Abu Dhabi ranked MENA’s top ecosystem for nurturing startups

The report highlights key players in Abu Dhabi tech ecosystem, including Mubadala, ADQ, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office and startAD

UAE Climate Tech Forum in Abu Dhabi last year featured scores of startups. (Getty Images)

From developing new permutations for online payment to addressing food security and climate change, Abu Dhabi has turned into the region’s most fertile greenhouse for tech startups.

A new report by San Francisco-based Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network ratifies the phenomenon that has become evident in a daily flow of product and funding announcements from fledgling companies in the UAE capital.

The Global Startup Ecosystem Report identifies Abu Dhabi as the fastest-growing startup ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa region, measuring a 28% growth rate between July 2021 and December 2023.

The Silicon Valley data tracker also highlights key players in Abu Dhabi that are nurturing the startup cradle, including Mubadala, ADQ, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), startAD, and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

Collaborations with the sovereign wealth funds and other UAE institutions have facilitated a soft-landing for startups in Abu Dhabi from around the world, providing them with access to capital and commercial opportunities, the report says. As a result, Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 community now hosts more than 315 startups that have collectively raised $1.5 billion, the report says.

The GSER, analyzes data from over 4.5 million companies across more than 300 entrepreneurial innovation ecosystems. Abu Dhabi’s ranking jumped 15 spots compared to the previous year, based on $284 million in total early-stage funding and $1.06 billion in total venture capital funding from 2019 to 2023.