Global accelerator Techstars keen to expand, support talent in the region: Gavet

Techstars is on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs.


Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Sat 19 Feb 2022, 4:53 PM

Last updated: Sat 19 Feb 2022, 11:31 PM

The UAE has a huge pool of international talent and has invested to support the sustainability of startups, said Maëlle Gavet, CEO of Techstars, who was recently on a visit to the region.

Gavet, who is extremely bullish about the growth of the UAE’s startup ecosystem, feels that the nation’s “strategic location” in the region has turned a major advantage to attract global players as it actively connects people and brings out sustainable business values to stakeholders. Gavet recently participated in Saudi Arabia’s largest-ever technology event, LEAP, which was held from February 1-3, 2022. The event brought together the global technology community under one roof to tackle the biggest socio-cultural challenges of the world.

Gavet has been named one of the Fortune’s under 40, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company and was on Time Magazine’s list of the Top 25 “ Female Techpreneurs.”

An Entrepreneur at heart, Gavet founded her first business at sixteen and went on to start two other companies. She was also a Principle at the Boston Consulting Group for six years. She authored the widely-acclaimed book ‘Trampled by Unicorns’, ‘Big Tech’s Empathy Problem’ and ‘How to Fix it’. She is currently based in New York City.

Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas — entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone; collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. The accelerator is on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programmes and venture capital funds, accelerator connects startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities.

Techstars has invested in more than 3,000 companies with a combined market cap of more than $179 billion and announced the launch of the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator in 2019, in partnership with Hub71, an Abu Dhabi-based global technology hub led by Mubadala Investment Company,

Techstars currently has programmes organised in Tel Aviv, Dubai, and Riyadh with three programmes in UAE previously and recently concluded accelerator programme in Riyadh.

Gavet’s goal of visit in the region was to meet with key leaders in the Middle East, mainly Saudi Arabia and UAE. “Techstars wants to support all initiatives happening in the region. We are in talks with the government, private companies and other accelerators to understand the right value proposition,” said Gavet. “Our accelerator added 450 companies in 2021and there are plans to add 600-700 companies in 2022.”

Gavet, who is on a mission to support women entrepreneurs, shared that she has seen an increase in the number of women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and come with a solid foundation and strong career experience. “ Our programme focuses on gender diversity and equal opportunities for women, rather than separate opportunities.”

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