Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) is a unique opportunity for technology companies to gain unparalleled access to the staff, resources and expertise of Dubai’s government organizations.
This isn’t an accelerator in the traditional sense - we won’t teach you how to write a business plan or build an MVP; what we accelerate is the relationship between companies and government. Instead of taking months to access relevant stakeholders, expect to develop a positive relationship with the government of Dubai in days.
The aim of the program is to provide a dynamic environment where companies and entities can explore new opportunities to deliver transformative technologies and services, culminating in companies receiving a MOU (or other commercial agreement) to deliver a funded pilot project after the program ends.
We don’t receive or expect any equity in return for your company’s participation.
The net program begins on October 1st and ends on November 29th. Applications for our third cohort close on August 7th.
While we consider applicants on a case-by-case basis, companies should have already built and launched their core technology, and be able to demonstrate traction and/or substantial use cases. While we encourage companies to approach the program with an open mind and the desire to develop new technologies and services in collaboration with government entities, the program is not open to early-stage startups that are still at the ideation or MVP stage.
From experience, the program is best suited to technology companies that have raised Series-A funding, or employ a number of staff beyond the core founding team. While DFA offers an exciting and unrivaled opportunity, it’s important that a company has the resource to commit to the program, without it being a concern for founders or investors.
We need commitment from at least two participants per company to attend full-time for 9 weeks, but ideally a team of three or four people would attend in order to make the most of the opportunity. Business development, project management and the ability to rapidly prototype ideas (through software development, design and use of our dedicated maker spaces) are key skills required.
For participants committing to the full program, DFA will provide an economy return flight to and from your home country, plus accommodation for the full 9 weeks. We’ll also cover the cost of visa applications for each full-time participant.
If you’re based in the UAE but not in Dubai, we may be able to cover accommodation for full-time participants, but this is subject to availability.
Other team members are welcome to attend several days or weeks of the program as required, however we won’t be able to cover their travel costs or visa applications. We may be able to cover accommodation, but this is subject to availability and can’t be guaranteed.
Since participants will likely be working away from their regular place of work, companies should look to cover living expenses and any other travel costs incurred while attending the program.
Companies must arrange comprehensive medical insurance for all participants - this is a strict condition of attendance, and participants may be asked for proof of cover before traveling to the program.
Finally, every participating company will be required to demonstrate its core technologies in the early weeks of the program. This means that a hardware company should bring some form of their hardware with so it can be tested. If your product is software, participants should be able to not only demonstrate it, but explain it in technical detail.
The IP of any new technologies or processes developed in association with a government entity belong to your company. However, like any commercial agreement, IP and licensing may be a point of negotiation if the entity offers to fund a pilot project.
The purpose of the program is for technology companies and government to explore opportunities and collaborate. In the first and second program, over 70% of companies signed an agreement (an MOU or contract) with a government partner by the end of the program. Many companies also developed a significant network of customers and contacts in the region by participating in the program.
The program doesn’t directly invest in participating companies. However, Dubai Future Foundation - DFA’s parent organization - has an investment fund which might invest in a small number of companies that participate in the program.