AstroLabs, an entrepreneurship platform, launched the first Google-partnered tech hub in the MENA region in Dubai’s DMCC Free Zone. AstroLabs offers technology-based startups a space for collaboration, mentorship and business licenses for UAE operations. Additionally, AstroLabs Dubai’s partnership gives budding entrepreneurs access to Google for entrepreneurs’ global network and resources.
Locally, Louis Lebbos and Muhammed Mekki founded Astrolabs Dubai and have been working with entrepreneurs since the hub’s soft launch in April. Currently, AstroLabs Dubai is working with 42 startups across 15 different industries. More than 25 percent of AstroLabs Dubai members are women.
“Welcoming AstroLabs Dubai, the only Google-partnered tech hub in the MENA region, to the DMCC Free Zone is a proud moment for us,” said Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive Chairman, DMCC. “This initiative will provide disruptive tech entrepreneurs with the right environment to further drive technology and expertise in the region, and further support Dubai’s bid [to become] the global center for innovation.”
The space provided by Astrolabs Dubai includes a Google for Entrepreneurs mobile device development lab to test their apps on several devices, along with conference rooms, a “coding cave”, and a coffee boutique. “I want to reiterate how important it is to have an open and inclusive community,” said David Grunwald, senior manager for Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe, Middle East and Africa. “A space like this, with access to a mentorship community, to content and to programs, doesn’t guarantee success but it does increase your chances of success,” Grunwald added.
Founder Muhammed Mekki expressed his wish for entrepreneurs coming out of Astrolabs Dubai, saying, “Dubai is interesting but the potential is much larger than even [that of] the region. We have 27 different countries where the founders are coming from. We’re looking at Astrolabs Dubai, as [it is] based in Dubai, but we want to attract the worlds best and to serve the world.”
When asked to elaborate on what successful startups have stemmed from Google for Entrepreneurs, Grunwald said, “There are dozens of successful startups that have come out of Google for Entrepreneurs; we are waiting for our first unicorn, but I expect it to happen.”