DIFC's new Studio Launchpad to support SMEs, financial ecosystem DIFC's new Studio Launchpad to support SMEs, financial ecosystem
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DIFC’s new Studio Launchpad to support SMEs, financial ecosystem

DIFC’s new Studio Launchpad to support SMEs, financial ecosystem

Part of its Strategy 2030, DIFC’s Studio Launchpad is designed to attract and engage a consortium of leading startup and corporate venture studios


Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced the launch of the world’s first venture studio platform, Studio Launchpad, solely focused on ubiquitous finance and digital asset technologies. Venture studios are innovative organisations that proactively build and invest in startups and help them actively achieve success with their own internal capabilities.

Studio Launchpad – supported by an international group of venture building experts, digital asset pioneers and emerging technology strategists – is designed to attract and engage a consortium of leading startup and corporate venture studios. Using DIFC’s ecosystem, it will enable collaboration and co-creation between venture studios, corporations, entrepreneurs, investors and academic partners from around the world.

The initiative supports DIFC’s efforts to accomplish the goals of its 2030 strategy by attracting the best talent and companies from around the world to Dubai, providing them with all the necessary support to develop, test and launch new startups, scale-ups and corporate ventures.

According to research published by the Global Startup Studio Network, there are over 730 active venture studios around the world. Over 50 per cent of them launched in the past five years. The rate of growth among corporate venture studios is even higher. New ventures that launch from studios experience 30 per cent higher company success rates and about 5 per cent make it to unicorn status.

With Studio Launchpad, Dubai aims to become one of the leading hubs for venture building in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), joining cities such as San Francisco, New York, Berlin and Paris. Over the next five years, over 20 studios will setup 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 are expected to create over 8,000 innovation jobs in Dubai and attract over Dhs2bn in venture capital.

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, said: “DIFC is already home to the largest financial and fintech ecosystems in MEASA. Launching the first global venture Studio Launchpad is a core pillar of our vision to put DIFC at the centre of the digital transformation of the financial sector in the UAE and globally.”

He added: “We see great potential to leverage the venture studio model to accelerate 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 realise Dubai’s ambitions for the digital era.”

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. The ‘ubiquitous finance’ innovation ecosystem and Studio Launchpad was developed by DIFC in partnership with Dubai-based venture studio Enhance Ventures and Silicon Foundry, a Silicon Valley-based innovation advisory group.

The initiative will support 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 supported by a progressive regulatory environment and top notch infrastructure.

Also part of its offering is the first-of-its-kind Research Living Lab, which will drive thought leadership and hands-on research in this space to open new opportunities and produce data and insights that can inform how to shape existing and future business models, laws and regulations.

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