Go East: Global players lock eyes on Middle East’s thriving Tech markets

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As one of the world’s most influential startup events, GITEX Future Stars is a good barometer to measure the state and trend of the startup ecosystem in Emerging Venture Markets. This year, one trend has been very prominent. The increased influx of international startups, investors, and key stakeholders to the region.

This influx of global interest comes as a result of continuous synergy between public-backed initiatives and innovative venture building by the private sector. Abu Dhabi has lowered the startup business set-up cost by 71% to just AED 1,000 (US$ 272), creating more business avenues for foreign investors and new businesses to explore. The launch of the 5- and 10-year Golden Visa has garnered headlines around the world, as the UAE becomes one of the first such countries in the region to offer this.


There’s a greater impetus to the vast digital ambitions of the region, as the UAE’s Projects of the 50 steers new initiatives to enhance innovation, digital economies and the 4th Industrial Revolution applications. The UAE also recently unveiled the United Global Emirates campaign to attract foreign investment and talents to position UAE as the world’s most dynamic, competitive, and innovative business hub.

The return on investment of these high-impact initiatives reflects well on this year’s edition of Gitex Future Stars as it observes the largest international presence ever, with startups arriving from over 60 countries and first-time participation from major global players like Startup Sweden, Serbia Creates Tech, AWS, Fashion Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, The World Bank, alongside expansive startup pavilions from Italy, France, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Poland, Pakistan, Bahrain, to name a few. The UAE, Middle East, and African startup ecosystem are also playing a vital role in the event with a strong showing of over 200 startups from these regions, among its roster of 700+ startups at the event.

Together all these reforms and initiatives have led Dubai to be ranks the ecosystem on the top of the most-funded and most-active ecosystems in MENA as observed throughout the year and as recently recorded in MAGNiTT's August 2021 Venture Investment Report. With so much positive movement and activity in the startup ecosystems around the region, it is no wonder that global VCs, startups, incubators, accelerators, and government-led associations are eyeing the region as the next big growth hub.

Some of the startups at the event include: Stripe, the world’s most valuable fintech unicorn worth US$ 95 billion. MACA – creators of the world’s first flying hydrogen-powered F1 vehicle or carcopters as they’ve dubbed it; BeFC – inventor of the multi-award-winning eco-friendly battery created out of paper & enzymes; Roboze – the first time in the region, showcasing the latest 3D printing technologies capable to process super polymers and composite materials to be used in the most extreme conditions; Dawex – creating the innovative technologies for data exchange platform; Immoshoot – first time in the region, first real estate platform powered by AI and Machine Learning to recognize properties through signage; SkyDrive – drone cargo delivery ready to take off by 2025; Krilltech NanoAgtech – developing bio-nanotechnology to increase crop productivity in an economical and sustainable manner; Augmented City – developed a unique Spatial Computing platform to quickly produce, tag and prototype city-scale locations via AR and Cloud.

With GITEX Future Stars’ highly curated investor program, there’s no better show to discover disruptive tech startups, explore the latest trends in investments, and network with over 400 top investors & VCs flying in from 30+ countries. Investors, this is your week to discover tomorrow’s unicorns.

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