By Sam Bridge
Hub71 launches first Microsoft Reactor program, as more companies join incentive package
Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s tech ecosystem, has launched the region’s first Microsoft Reactor program as it further expands its ecosystem to 35 innovative start-ups with the announcement of 17 winners of the Hub71 Incentive Package.
As part of its partnership with Microsoft, Hub71’s Microsoft Reactor program will be a centre for technical learning and knowledge-sharing where developers and start-up founders can connect with the local community.
The Microsoft Reactor program will provide a curriculum to help these professionals strengthen expertise around emerging topics such as cloud services and Artificial Intelligence, a statement said.
This comprehensive program is available to Hub71 residents and the broader community free of charge. Microsoft for Startups will also operate out of Hub71, which is designed to support startups as they build and scale their companies.
With the announcement of 17 winners of the Hub71 Incentive Program, Hub71 is now supporting 35 innovative start-ups with up to 100 percent free housing, office space and health insurance for two years for seed companies and 50 percent subsidizes for emergent companies, for three years, worth around AED3.5 million ($950,000).
Ibrahim Ajami, head of ventures at Mubadala Capital, said: “The 17 winning startups joining Hub71 will make waves across multiple industries, adding diversity to Abu Dhabi’s tech economy from around the world and creating new jobs in the emirate.
"To further support the success of Hub71’s community of innovative start-ups, we’re pleased to welcome the Microsoft Reactor program to Hub71; providing new skills and enabling companies to materialise their best innovations yet.”
Hub71, which opened its program to the public last October, received 348 applications from 47 countries – with the UAE, US, Lebanon, India and Egypt forming the top five countries.
41 percent of applicants said they would move their teams to Abu Dhabi if they were selected – validating the emirate’s position as a regional tech hub.
Start-ups that applied to the Hub71 Incentive Program were predominately in the sectors of fintech, artificial intelligence and e-commerce. Of the start-ups that applied, 20 percent are led by Emirati nationals and 37 percent are female-led companies. Collectively, the 17 winning startups look to raise approximately $60 million in capital, and to double their full-time employees.
Hub71 has now reopened the Hub71 Incentive Program and reports that it will remain open all year-round.