In 2021, Flat6Labs, one of the MENA region's top seed and early-stage venture capital firms, partnered with ADQ, one of MENA’s largest holding companies based in Abu Dhabi, for the launch of a seed and early-stage funding opportunity for startups: the ‘Flat6Labs Ignite’ Program.
Flat6Labs Ignite offers cash funding ($100k-150k), strategic mentorship, office space, entrepreneurship-focused business training, subject matter one-to-one sessions and a multitude of perks and services provided by partner entities. Select startups are eligible for follow-on funding ($200k-500k).
Ryaan Sharif, General Manager, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, shares more about the Ignite initiative and what it offers to regional startups and entrepreneurs.
Why is Abu Dhabi the right location for global tech companies?
The Abu Dhabi Government has shown a strong commitment to building the technology ecosystem in the emirate, prompting the increased entrance of private sector businesses and improved technology adoption.
The emirate has also made it easy to open a business, while providing support to entrepreneurs from idea to Series C funding and beyond, all within a safe and sophisticated legal environment.
Additionally, Abu Dhabi’s cosmopolitan location provides access to a strong, diverse talent pool. Its population is very young, dominated by Gen Zers who are known to be heavy technology adopters with a moderate risk appetite, making them more prone to becoming entrepreneurs.
Looking at the bigger picture, we can see that 60% of investment funding for startups in the MENA region was given to projects based in the UAE in 2019. Moreover, the UAE has had plenty of success stories, from ride-hailing app Careem, which was acquired by Uber for $3.1bn, to online retailer Souq.com, purchased in 2018 by Amazon for $560m
How will Flat6Labs contribute to Abu Dhabi's startup ecosystem growth?
Flat6Labs aims to be a leader in both providing seed/pre-series A funding, while building a robust, fully inclusive seed-stage program that will guide the entrepreneur in their development journey.
We are also working to bridge the gap between Ideation and Venture Rounds. Today, we are seeing a lot of established venture capital with series A/B ticket sizes but not much funding at a larger seed ticket size/pre-series A.
Flat6Labs will also bridge into the corporate sector. With the Flat6Labs Ignite initiative, we aim to leverage ADQ’s portfolio to identify synergistic value for both the startups and corporates in the portfolio. Through the initiative, we also aim to work with other private sector players to collaborate in terms of championing PoCs and Projects with the startups that we invest in.
How will Flat6Labs foster new opportunities for entrepreneurs, and open doors to entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi?
Flat6Labs will leverage its regional footprint, track record and global network in securing opportunities abroad and will do the same locally in collaboration with ADQ and their associated portfolio companies of which they are a holding company to over 80+ entities that play a pivotal role in driving the Abu Dhabi economy. A Champion will be identified for each corporate, to promote and find opportunities within the company’s portfolio.
Collaboration with other supporting entities is always key to building any startup ecosystem, therefore we aim to build bridges with the entities that are already supporting the ecosystem such as the Khalifa Fund, startAD, Plug and Play etc.
What kind of business growth opportunities will you encourage or expect will be developing in the coming years?
Our ability to invest, to begin with, will be fairly sector agnostic. Nevertheless, we will look to develop the following areas of interest as we progress from cohort to cohort in the following sectors:
- Energy & Green Tech
- Logistics and Transportation
- Food & AgriTech
- Other sectors:
- Fintech & Payments
- ICT & Software solutions
- Sustainability Solutions
- Online media
- Gaming & Entertainment
- Travel tech & hospitality