Dubai’s Support for Tech Startups Lauded by Pakistani AI Firm Founder
Arslan Javed, the founder of Pakistani property platform Graana and generative AI firm Musavir, had a unique opportunity to showcase his work to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. Reflecting on his experience with Dubai Future Foundation’s accelerator program, Javed expressed admiration for Dubai’s efforts to boost tech startups.
Musavir, Javed’s generative AI firm, was selected as one of 30 startups for the accelerator program under the theme ‘the future of generative AI in media and communication,’ out of a pool of 650 applicants. Javed had the chance to present his work to Sheikh Hamdan, demonstrating the cultural sensitivity of Musavir’s AI-generated images. The Dubai Future Accelerators program aims to foster collaboration between startups, private entities, and the government to tackle predefined challenges. This initiative positions Dubai as an attractive destination for startups, offering a citywide testbed for innovative technology.
Javed commended the intelligence behind the program, emphasizing its effectiveness in bringing together talented individuals from around the world. He highlighted the diverse composition of his cohort, with companies representing around 50 nationalities, including the United States and Europe. Musavir was the sole representative from Pakistan.
Benefits of Dubai’s Support
The accelerator program included various training sessions and workshops, providing valuable networking opportunities in the region. Javed noted that some of Musavir’s initial business-to-business (B2B) clients were a direct result of the program. He spoke highly of the foundation’s support, emphasizing its positive impact on the learning experience. Javed urged startups in Pakistan to keep an eye on the Dubai Future Foundation’s website, citing the significant benefits of participating in the accelerator.
Lessons for Pakistan
When asked about Dubai’s efforts to support tech startups, Javed described them as “exhilarating.” He praised the leadership for its commitment to enabling technology and startups, envisioning Dubai as a hub comparable to Silicon Valley in the Middle East. Javed suggested that Pakistan could draw valuable lessons from Dubai’s initiatives, especially in the area of online payments. He emphasized the importance of simplifying the process for startups and the younger generation to establish businesses, open bank accounts, and facilitate online payments.
Musavir’s Contribution to AI
Musavir, as an image generation platform, allows users to input text prompts and generates corresponding images. Javed highlighted its capability to produce high-resolution visuals suitable for marketing content, ad campaigns, billboards, and displays. The platform’s real-world applications extend to designers, architects, and content creators. Musavir is expanding its offerings to include video generation in the near future.
Dubai’s Unmatched Facilities
Headquartered in Dubai, Musavir specializes in image generation for the Gulf market, understanding the culture and delivering tailored visuals. Javed emphasized the strategic advantage of being based in Dubai, providing access to top companies and venture capitalists. He praised the facilities in Dubai, stating that they offer opportunities beyond imagination.
Setting Up in Dubai
Javed provided advice for Pakistani startups looking to establish a presence in Dubai, suggesting that the business development and sales team be based in Dubai while other functions remain in Pakistan. He recommended registering tech companies in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), citing its innovation hub, subsidized co-working spaces, and unprecedented facilities. Javed acknowledged the ease of the digital registration process, with no paperwork involved.
Dubai’s Incentives for AI Companies
Dubai offers a 90% subsidy on licenses for AI companies, with a registration cost of approximately $1,500 per year. Javed highlighted Dubai’s commitment to becoming a leading nation in AI by 2031. He advised staying informed about regulations and compliance requirements, acknowledging that keeping up with these aspects could be challenging but necessary.
Despite being based in Dubai, Javed emphasized Musavir’s commitment to training AI models for neglected markets, including South Asia, China, and other regions overlooked by major AI players. The firm’s dedication to inclusivity aligns with Dubai’s vision of fostering global collaboration and innovation in the tech startup landscape.
News source: brecorder