Dubai incubator in5 will launch a specialised space to connect investors with startups for funding and partnership opportunities.
The new space is a one-stop-shop for investors entering the UAE market, giving them the chance to explore the local startup ecosystem.
The space will also provide host events, workshops and coaching sessions to nurture the UAE’s future investment landscape.
in5 was launched by the TECOM Group in 2013 as a tech-focused business incubator and counts startups like tabby, Eyewa, Desert Control, GrubTech, Invygo and Ziina among its graduates.
in5, TECOM Group’s enabling platform for entrepreneurs in tech, design and media, has announced the introduction of a brand-new dedicated space to accommodate angel investors, venture capitalists and institutional investors at the heart of the in5 Tech centre in Dubai Internet City.
An extension to in5’s current offerings, the permeant space will enable investors to directly engage startups at in5 for funding and partnership opportunities, enhancing Dubai’s global status as an attractive destination for investment and entrepreneurs. The announcement was made at Step Conference 2022, the largest tech festival in Dubai hosted in strategic partnership with Dubai Internet City.
The first-of-its-kind space provides the growing volume of investors entering the UAE’s business ecosystem a common meeting and working ground to engage one another as well as ambitious entrepreneurs at the heart of a thriving startup community. in5 has always facilitated access to investors for businesses at varying stages of their entrepreneurial journey, from seed funding all the way to Series A fundraising. The addition to the enabling platform’s framework aims to further empower entrepreneurs with unimpeded access to potential investment opportunities and coaching sessions to stimulate growth and innovation.
In recent years, the MENA region has become a hotbed for investment activity, paving the way for greater funding for emerging startups. According to the region’s leading data platform MAGNiTT, MENA recorded $2.6 billion in VC funding in 2021 – the highest the region has ever seen. The UAE was the most active market with startups accounting for 45% of all funding raised across the region in 2021. Supportive business framework, a growing number of startups and its strategic location between the East and West are strengthening the UAE’s appeal among VCs and investors from around the world. Government-led initiatives have contributed to the country’s ranking as the best place to start a new business in the latest Global Entrepreneurship Index, which is likely to further fuel investor interest in MENA.
in5 aims to further enhance the investment climate by boosting investor access to leading startups in its ecosystem. At the end of 2021, in5 startups reached a new milestone by crossing the AED1.4 billion investment mark, a testament to the emirate’s strong position and its enabling environment for promising investment opportunities. The direct investments came through venture capital and angel investors.
More than 500 businesses have been supported by the incubator since its inception, of which a quarter are led and managed by female entrepreneurs—nearly twice as high as the regional average of women-owned SMEs, according to the World Bank, and in line with international standards in places such as Australia, Europe and North America.
Speaking about the latest addition to in5, Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City, said: “Over the past twenty years, Dubai has successfully created a globally competitive business ecosystem and emerged as an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. Comprehensive physical and digital infrastructure and an enabling business framework have cultivated a fertile environment for talent and startups to grow, thrive and innovate, and in5 plays a significant part in providing them a supportive platform from which to launch.
“Facilitating access to funding has always been an integral part of our offerings – it is what enabled our startups reach new milestones and grow regionally and internationally. It is important for us to keep adapting our offerings in step with the evolving global investment landscape, and the latest addition to in5’s key benefits is an innovative solution to continue nurturing the region’s rich and ambitious entrepreneurial spirit.”
The future of funding
Located at in5 Tech – Dubai Internet City, the space offers flexible office solutions to independent investors and VC organisations alike. Common areas and fully equipped meeting rooms will provide members spaces to connect and engage in5 startups as well as peers.
A digitally enabled live feed portal will also report real-time insights and funding rounds to identify investment prospects and aspiring unicorns.
in5 offers a lively calendar of events, including specialised networking events, expert-led keynotes and coaching workshops to nurture a new generation of investors within the region. Even entrepreneurs can benefit from the expert-led training seminars to improve their pitches, seek insightful advice and empower their success.
Writing Dubai’s startup success story
in5 is bringing its near-decade-long expertise and network as one of the nation’s leading incubators to Step Conference 2022 as the main partner for the conference’s Start Track program. It is spotlighting 11 of its leading tech startups, including food-tech disruptor, Grubtech, cloud-based no-code SaaS application, Beezr, as well as a new-age digital sampling platform, Hamples. Emerging businesses and entrepreneurs attending the conference can also make the most of one-on-one advisory sessions from industry experts at the in5 Mentor’s Corner.
A legacy of success
in5 was launched as a tech-focused business incubator before rapidly growing and evolving with state-of-the-art centres supporting tech, media and design startups. Notable startups that successfully secured significant investments through the incubator include buy-now-pay-later platform tabby, which raised approximately AED485 million in the last year and now works with leading retail brands such as Adidas, Ikea and Shein. Sunglasses e-commerce company Eyewa, which secured AED77 million in total funding, has also amassed a significant following for its fast delivery, quality service and roster of brands.
Other innovative players include agri-tech startup Desert Control, which successfully raised approximately AED85 million in its initial public offering (IPO) on Euronext Growth Oslo, a multilateral trading facility operated by the Oslo Stock Exchange. GrubTech raised $13 million in Series A funding round, accelerating its expansion into international markets. Car subscription platform and in5 alum Invygo raised more than AED15 million in several funding rounds, while fintech startup Ziina successfully raised more than AED31 million.