Week 2 in Dubai: My New Home is Called In5

As I promised in my 1st post about Dubai, I’ll talk in this post about the incubator that we were lucky enough to get accepted in, its called In5 (part of Dubai Internet City). In5 is an incubator that provides you with office space, mentorship, company registration and exposure to potential investors. In5 selects 10 Tech startups and supports them for a duration of 3 months. In5 doesn’t provide funding similar to Y Combinator and Tech Stars, but they also don’t take any equity. So yes they are an incubator and not an accelerator (I actually always confuse between the two, but you can find the best answer for the difference between an accelerator and an incubator here)



Let’s dig deeper into details of the things they provide:

1-    Office:

So we get a nice villa (for work, not to live in it) which is supposed to be shared for the 10 startups.  It’s awesome, we have meeting rooms, a lounge (with 2 huge TV sets, PlayStation, an X-Box), a terrace and a free wifi connection. Check the photos below (the photos probably need some editing, but I’m sooo tired right now, so my apologies):

The office is not completely free, they still charge us 1,000AED per month (US$270), which is very good deal for us. The parking is still an issue, we have many universities next to us and you can’t find a parking. They promised to solve this issue and I’m sure they will do soon.

Playing room

2-    Company registration:

That was a major issue to us, registering a company is not that cheap. Usually it will cost you between 9,000AED to 15,000AED (US$2,500 to US$4,000) to register the company in Dubai Free Zone. But, with In5 we only need to pay 1,500AED. I didn’t finish registering the company, but it should pretty easy. I just need to sign the papers then open a bank account, transfer the minimum amount of capital (which is around US$13,500) and I should be done.

3-    Learning from other startups:

We are currently only two startups in the villa, us and doctorized.com.  I know that doctorized was part of In5 for a while now, and they are really doing an impressive job. I’m learning a lot from these guys, since they are offering a booking solution, but for doctors instead of boats. There are some other startups that I know that they got accepted, but didn’t move yet  (they are moving soon or already have other offices) www.travelervip.com/ and www.snapp.ae/.


4-    Mentors:

We didn’t get any mentors yet, but we know that we will have access to many great mentors and advisors. Dubai Internet City (or DIC) is the house for many huge tech companies such as Google, Oracle, Facebook, IBM and many others. Many of these companies are happy to help the small startup community and share their knowledge. So for this part we are still not sure who we will end up with.

5-    Funding:

As I said, In5 don’t give us money, however they’ll help us raise money. At the end of the 3 months program they will do a demo, so that all startups gets the chance to get on stage and pitch their company in front of investors (maybe around 20-30 investors).

You can still apply to In5 by visiting their website here.

That’s everything, see you all next week.

Leave a comment


  1. ahmed

     /  May 18, 2013

    woow looks great Abdullah , tell us more about the company ??

    and do you need staff 🙂

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  3. Whats up! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the nice data you may have right here on this post.
    I will be coming again to your blog for more soon.

  4. Hi Abdullah, great post! My business partner and I are also launching a startup soon are we’re currently looking at the different Dubai free zones to incorporate in. We’re currently leaning towards JLT primarily because office space is less expensive there than it is in Dubai Internet City. Does being accepted into In5 force you to incorporate in Dubai Internet City? If so can you comment on the trade off between financial (and other) help from In5 today vs higher DIC rent tomorrow?

    • Hi Edmond,

      I actually had no idea that Jumairah Lakes Towers had a free zone. I was fortunate to have the In5 guys helping us from the beginning, that’s why I didn’t explore other possibilities to be honest. If you need some legal advice please let me know, I might know a lawyer that can help. BTW what is you startup? Will be great to know more about it 🙂

      • Hi Abdullah, we’re working on launching Kanari sometime in the next month. You can check out our launch page at http://www.kanari.co. We’ve been inspired by people like yourself to write a blog as well where we’ll document everything we’re going through so thank you! The link to our blog is on our FB page at http://www.facebook.com/getkanari.

        Still early days but let us know what you think!

    • Seems interesting, looking forward to see how you are going to approach solving this problem. I know a friend wanted to solve the same problem.

  5. Dana Horska

     /  July 11, 2013

    Hi Abdullah. Impressive writing and story. Wishing you all the best.
    I would just like to bring to notice to you and all young entrepreneurs and startups, that in Dubai Silicon Oasis Free Zone, we have an entrepreneurial ecoystem that we are building. At the moment, we have an up-and-running incubator Silicon Oasis Founders, you can find more info on: http://www.siliconoasisfounders.com/ and also a VC inititave for seed stage investments. In the incubator, we provide office space along with funding and mentoring. Also as a Free Zone, we have access to 700 companies, mainly in technology field.
    Best of luck.

  6. Kate

     /  January 18, 2015

    Dear Abdullah,

    I got a notoce today that our startup has been shortlisted for the pitching session. Does it mean that we already got a place in In5 or there are other stages of competition? Thank you in advance!



    • Hi Kate,

      Yes you’ll still need to go through one stage of a selection panel. Good luck 🙂

      • Kate

         /  January 18, 2015


        Thank you for the quick answer .. Can you give me a short insight how difficult is the second stage ?

        Hope to see you in In5!

  7. I honestly didn’t go through the process, I applied before they even started and before they have a community for selection!! I think it’s getting harder with time, but if you solid team with a functional product then I think you have a good chance.

    Yes, drop by when you come, we are still working at In5, just ask for fishfishme 🙂


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