Dubai Airshow launches start-ups event, Vista

DG Staff

DUBAI 8 March 2021: Dubai Airshow 2021 yesterday announced its new dedicated start-up event, Vista, which will be a platform for innovators, creators and market disruptors to display the latest technologies and play a part in accelerating the future of the aerospace and defence industries.

The co-located event will connect start-ups with venture capitalists who are looking for disruptive new entrants that can out-hustle the big players. The event will be attended by national leaders, CEOs, investors, developers, technology disruptors, operators, and other key experts. Successful entrepreneurs from established global start-ups will also be present to inspire and guide aspiring start-ups.

During the 5-day programme, Vista will feature a number of sub-events in partnership with Gothams, a leading accelerator that is helping to build the next generation of aerospace and defence start-ups. Entrepreneurs can take part in pitch competitions where they will be able to present their technologies to industry leaders and investors with the chance of winning some great prizes. They will have the opportunity to get involved in mentorship programmes, workshops, and high-level networking, learn about market trends and receive the best guidance from experts, key decision makers, and global investors. A recent study has shown that start-ups that have helpful mentors and learn from thought leaders have almost four times better user growth and raise seven times more capital.

Despite the prevalent capital-spending curb due to the pandemic, investments by global venture capitalists continued to increase. According to a Magnitt report, Saudi Arabia’s venture capital funding increased by 55% in 2020 reaching $152 million. Saudi Arabia continued its work to increase venture capital funding in 2021, in support of emerging start-ups. Saudi Arabia’s Sanabil Investments recently partnered with the early-stage venture fund, 500 Start-ups, to support start-ups in the region. 100 start-ups are expected to receive $100,000 to accelerate their growth in the region, as a result of this partnership. Moreover, in the UAE, The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has partnered with Microsoft and Plug and Play on a range of initiatives to support technology start-ups in the region.

Several start-ups that launched in the last few years brought revolutionary innovations to the aerospace industry. One example is Heart Aerospace, which will deliver the first ES-19 electric airliner certified for commercial flight by 2026. Heart Aerospace’s mission is to create the fastest, least expensive, and most sustainable mode of regional travel. Another example is Exodus Space Corp, a start-up that aims to transform access to space through creating reusable AI-operated spaceplanes that can take off and land horizontally.

The aerospace industry has undergone an enormous transformation and development, making it one of the most lucrative industries within the start-up ecosystem. In 2019, investments in aerospace start-ups reached nearly $1 billion. Moreover, in Q3 of 2020, the global aerospace company and late-stage venture capital SpaceX invested $1.9 billion in Space Technology start-ups, supporting the digital transformation of the aerospace industry.

One of the prominent start-up accelerator in the aerospace industry is ATI Boeing Accelerator programme, which invests in and accelerates up to 20 start-ups a year. The programme targets start-ups creating sustainability solutions applicable to the UK’s aerospace industry, offering a ₤100k equity investment. Intellegens, a start-up that aims to use AI to accelerate innovation in advanced materials, chemicals, and drug discovery, was one of the start-ups selected for the ATI Boeing Accelerator.

Vista will include start-ups from 12 different sectors, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Future Mobility, Software, Space, Aerospace, Material Science, Cyber Security, Defence, Tourism, Robotics, Drones, and Sustainability. The start-up hub will provide entrepreneurs with an unrivalled opportunity to connect with investors, partners, and mentors to launch, scale and grow their start-ups, and bolster the growth of the aerospace and defence industries in the region.


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