in5, a Dubai-based enabling platform for entrepreneurs, has reached a new milestone as its startups raised $381 million in investments through venture capital and angel investors.
Located at Dubai Internet City, in5 is home to more than 150 new companies joined since 2020, bringing the total of startups supported by the incubator to 500 and thus reaffirming Dubai’s leading position as an attractive destination for talent and entrepreneurship.
According to the World Bank, a quarter of these small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are led and managed by female entrepreneurs, which is nearly twice as high as the regional average of women-owned SMEs and in line with international standards in places like Australia, Europe, and North America, which all have a high concentration of startups.
Notable startups that successfully secured significant investments include buy-now-pay-later startup tabby, which raised approximately $132 million in the last year and now works with leading retail brands such as Adidas, Ikea and Shein. Sunglasses eCommerce company Eyewa, which secured $21 million in total funding, has also amassed a significant following for its fast delivery, quality service and roster of brands.
Other innovative players include agri-tech startup Desert Control, which raised approximately $23 million in its initial public offering (IPO) on Euronext Growth Oslo, a multilateral trading facility operated by the Oslo Stock Exchange. in5 alum Derq has also made an international impression, partnering with driverless technology pioneer Motional to pilot autonomous vehicles with smart infrastructure in Las Vegas.
“Over the past two decades, Dubai Internet City has evolved from being a hub for international tech companies to one with a thriving community of startups and entrepreneurs that work side by side with global tech giants to develop and export technology globally. We also recognize the pivotal role key partners have played in achieving this milestone, from government departments and international institutions to our steering committee of more than 20 industry experts. Their unlimited support in representing our startups has pushed the entrepreneurship envelope on a local, regional and global scale.”
Dubai’s robust technology ecosystem and world-class infrastructure play a vital role in helping nurture unicorn companies. Careem was acquired by Uber in 2019 for $3.1 billion. Soon after, Dubai-based Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG) and OLX Group merged their Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and South Asia operations, Bayut and Dubizzle, resulting in a business valued at $1 billion.
In 2019, Cisco acquired Voicera, which had initially acquired in5-based startup Wrappup in 2018. Wrappup specializes in using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to transcribe and convert audio recordings into notes. The company was formed in 2015 during a hackathon hosted by in5, and it garnered the attention of the Silicon Valley giant within only four years.