Earlier in June this year, the Abu Dhabi government announced its pledge of AED 535 million into Hub71 to stimulate the capital’s startup ecosystem. As part of the programme, the government also announced its offer of a subsidy for entrepreneurs operating out of Hub71 — 100 per cent on housing, office space and health insurance for two years for startups with a maximum of five employees, as well as a 50 per cent subsidy for three for startups with 6-25 employees.
Building on that promise, Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 has partnered with OYO Hotels & Homes — the fast-growing SoftBank-backed Indian startup providing hotels, rooms and other types of accommodation to travellers. The aim of the partnership is to provide accommodation to entrepreneurs in line with the announcement that came earlier.
“Hub71 is designed to support global startups during the most important phase of growth; furthermore, we’re delivering on our promise of building a solid ecosystem based on strong partnerships and collaborations with both international and local players. Through our partnership with OYO, we will offer free leases for startups with up to five employees for two years, and 50% subsidised leases for startups with up to 25 employees for three years.Mahmoud Adi, CEO of Hub71
OYO will provide select accommodation to startups that have been granted Hub71’s Incentive Packages. Evident from the statement issues, OYO will be providing accommodation on the centrally located Al Reem Island, just two kilometres from Al Maryah Island where Hub71's co-working spaces are situated.
As part of the partnership, OYO will be leasing, fitting out and managing residential units for Hub71 residents, providing both furnished and unfurnished units. Earlier last month, as part of Hub71’s Incentive Package, it was announced that WeWork will provide subsidised office spaces from early 2020.
Just a few weeks ago, founder Ritesh Agarwal bought back shares worth $2 million from existing investors, tripling his stake in the company to 30 per cent. The same round also saw SoftBank increase its share in OYO, indicating bullish growth ahead for the startup.
Eagle-eyed readers would have noted the change in OYO’s branding from OYO Rooms to OYO Hotels & Homes — signifying the expansion and growth plans the world's fastest-growing chain of hotels, homes and living spaces is working towards.