DFF, Microsoft to empower tech startups

By Khaleej Times


SOURCE: Khaleej Times - DFF, Microsoft to empower tech startups

M12, Microsoft Corp's venture fund, held the M12 Innovation Summit: Leveraging Data and AI, at Dubai Future Foundation (DFF)-Area 2071 in demonstration of the company's steadfast commitment to supporting entrepreneurship and economic growth in the UAE.

During the M12 Innovation Summit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Dubai Future Foundation's AREA 2071 and Microsoft also came into place. In the presence of Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, a MoU was signed by Abdulaziz Al Jaziri, Deputy CEO, Dubai Future Foundation and Sayed Hashish, general manager, Microsoft Gulf, which entails cooperation between the two parties in promoting entrepreneurial opportunities for Area 2071 startups.

Belhoul said: "Strategic partnerships and collaborations with leading global companies such as Microsoft is a testament to the Foundation's efforts in attracting global talents and practices that creates an environment which encourages and welcomes innovation and creative thinkers to further position Dubai as a hub for innovation and a testbed for emerging technologies"

The collaboration led by Netways, a Microsoft AI Ventures Lab Partner; also calls for Microsoft to provide a comprehensive mentorship programme and support for fledgling businesses in achieving global impact. Participating Area 2071 entrepreneurs will also receive a reduction in entry costs to Microsoft technology platforms, as well as guidance in strategy, marketplace access and best practices from Microsoft Gulf's One Commercial Partner team. Powered by Microsoft, Netways will also create an "AI Accelerator" program for tech startups that leverage Artificial Intelligence solutions, to support their growth and accelerate their go-to-market efforts.

"We are excited to hold the M12 Innovation Summit here in the UAE." said Sayed Hashish, regional general manager, Microsoft Gulf. "Microsoft has long been a key player in promoting startup and SME success and growth in the region, and in helping businesses innovate by attracting global talent to the UAE. Our aspiration is to connect our leading global customers with some of the brightest stars in our global startup ecosystem. Their track-record of working with some of the world's biggest brands, as well as local and national government entities, speak for itself. These innovators come to you with the raw power of the intelligent Microsoft Cloud behind them - the power to engage citizens and customers, empower public servants and employees, optimise operations and reinvent products, services and business models."

Abdulaziz Al Jaziri, Deputy CEO at Dubai Future Foundation said: "AREA 2071 is a physical and digital space and ecosystem purposefully designed to deeply connect corporates, governments, startups, investors, entrepreneurs' and the public in order to co-create the future. It further seeks to create the right ecosystem to attract global minds, foster talents as well as create an environment that encourages collaboration"

AREA 2071, a purpose-built ecosystem to design and co-create the future by deeply connecting corporates, governments, startups, investors, the youth and the public. As such, attracting unique talents from around the world to solve for that goal is high on AREA 2071's agenda. Through facilitating access to global talent to its leading government and corporate X- labs, such as M12's portfolio companies, AREA 2071 is fulfilling one of its goals to be a global hub for the biggest experiments and the brightest talents.

At the summit, M12 was accompanied by handpicked startups in which it has invested, or that have participated in Microsoft ScaleUp; which is a program designed for Series A startups and offers access to sales, marketing and technical support. These included agolo, AIRMAP, Consensys, Contrast Security, docswallet, KrypC, Talview, Witty Parrot and InCorta. These companies have delivered digital transformation to entities around the world, offering solutions that include content summary and analysis for multimedia content; aerial-drone management; blockchain architectures; AI-based cyber-security; digital wallets; analytics solutions for complex business data; cloud-based knowledge platforms; and real-time psychometric testing for HR departments via video interviews.