FUTR World Middle East 2021 Wraps Up Successful Festival of Entertainment, Innovation and Networking in Abu Dhabi


Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, the ground-breaking event featured innovative new brands, panel discussions, food and beauty installations, and futuristic activations

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The inaugural FUTR World Middle East has ended after three successful days of immersive brand-led initiatives, experiential programming and insightful panel discussions with key opinion leaders.

The festival of business, entertainment and innovation, which took place at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island this month, welcomed more than 65 brands, 90 regional and international speakers, and over 5,700 visitors.

Conceived to stimulate the capital’s expansive retail landscape, FUTR World Middle East was a collaboration between Retail Abu Dhabi, the retail arm of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), MP Singapore and FUTR Group.

FUTR World Founder Simon Berger said: “I’m delighted that the inaugural FUTR World Middle East was a success for all who participated. I am thrilled by the vast array of diverse partners and stakeholders that the team managed to secure and was suitably impressed by the quality and quantity of people who attended. This innovative event was established as a platform to bring both new and established brands to the region and it was good to meet and see so many of them in Abu Dhabi creating fresh and dynamic business relationships. This new-style ‘business-to-business-to-consumer’ event, allowing brands direct access with both their peers and their customers, is, for me, the next evolution of events.  We look forward to building more business connections and providing engaging consumer experiences next year and will strive to build FUTR World into a must-attend annual event.”

These sentiments were echoed by many of the speakers. Milou Steenvoorden, Global Senior Director of Consumer Engagement at Adidas, said: “I loved meeting so many like-minded people and seeing creatives coming together for one excellent event.”

Fiza Abdy, who as Faby Makeup Artist is one of India’s best-known influencers, said: “FUTR World was such a brilliant experience. I discovered so many new things to explore and what an innovative and exciting place Abu Dhabi truly is.”

Viki Gomez, world champion Red Bull BMX athlete, said: “FUTR World was a fantastic occasion and a really creative way of bringing people together. I’ll definitely be back.”

The event was split into three distinct elements: FUTR Festival showcased an amazing line-up of global music artists; FUTR Summit brought the world’s business leaders and innovators together to collaborate and exchange ideas; and FUTR Live provided a vibrant display of Instagrammable pop-ups, new brands, giveaways, stunt artists, delicious cooking demonstrations and much more. 

FUTR Summit, the innovative business gathering, presented an unmissable experience. With all tickets quickly selling out, business professionals from brands, retailers, corporates, and e-commerce were inspired by fascinating talks from the leaders of Priceline.com, Harrods, Huda Beauty, Tech Crunch, Gymshark, Space NK, Vice Media and more. 

Avinash Rugooburr, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Arrival (which powers Roborace) announced that Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and Roborace, the world’s first global championship for full-size electric powered autonomous race cars, had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to drive innovation in the mobility sector. To showcase this technology, Roborace exhibited its ‘Robocar’, officially named as the Guinness World Records’ Fastest Autonomous Car, live at FUTR World.

FUTR Live included meet-and-greet opportunities with some of the most exciting and inspiring content creators from across the globe, including Abby Roberts, the most-liked beauty Tik Tok creator in the world. It also featured multiple activations themed around sport and fitness, art, balance and wellbeing, travel, fashion, food and more.

Venitia Archer, CEO and Founder of Ruuby, London’s award-winning at-home beauty booking service, said: “The event was incredible, and we were delighted with how our installation looked.” The brand offered complimentary makeovers using the latest Boost LED facemasks by Light Salon, another piece of technology that was making its debut in the UAE.

Another highlight was FUTR Tastebud, where interactive demonstrations were hosted by vegan sushi brand Moby, supported by creative food platform Inked. Visitors were able to try making their own maki under the guidance Chef Hadrien Villedieu and sample some of his signature dishes. Patrick Jarjour, Inked Co-Founder, said: “Events like this are few and far between. We had so much fun interacting with consumers and allowing them to discover that high quality plant-based food, just like our sushi, tastes amazing whilst helping the planet. Moby is the future of food. We were delighted to share it with Abu Dhabi at FUTR World”.  

The varied activations ranged from a showcase by New York’s Museum of Ice Cream, to stunning performances by Alicai Harley and talented DJs including Crown Prince, Tala Samman, Sonya, Teejjae Mai, Megatronic and more.

Manish Vora, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of the Museum of Ice Cream said: “Without FUTR World, the discussions we’ve had would not have been possible. Seeing how happy consumers were able to jump into an ice cream tub full of sprinkles was just amazing, it really brought a smile to my face. Thank you team FUTR for letting us exhibit our installation. Hopefully this is the beginning of a long and happy relationship.”

About FUTR World 2021:

Taking place from December 9 to 11, 2021 Manarat Al Saadiyat, FUTR World was the result of a partnership between Retail Abu Dhabi, the retail platform of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), MP Singapore and FUTR Group.

About the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi:

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors, fuels economic progress and helps achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organisations that define the Emirate’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the Emirate’s potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture and tourism industries. DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the Emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought.

About FUTR Group:

FUTR Group is a global year-round platform covering the future trends shaping retail, marketing and commerce, including Advertising, AR, Artificial Intelligence, Data, Marketing, Mobile, Retail, Robotics, Social, Video, Voice, VR and more.

FUTR Summits (in Asia, Europe and the US) evolves each year to cover the freshest thinking, the most immersive showcases, cutting-edge stories, practical insights and real-time case studies of how the industry is evolving to meet the needs of our ever-changing consumers. The annual gatherings host 3,000 delegates, including 50% of which are brands, retailers and corporates, in London, New York and Singapore, with new locations to be announced for 2021.

About MP Singapore:

Trusted since 1987, MP embodies more than a quarter century of event building, marketing and management experience in both Eastern and Western cultures, practices, and business philosophies. We bring world-class talent, industry expertise, and incredible enthusiasm into the design and management of extraordinary online-to-offline experiences for your organisation.

MP is part of Pico Group, a global group of agencies specialising in engaging people, creating experiences and activating brands for businesses, institutions and governments. As part of the Pico group, MP has unlimited access to a wide network of industry contacts and resources. Pico Far East Holdings has been listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 1992.