UAE Remains a Priority Market for Local Investors

Survey: UAE investors favor FinTech, keep close watch on Artificial Intelligence startups

Press Release

The UAE is among the most important markets for locally-based investors, with 55 percent of them prioritizing it over other global markets - a key trend that emerged from angel investors at the fifth iteration of the Angel Rising Investor Education Symposium.

Organized by startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by Tamkeen, the Symposium's theme was Looking East: The New Digital Silk Road & The Future of the Global Technology Order.

Angel Rising this year shed light on the UAE’s role in shaping the future of the global economy with the emergence of new technologies and markets in China, India, and Africa.

UAE Investment Trends

  • FinTech remains the leading industry for early-stage investors, accounting for 29 percent of angel investments.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a key field of interest for angels in the UAE, with 18 percent of investors watching it closely.
  • Global angel investors are active in the UAE, with the majority of angels from India, US, UK, and Canada.
  • More people in the UAE are entering the angel investment space, with more than 50 percent of new angels having invested in 1-3 startups.
  • Smaller ticket sizes (smaller investments) are opening up in the industry. Investments of under $50,000 account for 67 percent of investments which are made.

NYU Abu Dhabi Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Associate Dean of Engineering, and startAD Managing Director Ramesh Jagannathan said, “In any entrepreneurial ecosystem, angels play an important role by stepping in when the startups’ valuations are murky at best. Their role becomes ‘mission critical’, as the digital economies of the second Machine Age powered by AI and Deep Learning, begin their determined march along the 21st Century Silk Road."


The three billion plus global middleclass consumers lining up along the Silk Road come from all walks of life, from diverse cultures, with significantly less buying power than their western counterparts.  There will be over 300 million people above 65 years of age in China alone with special needs in terms of healthcare, home care, transportation, and security."

Ramesh Jagannathan

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.