SAN FRANCISCO– Middle East entrepreneurship platform, AstroLabs, announced yesterday the launch of the region’s first Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub, AstroLabs Dubai, at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
With the opening of the facility planned for early next year, AstroLabs Dubai will welcome tech entrepreneurs from across the globe seeking to access high-growth emerging markets. This collaborative coworking space and educational center will be based in Dubai’s DMCC Free Zone, an ideal location for startups to scale their ventures in new markets, with one-third of the world’s population accessible within a four hour flight.
Google for Entrepreneurs selected AstroLabs Dubai as the newest member of its global Tech Hub network, making it the only Google-partnered hub in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Bridgette Beam, Senior Manager at Google for Entrepreneurs, said, “The AstroLabs founders are experienced entrepreneurs who know how to accelerate the growth of early stage companies. We see enormous potential for them to help startups across MENA take their ideas to the global stage.”
AstroLabs has already successfully built one of the largest networks of high-growth startups in the MENA region, amplifying the potential impact of the new tech hub. In the last year alone, AstroLabs’ flagship “Scaling Online Startups” acceleration program trained the founders of over 100 startups in cities across the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon. Alumni of the program have raised over US$ 20 million in funding and created hundreds of jobs in the tech sector across the region to date.
As the DMCC is the UAE’s largest and fastest-growing Free Zone with over 9,000 international members, it is the perfect home for AstroLabs Dubai. The DMCC Free Zone affords startups the benefits of zero taxation and 100 percent ownership of their businesses. Startups based at AstroLabs Dubai will also benefit from subsidized and fast-track company licensing through a single point of contact at the DMCC.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of the DMCC, commented, “We welcome Dubai’s first tech hub to the DMCC Free Zone. Dubai is a city built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs inspired by the strength and vision of the leadership of the Emirate, and projects like the AstroLabs Dubai launch reflect the caliber of startups that make this vision a reality. As these startups grow and flourish we hope to see them join the future powerhouses of large corporates and multinationals destined to see DMCC’s ‘Burj 2020 District’ as their new business address.”
Gautam Sashittal, Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, added, “At DMCC we are constantly enhancing our Free Zone offering to support startups, SMEs and large corporates alike. Bringing the first Google for Entrepreneurs and AstroLabs Dubai collaboration to Dubai and the DMCC Free Zone is exciting and the next natural step in enabling startups to innovate and grow.”
The new AstroLabs Dubai hub will feature an advanced mobile device development lab, co-designed with Google for Entrepreneurs, to enable startups to build apps for the highest smartphone penetration markets globally. The 6,500 square foot facility will be fully flexible with a large training space, feature a bustling café, and will be set on a beautiful promenade overlooking a park. In-house experts in user experience design, digital marketing, and operational optimization will make the space a center of deep subject matter expertise.
AstroLabs Founding Partner, Muhammed Mekki, added, “With AstroLabs Dubai we aim to put Dubai on the global entrepreneurial map as the best base for high-growth startups to access emerging markets and to play a direct role in fostering more successful tech entrepreneurship within the MENA region.”