Hub71's head of strategy said that startups are more agile than traditional firms and can adapt quickly to face economic headwinds
UAE startups will have to adapt their business models in the face of changing consumer habits in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Ahmad Alwan, head of strategy and corporate development at Abu Dhabi’s Hub71.
Launched in 2019, Hub71 is a hub designed to support tech startups by helping them with access to capital, market opportunities and a favourable business environment. It is backed by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala, with partners including Microsoft, SoftBank and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
In an interview with Arabian Business, Alwan said the “challenges of the global pandemic mean that startups need to adapt their models”.
“Customer behaviours have adapted to the new reality and so startups looking to enter a marketplace, or create a new one, need to align their business models with new customer expectations.”
In this regard, however, Alwan said that startups are perhaps better suited to survive than larger, more traditional firms.
“Startups are by their nature more agile than larger corporates who are more set in their ways,” he said. “They also have a deep well of creativity and innovative thinking to draw on to address these new needs and capitalise on these opportunities.”
Additionally, Alwan said that startups that focus on technology – particularly cloud services – will be the “best positioned” to beat the economic headwinds.
“Clearly venture capital investors will pursue opportunities in verticals that are growing and have proved to be resilient,” he added.
Although Alwan did not comment on how long he expects the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to last, he said that Hub71 believes that it is already witnessing the “green shoots of recovery.”
“If the hunger, determination and focus of the start-ups we support is anything to go by, the future’s bright,” he said.