Vijay Tirathrai, Managing Director of the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator 5


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Abu Dhabi’s Techstars Hub71 Accelerator program has expressed the confidence of gaining as much as US$15 million from investors for this year’s cohort of 10 startups, in spite of setbacks suffered last year on account of COVID-19.

Since Techstars functions as a venture capital firm and invests in technology startups in areas such as cloud infrastructure, healthcare, cyber security, and communication sectors, this is potentially an opportunity for Indian startups to apply as well.

In addition, the accelerator will be hosting an online mentorship session for its cohort focused on media best practices on April 15 with members of the largest media companies.

“Our first batch of startups raised US$15m last year … we are aiming to raise in the same range this year,” Vijay Tirathrai, Managing Director of the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator and a veteran in startup mentoring globally, told The National.

“Our community has adapted well to the new normal in the post-Covid world … investors and VCs [venture capitalists] are very confident and now more than eager to invest in new innovative ideas and potential teams,” he added.

The accelerator program, which is part of Techstars, the global investment and innovation platform based out of Colorado, US, conducts 50 similar programs in almost 22 countries. Starting 2006, it has already helped more than 2,500 startups with a market capitalization of US$33 billion across several industries, according to the company. 

It has joined hands up with the Emirate’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company and global tech ecosystem Hub71 with the aim of conducting an annual three-month acceleration program that brings ten potential pre-seed stage startups to the capital.

The startup incubator begun its first program in Abu Dhabi in January last year. However, the pandemic forced it to send the founders of the selected startups home, opting for an online setup instead. Funding too took a back seat in the second quarter of last year.

However, in the second half of the year, it has picked up.

From the first cohort, six startups have settled in Abu Dhabi for a permanent home, which include, Aumet, Bonflite, DesignHubz, Educhain, Sensgreen, and Workathlon.

The UAE Startup Ecosystem Has Been Winning Global Popularity

The UAE startup ecosystem has been winning global popularity, raking in venture founders and investors from across the world, as the UAE government and corporates coordinate to attract young innovators, the Arabian Business reported.

The UAE has been gearing up to achieve more momentum in the near future, even as support systems grow, which includes access to technology applications, computing power, talent without geographical barriers, and early-stage venture capital, removing hindrances to entry for startup ventures to the region.

“The reality is that innovation and disruption is happening at a feverish pace [in the UAE],” Tirathrai told Arabian Business in an exclusive interview.

“Today, [the Techstars Hub71] roster of 209 tech founders originate from 43 countries which shows the [rising] global interest in Abu Dhabi’s start up ecosystem,” he added.


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