Dubai Airshow 2021 today 7th March, 2021 announced its new dedicated startup event, VISTA, which will be the ultimate 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 startups 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 startups will also be present to inspire and guide aspiring startups.
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 startups. 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 startups 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 startups. Saudi Arabia’s Sanabil Investments recently partnered with the early-stage venture fund, 500 Startups, to support startups in the region. 100 startups 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 startups in the region.
Commenting on his startup’s participation in VISTA, Co-founder of SARsat Arabia, Ahmed Alzurabi, said: “We are delighted to be taking part in Dubai Airshow 2021 and have the opportunity to display our technologies to the wider industry. We look forward to receiving high-level guidance from significant mentors in the field, to support us in achieving our goal of using cutting-edge Earth Observation satellite technologies to help improve life on Earth.”
Mohamed Shawky, the Founder and CEO of GeoDrones Aerial Services startup in Dubai, said: “Our startup aims to provide superior quality drone commercial services as we see a great potential in drone technologies. We have a wide range of innovative ideas that are key for achieving a major transformation in the aerospace industry and we look forward to presenting these innovations to key experts in the field.”
Maximillian Buerger, Founder and Managing Director of Aviationfly startup, added: “Exhibiting at the Dubai Airshow was an easy decision for us – the event will most likely be the largest aviation industry event of 2021 and the meeting point of aviation leaders from around the globe. Aviationfly is a United Arab Emirates headquartered startup, which similar to the Dubai Airshow connects different stakeholders in the aviation industry – our focus being the global pilot training ecosystem. The pandemic has significantly affected our industry but we used it as an opportunity to diversify our activities and are excited to be launching a new platform in time for the event in November.”
Several startups 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 startup 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 startup ecosystem. In 2019, investments in aerospace startups 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 startups, supporting the digital transformation of the aerospace industry.
One of the prominent startup accelerator in the aerospace industry is ATI Boeing Accelerator programme, which invests in and accelerates up to 20 startups a year. The programme targets startups creating sustainability solutions applicable to the UK’s aerospace industry, offering a ₤100k equity investment. Intellegens, a startup that aims to use AI to accelerate innovation in advanced materials, chemicals, and drug discovery, was one of the startups selected for the ATI Boeing Accelerator.
VISTA will include startups from 12 different sectors, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Future Mobility, Software, Space, Aerospace, Material Science, Cyber Security, Defence, Tourism, Robotics, Drones, and Sustainability. The startup hub will provide entrepreneurs with an unrivalled opportunity to connect with investors, partners, and mentors to launch, scale and grow their startups, and bolster the growth of the aerospace and defence industries in the region.