Hub71 launches programme to assist startups with AI tech, cloud services

Photo: WAM

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s tech ecosystem today launched the region’s first 'Microsoft Reactor Programme' as it further expanded its ecosystem to 35 innovative startups with the announcement of 17 winners of the Hub71 Incentive Package.

As part of its strategic partnership with Microsoft, Hub71’s Microsoft Reactor programme will be a centre for technical learning and knowledge-sharing where developers and startup founders can connect with the local community.

The programme will provide a curriculum to help these professionals strengthen expertise around emerging topics such as cloud services and Artificial Intelligence. It is available to Hub71 residents and the broader community free of charge.

'Microsoft for Startups' will also operate out of Hub71, which is designed to support startups as they build and scale their companies.

With the announcement of 17 winners of the Hub71 Incentive Programme, Hub71 is now supporting 35 innovative startups with up to 100 percent free housing, office space and health insurance for two years for seed companies and 50 percent subsidies for emergent companies, for three years, worth around AED3.5 million (US$950,000).

Ibrahim Ajami, Head of Ventures at Mubadala Capital, said, "The 17 winning startups joining Hub71 will make waves across multiple industries, adding diversity to Abu Dhabi’s tech economy from around the world and creating new jobs in the Emirate. To further support the success of Hub71’s community of innovative startups, we’re pleased to welcome the Microsoft Reactor programme to Hub71; providing new skills and enabling companies to materialize their best innovations yet."

Jeana Jorgensen, General Manager, Cloud and AI Division at Microsoft, said, "Built to support the Gulf’s unprecedented rate of digital transformation, we are thrilled to open a Microsoft Reactor within Hub71. The concentration of globally minded startups, investors and industry, represents an enormous opportunity. We believe bringing these elements together with Mubadala and Hub71 will be a catalyst for the region."

Hub71, which opened its Incentive Programme to the public last October, received 348 applications from 47 countries – with the UAE, USA, Lebanon, India and Egypt forming the top five countries. Forty-one percent of applicants said they would move their teams to Abu Dhabi if they were selected – validating the emirate’s position as a regional tech hub.

Startups that applied to the Hub71 Incentive Programme were predominately in the fintech, artificial intelligence and e-commerce sectors, with 72 percent of applicants in the ‘seed’ stage – having raised US$100,000 to $1 million and 28 percent of applicants in the ‘emergent’ stage – having raised between $1-5 million.

Of the startups that applied, 20 percent are led by Emirati nationals, of which 37 percent are female-led companies. Collectively, the 17 winning startups look to raise approximately $60 million in capital, and to double their full-time employees.

Hub71 reopened the Hub71 Incentive Programme today and reports that it will remain open all year-round. To apply or to find more information about ways to join visit the Hub71 website.

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