Tech Park at Masdar City to position Abu Dhabi as an innovation hub for start-ups

Wednesday 20 March 2019
Abu Dhabi - MENA Herald:

Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s flagship sustainable urban community, has launched Tech Park, a new destination for start-ups focused on technology, sustainability and the digital economy.

The strategic hub will house companies receiving funding and mentorship through the Catalyst, the Middle East’s first start-up accelerator specializing in clean technology and sustainability, as well as provide a base for research & development and other enterprises operating in the sector.

Yousef Baselaib, Executive Director for Sustainable Real Estate at Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), said: “The launch of Tech Park marks an important milestone in Masdar City’s development. As a sustainable urban community with a rapidly growing clean-tech cluster and business free zone at its core, we are delighted to welcome the addition of Tech Park, the first destination of its type focused on innovation in the digital economy and sustainability.”

The working population at Masdar City today exceeds 4,000 with around 600 companies now operating out of the city, from global corporations such as Siemens, Honeywell and Lockheed Martin, to homegrown enterprises and freelance entrepreneurs.  

Overlooking Masdar Park, Tech Park is an eco-friendly cluster of offices, hot desks and workshops made from recycled shipping containers. Current tenants include Safe City Group, a local developer of turnkey solutions for smart and safe city projects, De L’Arta, a UAE skincare brand whose products are made from sustainable and locally sourced ingredients, Solva Technologies, Mana Ventures and Al Hakeem Advanced Engineering Services LLC.

Besides offering a fashionably alternative work environment to young businesses and entrepreneurs, the Tech Park’s shipping containers meet Masdar City’s strict sustainability standards, having significantly lower embodied energy costs than regular offices.

Also a tenant, the Catalyst hopes to attract 30 more start-ups to Tech Park by the end of 2021, as part of its ongoing programme to incubate at least 12 new homegrown and international business ventures per year.   

Plans announced today to host the UAE Clean Tech Challenge, a global business plan competition for clean-tech start-ups, are expected to attract more businesses to Masdar City. The UAE Clean Tech Challenge will take place in November.

“Masdar City is the natural home in Abu Dhabi for innovation across the widest spectrum of sustainability solutions,” said Masdar’s Yousef Baselaib. “Tech Park allows us to build on the city’s foundations in sustainable urban development by providing access to the knowledge, services and capital all innovation-focused start-ups need to get to the next level – from within a thriving community in the sustainability capital of the UAE.”

“As development continues to gather pace at Masdar City, as more residents choose the city as their home, and as more businesses set up operations here, a genuine innovation ecosystem is taking shape,” Baselaib continued. “Tech Park is the entry point for homegrown innovation start-ups aspiring to be the multinational companies of the future, as well as a collaborative space for entrepreneurship in the new digital economy, undoubtedly a growth sector for the UAE and the region as a whole.”

Today’s Tech Park unveiling was attended by dozens of representatives from government and the private sector, including partners in the Abu Dhabi Innovation Platform, a web-based collaboration aimed at streamlining access to information and funding for innovation start-ups in Abu Dhabi.

Partners in the initiative, jointly led by the Catalyst, Abu Dhabi Global Market and Krypto Labs, include Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, Tawazun, StartAD of NYU, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, the UAE Space Agency, Abu Dhabi Municipality and Sandooq Al Watan, as well as Masdar and Mubadala Investment Company.

“Through Tech Park, we can offer our start-ups space to grow,” said Cinar Kurra, Chief Executive Officer of the Catalyst, a joint venture between Masdar and BP relaunched at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week last year. “Then after three years, when the businesses have reached critical mass, we can help them find a permanent home at Masdar City, where they can continue to access the city’s R&D facilities and award-winning business services of the Masdar Free Zone.”

Presentations on De L’Arta and Solva Technologies, two UAE-based companies already receiving support through the Catalyst, were made to VIPs attending today’s Tech Park launch, as well as on six other enterprises undergoing evaluation as part of the Catalyst’s 2019 funding cycle: Pure Energy, Volts, Fenbits, Mouse 2, E-FUEL, and OSIRIS.

Pure Energy is a virtual power plant aggregator that aims to optimise renewable energy trading; Volts is a smart energy storage system that can be used instead of diesel generators; Fenbits is marketing its own autonomous device that collects refuse from lakes, rivers and the sea; Mouse 2 is a developer of a wearable 3D mouse technology; E-FUEL is designing a digital fuelling platform to improve the efficiency of supply chains; and OSIRIS is a super-long-range surveillance system equipped with AI and machine-learning capabilities.

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