Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, has onboarded more than 190 startups that have raised AED 5.4 billion (USD 1.47 billion) collectively in venture capital since it launched five years ago to accelerate entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi.

Building on the 22 per cent increase in fundraising performance year-on-year, Hub71’s startup community has created more than 1,100 jobs in Abu Dhabi and generated AED3.5 billion (USD 1 billion) in revenue, signing 118 corporate deals in the past two years valued at AED658 million (USD 179 million). Today, Hub71 startups operate in 22 sectors led by more than 320 founders from 54 nationalities who have established operations in Abu Dhabi to pursue further business growth and scale internationally.

As Hub71 marks another year of impact featuring celebrity appearances and thought-provoking discussions, the global tech ecosystem evolved rapidly in 2023. In 2023, startups already part of Hub71 raised AED900 million (USD 245 million) in funding, including the funds secured by startups that joined the community last year before their onboarding. Hub71 facilitated commercial deals for startups, which resulted in 77 deals signed with corporations in 2023 worth AED492 million (USD 134 million). Of these deals, 42 per cent were signed with Hub71 partners valued at AED150 million (USD 41 million). Amid the deal spree, Hub71 onboarded 38 startups to its programmes following a 143 per cent increase in the global number of applications for Hub71 programmes from the previous year.

Building on Abu Dhabi’s ranking as the fastest-growing startup ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, other significant developments at Hub71 included advancing critical sectors aligning with Abu Dhabi’s economic priorities and addressing challenges of global importance. This began with the launch of two new specialist ecosystems: Hub71+ Digital Assets, dedicated to unleashing the potential of Web3 and digital assets, and Hub71+ ClimateTech, launched during COP28 UAE to advance the development of startups developing sustainable technologies for a net zero future. To provide startups within each specialist ecosystem with support, resources, and guidance, Hub71 appointed New Energy Nexus (NEX), the world's leading ecosystem of funds and accelerators supporting diverse clean energy entrepreneurs, as the Program Operator of Hub71+ ClimateTech. Meanwhile, Hub71+ Digital Assets now has a specialist digital assets venture capital firm, Elixir Capital, as its Program Operator to bolster the ecosystem’s impact. In its first year, 16 startups were onboarded to Hub71+ Digital Assets amid over 2000 applications received and piloted the Sui Founder Hub71 Experience and hosted a 300-person event and other partner-oriented gatherings. Looking ahead, Hub71 will focus on expanding startup programs, shaping regulatory frameworks, hosting significant events, and cultivating talent and partnerships to grow Abu Dhabi’s digital asset ecosystem.

Hub71 published its 2024 Impact Report, Empowering Today, Impacting Tomorrow, available to download here.

Ahmad Ali Alwan, Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, said: "Our focus is on creating a lasting impact for founders and the Abu Dhabi economy. The strong performance of Hub71 and the success of our thriving community over the past five years is a testament to the vision of our wise leadership in transforming Abu Dhabi into a leading tech startup ecosystem. In 2024, we are spearheading new programs and strategic initiatives to attract top talent and ensure startup founders receive unparalleled support through our partnerships, programs and initiatives. Hub71 continues honing a conducive environment for global tech companies to scale and succeed. By nurturing the startup economy, we will solidify Abu Dhabi's position as a beacon of entrepreneurial innovation."

Unveiled at Hub71’s annual Impact Event are the new names of its programmes – Initiate, Access, and Bright – each curated to support startups at a specific stage of the growth lifecycle.

Initiate is a cutting-edge programme comprising sector-specific venture builders and venture studios that will develop new tech startups. The programme aims to onboard more venture builders to support founders with viable ideas to validate products, and establish product-market-fit, turning ideas into successful businesses. Once successful startups graduate from Initiate, they are eligible to join the next programme, Access.

Access is the name of Hub71’s recently revamped Company Building Program, where startups at Seed to Series-A receive comprehensive support packages from up to AED250,000 worth of in-kind incentives and AED250,000 in cash for equity. In addition, high-performing startups can receive a top-up of up to AED250,000 in exchange for additional equity after one year. Startups that join Access enter a entrepreneurial community where founders can benefit from an extensive network of over 140 corporations, investment partners and government entities, unlocking the advantages of Abu Dhabi's marketplace designed to nurture the potential of high-growth companies.

Bright is Hub71’s new and exclusive programme, operated by SG Hypergrowth, for top-performing startups from the Access programme to continue their growth journey from Abu Dhabi to worldwide. Hub71 identifies Bright startups based on specific criteria and their long-term commitment to using Abu Dhabi as a base for regional expansion. Startups in Bright benefit from an additional AED750,000 in exchange for equity, expert mentorship, global expansion support and fundraising from leading investors, bolstering their position in their respective industries.

In response to the global tech talent shortage and demand for specialised skills, Hub71 is implementing a new strategy through its talent network, which has grown 13 per cent in the past year. In collaboration with top universities and other organisations, Hub71 is creating opportunities for students and graduates, including hosting talent sessions at universities and events like multiple youth activation sessions at COP28 UAE with Hub71 partners, Mubadala Investment Company and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), to bridge the gap between academic learning and real-world startup experiences. Hub71 is also looking beyond the UAE for promising talent. In partnership with the Abu Dhabi Residents Office (ADRO), 129 Golden Visas were issued in 2023 for Hub71 founders, granting long-term residency to innovators, their families and employees.

In 2024, Hub71 aims to expand the number of Hub71+ specialist ecosystems dedicated to advancing technologies in critical sectors where startup innovation has the greatest potential. In supporting Abu Dhabi’s economic vision, Hub71 will be pivotal in building a diverse pool of capital to enable startups to capture investment through initiatives like Tech Barza, Fundraising Roadshow and VC Meets. The funding will allow startups to pursue international growth through Hub71’s mutually beneficial cross-border partnerships, which are set to grow this year in markets including South Korea, Singapore and Pakistan. Abu Dhabi's Hub71 supports the UAE's technological advancements, helping the nation reach its goal of becoming an Entrepreneurial Nation by 2031.