Abu Dhabi launches Dhs520 million ‘Hub71’ - GulfToday

Abu Dhabi launches Dhs520 million ‘Hub71’


A new platform to support high tech startups has launched in Abu Dhabi. Reuters

ABU DHABI: A new platform to support high tech startups has launched in Abu Dhabi. The Dhs520 million ‹Hub71› was launched on Sunday by Sheikh Khalid Bin Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and Chairman of the Executive Committee.

He also announced a new Dhs535 million fund, to invest in technology businesses established in Hub71, which raises the total government investment in the Abu Dhabi tech sector to more than Dhs1 billion.

Hub71 was established by the government to further underpin the Emirate›s status as a vibrant destination of digital transformation, innovative initiatives and high-tech entrepreneurs in collaboration with key global technology companies.

The new platform is a key initiative of Ghadan 21, the Government’s economic accelerator programme announced last September by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Commenting on the announcement, Jassim Mohammed Buatabh Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, said, «Abu Dhabi has proven itself as a place where innovation can succeed and inspire. Through the Abu Dhabi Government’s economic programs and plans, we’re doubling down on our efforts to make Abu Dhabi a global beacon for technology and innovation.” As part of the initiative, the Dhs535 million fund will be administered by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, to invest in startups and venture capitalists, VCs, at Hub71.

Starting 28th April 2019, the fund will co-invest with VCs in Hub71 based tech start-ups through a government matching scheme, as well as invest in first-time fund managers to support their establishment and growth in the Emirate. Hub71 is also offering fully subsidised housing, office space and health insurance for seed-stage tech companies. For more established tech ventures, 50 per cent subsidy packages will be available. For the first time, Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 will bring together three key pillars that are essential for the success of Abu Dhabi’s tech ecosystem — capital providers, business enablers and strategic partners. Mubadala Investment Company, Microsoft and SoftBank Vision Fund are founding partners of this new initiative, working in close collaboration with Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, to create a dynamic business environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State and ADGM Chairman, said, «We are excited that Abu Dhabi Global Market is the anchor and home for Hub71. Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 is about setting a foundation for early and growing tech companies who seek and recognise the immense opportunities in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and wider region.

«As a regulator and business enabler, ADGM provides the ideal platform to augment Hub71’s interconnected global ecosystem. We will continue to deliver valuable business access and tools, supported by progressive regulatory systems, to enable start-ups and entities to conduct business with ease, and position Abu Dhabi as their home.» The Hub71 launch was attended by members of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, officials, and representatives of strategic partners and project supporters from leading international companies.

Meanwhile, SENAAT has announced that it has achieved steady revenue growth in 2018 to reach Dhs16.3 billion, a 3.5% increase over the previous year (2017 revenue: Dhs15.7 billion). More notably, EBITDA increased to more than Dhs2.5 billion in 2018, a 20% increase compared to 2017, reflecting margin enhancement realised by capitalising on market opportunities and through cost control initiatives implemented across the Group.

 These outstanding results complement the sustained growth in the company›s industrial assets portfolio which reached Dhs27.3 billion at the end of 2018, representing a compounded annual growth rate of 15.5% since SENAAT’s inception in 2004. The company continues to invest to develop assets, increasing SENAAT’s contribution to Abu Dhabi’s industrial asset base.

In the last quarter of 2018, SENAAT successfully issued a Dhs1.1 billion (US$300 million) Sukuk with a 7-year tenor dual listed on the London Stock Exchange and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange. The new Sukuk had strong investor demand both locally and internationally, enabling the issue to be 8.7 times oversubscribed. The Sukuk was competitively priced, with a fixed rate of 4.76% per year, underpinned by investment grade ratings of «A3» by Moody’s and “A” by Fitch. These ratings are the first to be assigned to SENAAT by Moody’s and Fitch and have also been assigned to the Sukuk itself.

Dr. Mohamed Rashed Al Hameli, Chairman of SENAAT, applauded the strong financial results for last year and said, In 2018, SENAAT has continued to successfully deliver towards supporting Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.