in5 signs series of agreements to boost start-up ecosystem

  • The MoUs were signed with TiE Dubai, TomTom, Gellify and Parsons during day two of GITEX
  • Agreements aim to help start-ups access the connections, technology, funding and corporate partnerships needed for growth
  • The deals were signed on the back of in5 announcing that its start-ups have so far raised a collective AED 1.4 billion worth of investment

in5, an enabling platform for start-ups in Dubai Internet City (DIC), has signed a series of agreements to enhance its range of offerings to start-ups. Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Media City signed the MoUs on behalf of in5 alongside leaders from TiE Dubai, TomTom, Gellify and Parsons at the Dubai Internet City pavilion during day two of GITEX Global.

The agreements were signed with an aim of enhancing the in5 ecosystem by helping start-ups access the connections, technology, funding and corporate partnerships they need to continue their growth journey.

The deals were signed on the back of in5 announcing that its start-ups have so far raised a collective AED 1.4 billion worth of investment from angel investors and VCs.

TiE Dubai, TomTom Middle East and Gellify Middle East are all Dubai Internet City partners, and part of a technology community that is home to more than 24,000 skilled professionals.

TiE Dubai

The first of the four agreements was signed between in5 and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), which was founded in 1992 by a group of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and has been operating in Dubai since 2002.

TiE supports entrepreneurs through education, mentorship, networking and funding opportunities, and the agreement served as a refreshing of relations between the two parties.

Ashish Panjabi, President of TiE Dubai, said, “We’ve been in Dubai since 2002, and have always seen ourselves as members of the DIC community. TiE members are investors, entrepreneurs, start-ups and venture capitalists (VCs), and this is where we see the value-add of TiE in our partnership with DIC, in5 and everyone else in the ecosystem over here.”

Al Suwaidi said, “TiE has been a very important partner with us since the inception of Dubai Internet City, and has been a great partner for in5, with a wide array of services and partnerships as well as the drive for a lot of our business partners coming through their network. They have added a huge value to our ecosystem.”


The second MoU signed on the day, between in5 and TomTom, aims to help in5 start-ups more easily onboard the tech firm’s technology offerings.

TomTom, a Dutch multinational specialized in location technology for consumers, businesses and governments, provides a freemium API stack. While start-ups can begin using TomTom’s tools for free, they have the ability to gradually scale up into paid-for product categories over time as the need increases – a model known as ‘pay as you grow’.

Salim Aqil Baidoun, Strategic Partnership Development Manager at TomTom Middle East, said, “We are mapmakers, providing geolocation technology for drivers, carmakers, enterprises and developers and data, such as maps, live data as traffic, and numerous relevant web and API services and products. Many companies – whether start-ups, private or public sector – come to us to ensure that they have a top-notch, high-end location technology solutions and data supply.

“From that kind of infrastructure perspective, TomTom is partnering with in5 to enable our start-ups to have access to that technology as part of their development stack.”

Al Suwaidi said, “TomTom has a great history of creating very important and critical infrastructure, from a mapping and development point of view. Strategically, we attract a lot of companies from around the world, and we have extended this relationship to our start-ups.”


Gellify, an Italy-headquartered business platform that connects start-ups, corporates and investors, was the third partner to sign with in5 during the event.

Massimo Cannizzo, CEO and co-founder of Gellify Middle East, said, “We work with corporates, providing advisory and digital platform implementation. We work with start-ups, providing our Gellification programme, a sort of acceleration but with a specific flavour. We also work with investors, because we manage an investment fund.”

Under the terms of the agreement with in5, Gellify Middle East will regularly screen in5 start-ups and engaging with those that fit the profile they are looking for in potential investments.

Earlier this year, Gellify Middle East invested in Workfam, an in5-incubated software-as-a-service start-up, after being introduced to it by the incubator.

Al Suwaidi said, “It’s important to highlight the fact that we not only have a relationship with start-ups but we also serve investors and others within the ecosystem. We’ve recently talked about AED 1.4 billion worth of investment raised by in5 start-ups, and this is a very important opportunity for investment companies to witness the huge potential we have here.”


The final MoU signed was between in5 and engineering and construction giant Parsons.

The American firm, which has been operating in the Middle East for over 40 years, will help in5 gain valuable market access to opportunities that would be difficult for start-ups to enter into independently.

Petros Zouzoulas, MEA Innovation Lead at Parsons, said, “We’ve had success in the past in bridging the gap between the start-up world and the real world. We also know that where there is innovation, there is risk, and it’s our responsibility to bring innovation to market without introducing risk to our customers.”

in5 start-ups will have the opportunity to include their solutions as part of the larger value chain offered by Parsons.

Al Suwaidi said, “With a growing entrepreneurial sector in the UAE looking to develop for the region and for the world, I think it is imperative that companies share some of these opportunities with these start-ups.”