The highly tailored program — comprised of coaching, mentoring, and training — has led to investments of US$10.2 million into 38 promising start-ups, the large majority (68%) of which have been established in the UAE.
Flat6Labs Ignite is a specialised seed program committed to supporting start-ups in Abu Dhabi. The program hosts an intake cycle every six months and has thus far completed four cohorts with the fifth cohort to be announced shortly. Owing to the growing popularity of the program, Flat6Labs has to date received over 4,000 applications from start-ups across the world, with the number of applications steadily increasing by an average of 30% cycle-over-cycle. Testament to Abu Dhabi’s now established status as a global hub for entrepreneurship, 77% of founders applying for inclusion in the program have been based outside the UAE.
“Two years ago, when we partnered with DisruptAD to launch the Ignite program, our mission was to foster the thriving start-up ecosystem in Abu Dhabi. The results now speak for themselves and the work we have done has been bolstered by commendable initiatives by the government that make the city highly attractive to entrepreneurs from around the world. Supported by highly favourable regulation, vast opportunity for securing investment, and unparalleled access to top global talent, entrepreneurs who establish or relocate their operations to the city have the outsized potential to achieve success,” said Ryaan Sharif, General Manager at Flat6Labs UAE. “This combined with the world-class mentorship and critical-stage funding provided by our Ignite program, offers start-ups a proven platform to help them make the leap from disruptors to market leaders.”
Another proof point of the strengths of the program, and the positive impact this has on the startup ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, can be found in the number of jobs created on account of the opportunities made possible to Ignite start-ups. To date, nearly 140 founders have been expertly trained under the program, and these entrepreneurs have gone on to grow their businesses, resulting in the creation of 668 new jobs for highly qualified professionals in the process. To support this momentum, Flat6Labs and DisruptAD have increased the average initial investment in each organisation from US$175K to US$185K with the top performing start-ups, in every cycle, now receiving follow-on funding.
“Funding, while critical, is just one part of the success equation. The reason so many of the start-ups supported by our program, such as Washmen, RemotePass, and YourParts, have gone on to become massive successes is because of the world-class support ecosystem we have created together with our ecosystem partners,” said Sharif. In addition to providing start-ups with mentorships from over 100 industry professionals and exclusive access to a network of nearly 100 venture capitalists and investors, the company has partnered with several government entities and private enterprises to offer exclusive benefits. For example, through its MoU with Wio Bank, Flat6Labs has ensured its start-ups receive priority banking support and easier access to capital, while an MoU with Abu Dhabi Residences Office (ADRO) enables the company to fast-track the golden visa application process for entrepreneurs.
Offering insight into the value his organisation received from its participation in the Flat6Labs Ignite program, Rabih Chaar, CEO at Nadeera said, "We've been in many programs and the Flat6Labs program is unique as it allowed us to build family-like friendships. We received honest feedback and the right mentorship sessions that helped our start-up grow and advance."