June, 2024

Abu Dhabi’s Startup Ecosystem Value Soars 28% in Global Startup Ecosystem Report

Abu Dhabi, UAE : Abu Dhabi has been named the fastest-growing emerging ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with a 28% increase in ecosystem value, according to the 2024 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) by Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network. The report was unveiled today at London Tech Week.

The GSER, backed by the most quality-controlled dataset on startup ecosystems, analyzes data from over 4.5 million companies across more than 300 entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems. It provides in-depth insights into global startup trends and ranks the top 40 global ecosystems, emerging ecosystems, and regional rankings.

Key Findings for Abu Dhabi:

  • Fastest-Growing Emerging Ecosystem in MENA: Abu Dhabi continues to lead the MENA region in growth, creating $4.2 billion in ecosystem value from July 1, 2021, to December 31, 2023. This represents a 28% compound annual growth compared to the previous period (July 1, 2019, to December 31, 2021).
  • Significant Ranking Jump: Abu Dhabi’s ranking improved by 15 spots, placing it in the 61-70 group globally.
  • Funding Highlights: Total early-stage funding reached $284 million, with total venture capital funding amounting to $1.06 billion from 2019 to 2023.
  • MENA Rankings:
    • #2 in Performance: Measured by the size and performance of tech startups from exits and funding.
    • #5 in Funding: Assessed by early-stage funding and investor activity.
    • #5 in Talent & Experience: Evaluated based on long-term trends in key performance factors.
    • Top 10 in Knowledge: Judged by research and patent activity.
    • Top 15 in Bang for Buck: Assessed by the average runway acquired from a VC round.
    • Top 15 in Affordable Talent: Measured by the ability to hire tech talent.

The report highlighted key sectors in Abu Dhabi, including FinTech, AgTech and New Food, and ClimateTech, for their talent density, support resources, and startup activity. The Golden Visa and strategic location were also cited as major attractions for startups.

Industry Leaders’ Insights:

Ahmad Ali Alwan, CEO of Hub71, emphasized Abu Dhabi’s conducive environment for entrepreneurs. “Abu Dhabi’s rise as a leading startup ecosystem is a testament to the opportunities it offers. Hub71 has seen its startup community grow, identifying Abu Dhabi as a launchpad for global expansion. As the Startup Genome report shows, Hub71 is fulfilling the vision of our leadership to maximize the potential of disruptive ventures that are transforming society with impact.”

Marc Penzel, Founder & President of Startup Genome, added, “Thanks to Hub71, Abu Dhabi is one of the rare places where everyone collaborates to create a world-class startup ecosystem at an incredible pace. Whether in digital assets, CleanTech, or other fast-growing sectors, Abu Dhabi should be on the radar of any entrepreneur with global ambitions.”

Contributing Ecosystem Players:

The report also credits key ecosystem players, including Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Mubadala Investment Company, ADQ, Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), startAD, and Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED). These organizations contribute to a favorable operating and regulatory environment, offering incentives like 100% foreign ownership to attract startups and foreign investments.

Global Relocation and Community Growth:

Abu Dhabi is facilitating the relocation of global headquarters to ADGM, with notable companies such as U.S.-based Andalusia Labs and South Korean Neoply moving their operations. Hub71 hosts a vibrant community of over 315 startups that have collectively raised $1.5 billion.

The GSER, supported by representatives from over 40 countries, provides a comprehensive overview of startup activity and investment, offering guidance to public and private leaders on fostering thriving startup communities, which are vital for job creation and economic growth. The report’s findings are enriched by contributions from expert thought leaders and local key players, reflecting over a decade of Startup Genome’s independent research and policy work.

View the full report here.

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