The contracts align with the UAE’s smart and sustainable cities ambitions as the shift to Web 3.0 accelerates globally.
Aldar Properties announced on Monday that five tech startups had been awarded pilot projects as part of the second cycle of its equity-free accelerator programme, Scale Up, alongside strategic partner Majid Al Futtaim Communities.
The five selected businesses specialise in the rapidly evolving technologies of spatial and artificial intelligence, blockchain, NFT applications and data analytics, and align with the UAE’s smart and sustainable cities ambitions as the shift to Web 3.0 accelerates globally.
Developed in partnership with startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global startup accelerator, powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, this year’s programme focused on attracting international startups with technologies that have the potential to reimagine the future of the real estate industry and shape the open metaverse.
The five businesses selected for pilot projects by Aldar include LlamaZOO, a spatial business intelligence platform enabling enterprises to create real-time digital twins of places, spaces, and things; Database, an Augmented Reality outdoor media company, codifying and monetising digital property rights in the metaverse; and Geotwin, an advanced computing and research startup that operates a SaaS platform and offers a low-risk and cost-efficient way for organisations to test and evaluate strategies and investments.
Sook Space is a platform that provides access to flexible, sustainable, affordable, and digitally-connected spaces. Bookable by the hour, and in multiple locations, Sook enables big and small businesses to experiment, connect with their communities, and thrive. It was awarded by Aldar and Majid Al Futtaim Communities.
However, Majid Al Futtaim Communities awarded Metaverse Architects, an industry-leading development, investment, and advisory firm in the Metaverse sector.
Following a rigorous process of assessing over 300 applications from 69 countries, ten startups were accepted to take part in a 4-week sprint accelerator where they received curated training sessions, worked with dedicated Innovation Champions within Aldar and Majid Al Futtaim, and benefited from access to global experts and introductions to regional industry leaders.
The participating startups have raised an average of $632,000 in funding and generated an average annual revenue of $619,000. All ten startups pitched their solutions to a selection committee for pilot projects with Aldar and Majid Al Futtaim Communities.
Commenting on the Aldar Scale-Up Programme, Maan Al Awlaqi, Executive Director, Strategy and Transformation, Aldar Properties, said, “The real estate technology startup landscape has grown over 300% in the past decade with an estimated 8,000 PropTech companies identified, and we are seeing significant demand for PropTech platforms in the UAE, particularly with the global shift towards Web 3.0.
“Despite an overall decline in global VC funding activity during the first quarter, the value of deals across the Mena region has continued to grow rapidly, with nearly 70% of 2021’s total funding value achieved during the first three months of 2022, indicating significant appetite to invest in startups.”
Shadi Al Azzeh, Managing Director, Majid Al Futtaim Communities, said that advancements in tech will impact mixed-use communities and reduce inefficiencies in neighbourhoods. “We expect 2022 to eclipse this, with advancements in the metaverse, sustainable mindsets, the dominance of Gen Z, and new communities dominating the real estate technology landscape. The possibilities for real estate here are limitless, and the true opportunity lies in bridging the built world with the metaverse’s enhanced digital world. At Majid Al Futtaim, innovation and digital transformation are critical strategic pillars. We are excited to partner with the selected pilot projects and work alongside them through exploring the metaverse or connecting our communities through digital touchpoints. “
startAD Managing Director Ramesh Jagannathan commented: “10 startups were accepted into the programme, and in just 4 weeks, 6 commercial pilot projects have been awarded by Aldar Properties and Majid Al Futtaim Communities. This demonstrates the commitment and pace of digital transformation in Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s real estate industry. 60% of these cutting-edge technologies in Web 3.0, NFTs and the Metaverse entering the Scale Up programme are getting tangible opportunities to redefine the way people experience real estate, and are enhancing the role UAE will play in the future of the global economy.”
Aldar Scale Up Programme, which was launched in February 2021, is one of many programmes Aldar has in place to support the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy. The company has developed a framework to drive forward innovative practices, with a focus on three strategic areas: corporate innovation, incubation programmes for startups in complementary sectors, and investment in new tech-enabled businesses.