 25 people and raised some professional money, the package that is being offered is 50 per cent incentive on housing, office space and health insurance with the value being roughly Dh3.5 million.

“That is a sizeable commitment for a start up in return for zero equity. That is a massive incentive for companies to lower the cost of doing business and we believe that is a key enabler for those companies to get off the ground.”

On the vision for Hub71 for the next five to ten years, Adi said they are aiming to put Abu Dhabi on the global map of technology on par with some of the tech hubs across the globe, including Singapore, Berlin, London, New York, San Francisco, among others.

“So today when you talk about tech, certain cities pop up like Singapore, Beijing, London, Paris, New York and San Francisco and Mena does not actually figure and we want to put Abu Dhabi to the list.”

Hub71 announced on Wednesday a new partnership with MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, part of a global network of chapters dedicated to promoting and enriching the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Arab region.

“Our partnership with MITEF Pan Arab demonstrates our commitment to the region’s exceptional talent and will further enable Hub71 to be a global launch pad for innovation,” said Mahmoud Adi, head of Hub71 in a statement.