DIFC launches world’s 1st Studio Launchpad for Ubiquitous Finance ecosystem

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial center in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has launched the world’s first venture studio platform exclusively focused on ubiquitous finance and digital asset technologies.

The initiative is a key part of DIFC’S 2030 strategy, which includes attracting the best minds and companies from around the world to Dubai by providing them with all the necessary support to develop, test and launch new startups, scale-ups and corporate ventures on an unprecedented scale, time to market and quality.

The Studio Launchpad, which is supported by an international group of venture building experts, digital asset pioneers and emerging technology strategists, is designed to attract and engage a consortium of leading startup and corporate venture studios.

Venture studios are innovative organizations that proactively build and invest in start-ups and help them actively achieve success with their own internal capabilities. There are over 730 active venture studios around the world. Over 50 percent of them were launched in the past 5 years.

According to research published by the Global Startup Studio Network, new ventures that launch from studios experience 30 percent higher company success rates and about 5 percent make it to unicorn status.

This initiative will enable Dubai to become the leading hub for venture building in MEASA and join cities like San Francisco, New York, Berlin and Paris. In the next 5 years, over 20 studios will be set up in the DIFC and are expected to launch over 200 new ventures, of which over 100 will be scale-ups and 10 will gain unicorn status. They will create over 8,000 innovation jobs in Dubai and attract over $544 million in venture capital.

Essa Kazim
Essa Kazim
Governor – DIFC

“DIFC is already home to the largest financial and Fintech ecosystems in the MEASA. Launching the first global Venture Studio Launchpad is a core pillar of our vision to put DIFC at the center of the digital transformation of the financial sector in the UAE and globally, reflecting the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. We see great potential to leverage the venture studio model to accelerate the creation of scale-ups and unicorns from Dubai. DIFC is building an ecosystem from the ground-up that will support studios and founders with everything they need to be successful.”

Benefits of the Studio Launchpad

  • The Studio Launchpad streamlines the company-formation process and fast-tracks the development of new companies that will underpin DIFC’s quickly developing “Ubiquitous Finance” ecosystem.
  • The Launchpad also supports fundraising and scaling of new ventures by providing resident venture studio operators with access to a global network of potential customers, entrepreneurs, investors, and subject-matter experts, all underpinned by a progressive regulatory environment and world-class infrastructure.
  • A first-of-its-kind Research Living Lab will be part of the Launchpad offering, and it will drive leadership and hands-on research in this fast-evolving space, with the aim of opening new doors and producing data and insights that can help shape existing and future business models, laws, and regulations.

DIFC has broken ground on a new 150,000+ square feet purpose-built facility that will house the Studio Launchpad team who will work alongside corporate sponsors, investors, and the new ventures they co-create. Every aspect of the design encourages the kind of spontaneous interactions that build community, create partnerships and drive innovation.

The “Ubiquitous Finance” innovation ecosystem and Studio Launchpad were developed by DIFC in partnership with Dubai-based venture studio Enhance Ventures and Silicon Foundry, a leading Silicon Valley-based innovation advisory group.

Related: DIFC co-hosts 5th Dubai World Insurance Congress to shape sector’s future