Dubai — an oasis for startups

Dubai — an oasis for startups

Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Wed 9 Aug 2017, 9:46 PM

Last updated: Thu 10 Aug 2017, 11:06 PM

Dubai is no stranger to superlatives. City of gold, land of architectural wonders, tallest, grandest, most expensive. the list is quite long, and getting longer. Add 'startup hub' to it.
If launching a venture of your own is your dream, Dubai's looking for you. The emirate has been ranked at #29 in world in the Startup Cities Index, which ranks 85 of the world's most dynamic startup cities.

The ranking is divided into five categories: Startup Ecosystem, Salary, Social Security & Benefits, Cost of Living, and Quality of Life. According to the index, Dubai tops the world on Income Tax Score, bagging 5 out of possible 5 on the parameter (no surprises there since we pay zero income tax), but also scores quite well on Safety (4.72) and Healthcare (4.54).
Dubai beats some of the other, more established startup ecosystems, leaving behind New York, London and Tokyo too. The ranking is produced by furnished apartments platform Nestpick with the objective to discover which cities offer the best quality of life for those employed in the startup industry.
For those looking for a job in a Dubai startup, an experienced techie takes home an average of Dh280,000 ($76,000), which is the 14th best pay in the world for such professionals.
Dubai has proved to be an innovation hub for the ever growing population, richly complemented with entrepreneurial skills and with strong support from the government, the young are indeed encouraged to bring in ideas and see classic startup stories like Careem, yallacompare, Fetchr, Talabat and many more.

Popular names like Antoine Massad, chairman of AJM International and chairman Beco Holdings; Patrick Vosgimorukian, managing partner of Digital Spring Ventures; Tarek Amin, CEO, Digital - Adline Media Network and Founder, Dubai Angel Investors have given a thumbs-up and agree that Dubai has already emerged as a top startup destination.
Massad — an angel investor in startups — focused on alternative and non-traditional investments, with a heavy focus on the technology sector, opines that the UAE has witnessed a phenomenal growth in startup industry, both Abu Dhabi and Dubai offer world-class infrastructure, ease of business, strategic location and favourable legislations, these have worked wonders and the result is here for everyone to see. The country has been home to some of the top venture capitalists, also a lot of initiatives have been taken by the government and accelerators to boost the startup industry in the region."
Similalry Vosgimorukian, endorsing the positive sentitment, said: "Powerful regional tech start-up hubs can only emerge once a core ecosystem takes root. The three interlinked components required for such an ecosystem are the capacity to attract a strong tech/entrepreneurial talent pool from the region, availability of VC funding, and favourable government policies, regulations and laws. Existing hubs such as Silicon Valley, London and Berlin clearly demonstrate how these components work together to create the ideal environment for innovation and growth. In the first half of 2017, the Mena region recorded a healthy $290 million of funding across 88 deals. The fact that most of these deals were driven by Dubai based venture capitalists investing in Dubai based companies, often with regional footprints, such as Careem, Fetchr and Bayzat, reflects the UAE's success in creating a vibrant start-up ecosystem through focus on developing these three components. However, making this position sustainable over time will require further progress on all three fronts.
The numbers shared by Magnitt through the Q1 Funding Report Card 2017 shows that in the first six months of this year UAE continued to take the lions share including 30 disclosed deals valued at $230 million. The top 5 deals alone have a combined value of more than $200 million all having their headquaters in Dubai. Amin, said: "Dubai is definelty emerging as a regional hub for startups, its strategic position as a crossroad city in the world of emerging markets makes it a strong candidate for startups looking to setup shop in the region. There are a growing number of incubators and accelerators, such as in5 and the recently announced Techstars Accelerator in partnership with Ginco. The UAE leadership emphasises the importance of a knowledge-based, highly productive and competitive economy, driven by entrepreneurs. Showcasing clear government backing cemented by a growing infrastructure to facilitate a vibrant startup culture."
Bana Shomali, co-founder of ServiceMarket. also thinks that with companies such as ServiceMarket, Careem and Fetchr successfully launching from Dubai, it is not surprising that the city is emerging as a start-up hub in the region. Dubai attracts top talent from all over the world and businesses find an ideal environment to prosper given the stability and growth experienced in recent years. We are witnessing huge growth in the e-commerce industry and this bodes very well for ServiceMarket. As people become increasingly comfortable using online platforms to make their lives easier, more people understand the benefits of using our marketplace.
The Nestpick results show that Singapore calculated as the best place for those looking to work in startups. The Asian hub scored well in terms of healthcare and safety and it's offerings of a vibrant startup scene, boosting career opportunities. Ömer Kücükdere, managing director Nestpick said: "Certain cities may offer bigger paychecks, but after considering taxes and living expenses, the return may not be so high. Similarly, professionals should consider quality of life: will vacation days be adequate to visit home? Is healthcare as accessible as you would like it to be?". We believe that time taken researching potential employers should not overshadow understanding the best cities in which to work. We hope that our study helps those looking to work in startups identify the cities which may best suit their needs." —

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