DIFC reveals unicorn and scale-up venture studios as innovation launchpad

Strategy to attract the best minds and companies globally to Dubai
DIFC reveals unicorn and scale-up venture studios as innovation launchpad

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) announced the launch of the world’s first venture studio platform exclusively focused on ubiquitous finance and digital asset technologies. The initiative is a key part of DIFC’s efforts to achieve the goals of its 2030 strategy by attracting the best minds and companies from around the world to Dubai by providing them with all the necessary support to develop, test, and launch new start-ups, scale-ups, and corporate ventures on an unprecedented scale, time to market and quality.

To power this vision, DIFC is launching a dedicated unit called the Studio Launchpad, which is supported by an international group of venture building experts, digital asset pioneers, and emerging technology strategists.

Venture studios are innovative organizations that proactively build and invest in start-ups and help them actively achieve success with their own internal capabilities. There are over 730 active venture studios around the world. Over 50 percent of them launched in the past 5 years. The rate of growth among corporate venture studios is even higher. New ventures that launch from studios experience 30 percent higher company success rates and about 5 percent make it to unicorn status according to research published by the Global Startup Studio Network.

With this initiative, Dubai will become the leading hub for venture building in MEASA and join cities like San Francisco, New York, Berlin, and Paris. Over the next 5 years, over 20 studios will set up in the DIFC and are expected to launch over 200 new ventures of which over 100 will be scale-ups and 10 will gain unicorn status. Together they will create over 8,000 innovation jobs in Dubai and attract over AED 2 billion in venture capital.

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC


Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC said: “We see great potential to leverage the venture studio model to accelerate the creation of scale-ups and unicorns from Dubai that will contribute over-proportionally to new job creation and economic development. DIFC is building an ecosystem from the ground up that will support studios and founders with everything they need to be successful and reimagine virtually every aspect of the financial services value chain to help realize Dubai’s ambitions for the digital era.”

The Launchpad also supports fundraising and scaling of new ventures by providing resident venture studio operators with access to a global network of potential customers, entrepreneurs, investors, and subject-matter experts, all underpinned by a progressive regulatory environment and world-class infrastructure.

DIFC has broken ground on a new 150,000+ sq. ft. purpose-built facility that will house the Studio Launchpad team who will work alongside corporate sponsors, investors, and the new ventures they co-create.

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