Dubai isn’t typically on the radar of tech companies scaling up globally, but it should be. As Deliveroo and others have found with their recent expansion into Dubai, the market is quite attractive and is relatively untapped.
At AstroLabs, we have established a soft landing pad for tech companies to get set up in Dubai and get connected to a community of likeminded entrepreneurs. AstroLabs Dubai is the region’s only Google-partnered tech hub, welcoming over 80 startups from around the world in our coworking space.
Here are the reasons why we believe all scaling tech companies should strongly consider opening up a Dubai office as part of their global expansion.
- Easily establish a company
Opening up an office in another country is usually a very costly, slow, and painful process which requires a team of lawyers. In Dubai, expats can set up a business entity that has full foreign ownership and no limits on capital repatriation within the many free zones available. Our partners, the DMCC, operate the largest free zone in the UAE with over 12,000 companies from around the world. Startups can come to Dubai and get a company set up quickly in weeks, not months, without a team of lawyers.Since there is a drive to pull more startups to Dubai, you can take advantage of a variety of subsidies and support available. For example, at AstroLabs, we facilitate startups to get a DMCC free zone license at no cost (it’s included in the monthly membership fee) and we waive minimum capital requirements to open up a company.
- Zero percent personal and Zero percent corporate tax
In addition, the company you establish can operate in the UAE without corporate tax and employees are not subjected to personal income tax, making the financials much more attractive than other European or US destinations.
- Immediately co-locate your global team
After you have a company established, you can sponsor renewable three year residencies in the UAE for yourself and your team without the long immigration process you may experience elsewhere. Immediately bring assemble a team from anywhere. If your coders are in Eastern Europe and India, and the rest of the team is in the US, you can bring everyone together here in Dubai within weeks. Bring your whole team together for higher efficiency.
- Access attractive markets
Dubai is a hub for accessing emerging markets, with about two billion people residing within a four hour flight radius. Served by the best airlines in the world, the UAE is the optimal location to base a team focused on expanding services to emerging markets. The Middle East and North Africa market alone is comprised of 200m connected, underserved consumers. And spending power is strong with the nearby countries comprising the GCC boasting a higher GDP than the US.
- Robust funding landscape
With over 500m in VC funds available to startups in the region, Dubai has emerged as the de-facto base for all startup fundraising activity in the Middle East. Since there are relatively fewer startups competing for this money, there is a great opportunity to access follow-on funding to fuel an expansion in the region. Investors such as MEVP and Wamda Capital have recently announced large funds targeted at the region’s tech startups. Scale-ups usually have the best chance at raising capital in the region since the ecosystem is earlier stage and investors look for traction before committing funds.
- Great quality of Life
Dubai is an ultra-modern, beach-side city with first class services across all industries. Living in Dubai is quite comfortable. Because of this, you can attract amazing talent to relocate to Dubai from all over the world. LinkedIn recently announced that Dubai is the number one city in the world for talent inflow, and this is partly because of the first world services and lifestyle coupled with emerging market opportunity.There is little doubt that Dubai is the regional hub for technology startups, drawing in the best entrepreneurs from across the Middle East and North Africa. Now that more and more companies are understanding the power of a Dubai presence, the city is establishing itself as a global hub. At AstroLabsDubai, we have founders from over 30 countries and have facilitated startups to get set up in Dubai from all over the world. Many startups have already experienced how easy it is to set up a company, build a team, and access markets and investors in Dubai – we suggest you consider this market for your startup.