For international startups, the UAE provides a gateway to markets across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. The Middle East alone has a population of over 450 million, an enormous potential market for budding entrepreneurs with innovative ideas.
Growth is at the heart of Abu Dhabi’s Hub71, where entrepreneurs from every sector and across the world find all the resources and support they need to thrive in the market and beyond. During the earlier stages, venture building gives startups the push to get their idea off the ground. Together, the right venture builder and innovation ecosystem can unlock global growth opportunities for startups.
The power of venture building
Venture building firm Modus Capital unlocks value for startups across Egypt, the UAE and the US, creating global market opportunities for ambitious startups. With offices in New York, Cairo, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Modus acts as a safety net for entrepreneurs, supporting them through the different phases of their life cycle, using local market know-how and human capital to enable growth.
In 2021, Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s technology ecosystem, partnered with Modus Capital to create a unique proposition for global startups called Ventures Lab, a venture building program designed to enable entrepreneurs to build and scale innovative ideas into successful startups. Ventures Lab assists founders in creating minimum viable products (MVPs) and provides access to a team of entrepreneurs and industry experts, as well as unlocking a USD 80m venture capital fund and facilitating regional market access. Female founders, UAE nationals and specialists in FinTech, Direct-to-Consumer, HealthTech and EdTech receive priority.
Hub71 shares Modus Capital’s passion for nurturing startups. With an aggregate valuation of startups valued at USD 1.59 billion, and close to 1,000 jobs created since its inception in 2019, Hub71’s thriving technology community leapt at the opportunity to collaborate on an Abu Dhabi-based initiative to support ambitious early-stage startups.
“Ventures Lab acts as your co-founder,” explains Kareem Elsirafy, co-founder and managing partner at Modus Capital.
Modus Capital began in New York as a venture building platform designed to help startups break through stagnated growth, achieve their next rounds of funding, and facilitate acquisitions. After building a reputation as a high-value creation team in the US, Modus decided to return to the MENA region.
“We came back to see if this operational model would work here,” explains Elsirafy. “There’s tons of great talent in the MENA region, but not enough people who have gone from ideation to exit. That’s what drove us to build a venture builder in the UAE.
“Certain critical skills are still underdeveloped in this region,” explains Elsirafy. “The difference between a venture builder and an incubator, accelerator or traditional VC is the human capital. Venture builders provide more human capital.”
The regional opportunity
With a young MENA population of over 578 million people, including around 100 million in Egypt alone, the regional opportunities for startups are limitless. For foreign startup founders looking to capitalize on the MENA opportunity, the challenges lie in navigating cultural and regulatory differences as well as different consumer behaviours. This is where Hub71’s Ventures Lab comes in.
“The only way companies can grow is getting access to more markets. The only way to overcome that problem is by creating a network of venture builders. We have teams in the US as well as in Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia – giving access to the region’s biggest markets,” says Elsirafy. “We have venture building teams on the ground that understand the local ecosystem of each market, meaning we provide a true soft landing for scaling businesses.”
“Hub71 as an organisation is super forward thinking and super innovative. Our vision is to support each other’s growth through Ventures Lab and launch further programs.”
For ambitious entrepreneurs, Ventures Lab takes the risk out of launching new ventures and expanding into new markets more rapidly. Elsirafy explains: “Together we’re creating value across the entire ecosystem. We’re doing this because we want to support entrepreneurs with something of substance. The differentiation is that we provide funding, plus people, plus expertise.”
To find out more about joining Hub71’s Ventures Lab or any of its other programs click here, and download Hub71’s Impact Report below.