Aldar Properties launches ‘Aldar Scale Up’ programme for PropTech startups – News


Up to five PropTech startups will partner with Aldar for pilot projects following the conclusion of the programme

Aldar Properties has announced the launch of its corporate innovation programme, Aldar Scale Up, in partnership with startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by its partner Tamkeen.

The virtual market access will provide a gateway to tangible growth opportunities, build strong networks, and validate global PropTech startups providing the latest cutting-edge real estate technology to enter and grow in the UAE market through pilot projects with Aldar and other leading industry players in the region.

The inaugural edition of the programme will run virtually over a four-month period, at the end of which 10 startups will have the opportunity to pitch to a selection committee and up to five startups will be awarded pilot projects with Aldar. Startups will provide innovative and sustainable solutions in the real estate sector such as effective energy management, the development of smart cities, and the protection of biodiverse ecosystems. Opportunities to secure pilot projects with other UAE companies will be available for entrepreneurial ventures during the pitching process.

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, will also be joining the programme selection committee. PropTech startups selected for Aldar Scale Up will automatically be shortlisted for Hub71’s Incentive Program, which offers more than $400,000 worth of equity-free subsidies including up to 100 per cent free housing, health insurance and WeWork x Hub71 office space for up to three years. By joining Hub71, startups will become part of a growing community of entrepreneurs which include more than 75 startups and over 30 partners, further enabling better access to market capital, talent, and the business and regulatory environment.

Maan Al Awlaqi, executive director, Strategy and Transformation, Aldar Properties, said: “Fostering a culture of innovation internally at every level of our business helps us create intellectual and practical progress at Aldar towards a better customer experience and lifestyle. This encompasses both product ideation and enhancements and further leads to improvement in processes and UX experiences. The Mena region is gaining significant strides in cultivating a startup culture and harnessing homegrown talent, with a record $1 billion dollars invested in startups in 2020.”

“Total funding is up 13 per cent from 2019 while later stage deals increased by 52 per cent, according to Magnitt’s 2021 Venture Investment Report. This demonstrates the increase in demand for such deals, and the importance of the programme we are launching today. For its part, the PropTech sector seems to be finally gaining steam globally and is revolutionising the landscape. As this narrative evolves, it is important that companies remain agile by tapping into emerging trends and investing time and resources in property technology,” he said.

“The Aldar Scale Up Programme is a good fit to our innovation lens as it provides a unique platform which connects promising PropTech startups with companies and equips them with the tools to scale their businesses and grow in Abu Dhabi. We look forward to reviewing the submissions for the programme and seeing what the applicants have to offer,” he added.

Speaking on the announcement of the programme, vice provost for Entrepreneurship at NYUAD, and MD of startAD, Ramesh Jagannathan, said: “Infrastructure and construction programmes are known to have a direct link to economic growth, job creation, and reduction of poverty. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, in order to keep pace with global GDP growth, the construction sector has to spend close to $57 trillion by 2030. That is more than 60 per cent of what has been spent in the last two decades. Interestingly, 40 per cent of this spend could be recouped through improved productivity by digitalisation, and embracing currently available technologies.”

“50 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban settings now, and that number is expected to grow to 67 per cent by 2050. Through fostering Abu Dhabi’s Innovation agenda, startAD and Aldar are excited to usher in the best global PropTech startups that will have the unique opportunity to make a real impact on the future of the global construction sector,” he added.

Aligned with Aldar’s innovation and sustainability mandate, the Aldar Scale Up Programme will also upskill Aldar business units to build collaboration with global startups and implement innovative and sustainable real estate technologies through pilot projects. The launch of the Aldar Scale Up Programme complements Aldar’s existing innovation initiatives including the Manassah competition, Aldar’s first retail start-up programme.

Applications for the Aldar Scale Up Programme are open and will close on February 27, 2021.

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