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in5 start-ups note 25% funding growth in 2023 as Dubai continues to nurture homegrown innovation

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  • Incubator demonstrates continued support for start-ups across in5 Tech, in5 Media, in5 Design, and in5 Science
  • in5 returns to Step 2024 with 10 of its most innovative enterprises and international partners from TECOM Group’s collaborative ecosystem
  • Responding to the need for sustainability solutions in the UAE, in5 is the Execution Partner of Dubai Holding’s Innovate for Tomorrow challenge

In a testament to Dubai’s entrepreneurial credentials and robust investor confidence in the city’s pro-business environment, TECOM Group PJSC’s incubator in5 has reported remarkable growth in 2023, with funding raised by start-ups since its inception increasing by 25% during the year.

Announced on the side-lines of the Step Conference 2024 held in Dubai on 21-22 February in strategic partnership with Dubai Internet City, the surge in funding, which reached AED 3 billion last year, is indicative of growing interest in the city’s homegrown enterprises, catalysed by government strategies to enhance Dubai’s position as a global innovation capital conducive to high potential enterprises.

“Start-ups are the inherent problem-solvers we need to unlock sustainable growth for our future generations,” said Majed Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President at TECOM Group PJSC, on behalf of in5. “There is global stakeholder acknowledgement about the innovation, resilience, and creativity with which start-ups can disrupt and redefine the future economy, and in5’s recent track record reaffirms its vision to mitigate roadblocks for the world’s most enterprising futurists. As an essential pillar of entrepreneurship in the region, in5 will continue to nurture our cohort of entrepreneurs and strengthen the pathways towards fulfilling the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda ‘D33’.”

in5’s priority remains to nurture a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports the future development of the local, regional, and global economy through four dedicated verticals for the technology, media, design, and science sectors.

Steady growth

Supporting Dubai’s vision to nurture homegrown innovation, in5 has incubated almost 900 start-ups since its inception. Annual growth in its ecosystem is particularly evident in the technology sector, with in5 Tech – the incubator’s tech-focused vertical that has a base at Dubai Internet City – noting a 13% annual increase in its number of active start-ups to 270 in 2023.

With innovation centres at TECOM Group’s Dubai Production City and Dubai Design District (d3), respectively, in5 Media and in5 Design also demonstrated continued support for entrepreneurs during the year.

In collaboration with Dubai Science Park, TECOM Group’s vibrant community for the life, energy, and environment sciences, in5 launched a science-focused vertical to mark its 10th anniversary in June 2023. in5 Science facilitates entrepreneurship and investment for science-based start-ups in line with the Dubai Economic Agenda ‘D33’, the Road to Net Zero by 2050, We the UAE 2031, and National Food Security Strategy agendas.

Building the future

in5 is presenting 10 of its most innovative enterprises at Step Conference 2024, including cloud-based business process management platform BitAffix, sustainable oil and gas procurement platform ReflowX, online thought leadership service Writefully, e-learning provider Arabiatee, and proptech ecosystem Estaie, among others. As TECOM Group’s diverse ecosystem steadily nurtures cross-disciplinary collaboration, the incubator is also hosting start-ups from Luxembourg and Poland following Dubai Internet City’s recent memorandums of understanding with Luxembourg Trade and Investment Office and Polish Investment and Trade Agency.

A regional entrepreneurship enabler dedicated to delivering globally impactful innovation, in5 is Execution Partner for Dubai Holding’s ‘Innovate for Tomorrow’ challenge to address critical sustainability challenges in the UAE.

“As a company that places sustainability at the forefront of our operations, the Innovate for Tomorrow challenge provides an inclusive platform focused on driving more sustainable consumption and production practices here in the UAE,” said Huda Buhumaid, Chief Impact Officer at Dubai Holding. “We are pleased to partner with TECOM Group’s in5 incubator to nurture a better future for all by attracting global innovators to implement scalable solutions.”

The winner and runner-up of the Innovate for Tomorrow challenge will receive a comprehensive awards package, including access to in5’s supportive environment, resources, and mentorship pathways, as well as a nominal cash prize for each. The winner will have the exclusive opportunity to implement their solution through a four-month pilot programme at Dubai Holding. Applications can be submitted by clicking here before 31 March.

Founded in 2013 to address the world’s most pressing needs through homegrown talent, in5’s success stories include buy-now-pay-later platform Tabby, which recently achieved unicorn status; Detectiome, which launched its artificial intelligence-powered multicancer early detection test ‘Revonco’ in October; and regional music streaming giant Anghami.

TECOM Group has contributed to Dubai’s economic ambitions for over two decades through strategic, sector-focused districts and innovative business solutions. Its portfolio includes Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Production City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai International Academic City, Dubai Science Park, Dubai Design District (d3) and Dubai Industrial City.