Abu Dhabi media and entertainment hub twofour54 among 10 most active investors in the region according to Forbes Middle East
14 Oct 2017
twofour54, Abu Dhabi’s media and entertainment hub, has been acknowledged as having one of the best eyes for an investment in the region.
The free zone has been ranked 10th on the Forbes Middle East’s list of the 50 Most Active Investors – and the second highest accelerator. The list recognises backers who are spotting entrepreneurial talent in the Arab world and helping them thrive through funding.
The list was revealed at the recent Forbes Middle East Innovators event in Dubai, which brought together the region’s most active and game-changing start-ups and investors.
Today, twofour54 has 12 active direct investments, where it has put capital into promising digital ventures in return for equity. All the firms have a presence at twofour54 and range from e-commerce and e-learning to artificial intelligence and gaming.
twofour54 is also investing in start-ups indirectly via digital media accelerators such as Flat6Labs, which has been running at twofour54 since 2014.
Through its investment strategy, twofour54 aims to strengthen the media and entertainment industry in Abu Dhabi, create jobs, facilitate the transfer of knowledge and develop talent.
Maryam AlMheiri, CEO of the Media Zone Authority – Abu Dhabi and twofour54, said: “twofour54 is the perfect home for digital start-ups in this region as we have the talent, the expertise and the experience all on one campus.”
“This region is bursting with promising start-ups that just need the right support to realise their full potential.”
“We are fully committed to supporting such enterprises as it encourages innovation and creativity – key contributors to a healthy, diversified economy.”
Among the firms that have received investment from twofour54 is cross-platform gaming start-up Unnyhog.
A graduate of Flat6labs’ first cycle in 2015, Unnyhog is introducing technological innovations to gaming design, such as UnnyWorld, a huge cross-platform multiplayer online game based in a fantasy world.
In addition to providing funding, twofour54 works with entrepreneurs and early stage firms such as Unnyhog to develop their business plans and also provides ongoing expertise, support and mentoring.
Pavel Ignatov, Founder and CEO of Unnyhog, said: “We are incredibly grateful to twofour54 for their support, which has helped us realise our dreams. They have an incredible eye for an entrepreneurial opportunity and we are lucky to be part of their talented, growing community.”
Unnyhog has been so successful that it attracted the attention of YCombinator, one of the world’s leading digital accelerators. YCombinator not only invests in start-ups but also invites them to Silicon Valley for three months to hone their business.
Another recent investment success story is Narrativa, a technology company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to translate data into easy-to-understand content.
twofour54 led a group of large media companies and business angels from Europe, the USA and the UAE that invested in the firm, making it one of the first AI start-ups to receive funding in the UAE.
The investment will go towards team expansion, sales and marketing, and technology development to further enhance the evolution of Narrativa’s AI technology.
Among the other twofour54 investments are Silkroad Images, Mumzworld, Falafel Games, Jawaker, PopArabia, T-Break Media, Akhtaboot, and The Luxury Closet.
The Forbes Middle East Innovators event also saw the release of the Top 100 Start-ups in the Arab World list, which comprises those start-ups that have championed the most innovative ideas and received the most external funding in the last year.
The list includes a number of start-ups based in twofour54: The Luxury Closet (No. 6), Mumzworld (No. 8), Falafel Games (No. 25), Lamsa (No. 52), Washmen (No. 63), and Collectionair (No. 94).
Maryam AlMheiri said: “We are very proud to be home to six of the most exciting start-ups in the Arab World.
“This reflects the incredible ecosystem that we have built at twofour54 and the importance that we place on the value that creative industries can bring to business and society.”
“These companies range from animation to e-commerce, illustrating how a wide range of companies can benefit from our sympathetic philosophy, a like-minded network of facilities and industry expertise.”
“We welcome everyone, from big international movie studios to young, local start-up businesses, and we support and nurture all of them.”