Abu Dhabi’s startup ecosystem value soars 28%

UAE capital is the fastest-growing emerging ecosystem in the Mena region

by

Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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A view of Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global technology ecosystem. The ecosystem created $4.2 billion in ecosystem value from Jul 01, 2021 to Dec 31, 2023. — Supplied photo
A view of Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global technology ecosystem. The ecosystem created $4.2 billion in ecosystem value from Jul 01, 2021 to Dec 31, 2023. — Supplied photo

Published: Mon 10 Jun 2024, 6:27 PM

Last updated: Mon 10 Jun 2024, 6:28 PM

Abu Dhabi has ranked as the fastest-growing emerging ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), marking a 28 per cent growth in ecosystem value in the 2024 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network launched on Monday at London Tech Week.

The GSER, powered by the world’s most quality-controlled dataset on startup ecosystems, analyses data from over 4.5 million companies across 300+ entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems. It provides compelling new insights and deep knowledge about startup trends around the world and ranks the Top 40 global ecosystems, emerging ecosystems, and an expanded regional ranking.


As part of Startup Genome’s analysis of the UAE’s capital city, including the growing startup activity at Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global technology ecosystem, the #GSER2024 report found that Abu Dhabi continues to be the fastest-growing emerging ecosystem in the MENA region.

The ecosystem created $4.2 billion in ecosystem value from Jul 01, 2021 to Dec 31, 2023, representing 28 per cent compound annual growth compared to Jul 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2021 time period. Ecosystem value is a measure of economic impact, calculated as the value of exits and startup valuations.


Abu Dhabi’s ranking jumped 15 spots compared to the previous year, landing in the 61-70 group Total early-stage funding between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2023 is $284 million and total venture capital funding for 2019-2023 is $1.06 billion.

Ahmad Ali Alwan, CEO of Hub71, said: “Abu Dhabi’s rise as a leading startup ecosystem in the region is a testament to the opportunities it offers entrepreneurs worldwide. Its favorable environment creates the funding and commercial prospects and establishes the foundation for startups to scale. This is exemplified through Hub71 which has seen its startup community grow over the past five years as more startups identify Abu Dhabi as a launchpad for their global expansion. As the Startup Genome report shows, Hub71 is fulfilling the vision of our leadership to maximize the potential of disruptive ventures that are transforming society with impact.”

The report highlights Abu Dhabi’s key ecosystem players including Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Mubadala Investment Company, ADQ, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), startAD, and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) who are contributing to a favorable operating and regulatory environment and offering unique incentives such as 100 per cent foreign ownership to attract foreign investment and startups into the economy. Leveraging collaborations among these key ecosystem players, Abu Dhabi is facilitating the soft-landing of startups from around the world, enabling access to capital and commercial opportunities. Numerous companies are relocating their global headquarters to ADGM, among them U.S.-based digital asset security firm Andalusia Labs and South Korean blockchain company Neoply. Hub71 hosts a community of over 315 startups that have collectively raised $1.5 billion.

“Thanks to the excellent work of Hub71, Abu Dhabi is one of the rare places where everyone comes together to create a world-class startup ecosystem at an incredible pace,” shares Marc Penzel, Founder & President of Startup Genome. “Whether it’s digital assets, CleanTech, or other fast-growing opportunities, Abu Dhabi should be on the radar of any entrepreneur with outsized global ambitions.”

The GSER is driven by a consortium of representatives from 40+ countries and looks at the current state of startup activity and related investment, providing insights and guidance to public and private leaders on how to foster thriving startup communities — the #1 engine of job creation and economic growth. Contributions from expert thought leaders and local key players further enrich the report’s extensive, evidence-based findings, which are the product of over a decade of Startup Genome’s independent research and policy work.



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