Mubadala Investment Company has launched AED 918 million ($250 million) MENA-focused tech investment funds to support start-ups from the GCC as well as the entire Middle East region while empowering tech talent in the UAE and across the wider region.
The state investor stated that its new MENA tech funds will invest in companies and venture funds that help boost local tech incubator Hub71—which was launched earlier this year as part of a broader effort by the government to diversify the economy.
Ibrahim Ajami, the Head of Ventures at Mubadala Capital, said, “The MENA funds will drive the economic development of Abu Dhabi by stimulating tech investment activity.”
The funds will include a AED 550 million ($150 million) ‘fund of funds’ programme, which will invest in funds that are committed to support Hub71 ecosystem. As part of this programme, Mubadala Capital stated that it will commit to San Francisco-based Data Collective Venture Capital (DCVC), Middle East Ventures Partners (MEVP) and Global Ventures as a part of its first funds cohort.
Similarly, the investment programme will also include a further AED 367 million ($100 million) fund dedicated to direct investments in early-stage technology companies led by founders that are committed to be part of the Hub71 ecosystem. The fund aims to invest in a portfolio of 15 companies.
Microsoft and SoftBank Group are partners in Hub71, and the Abu Dhabi-based scheme offers incentives like office space and health care coverage to encourage start-ups to set up shop in the region.
The UAE and Bahrain among other GCC countries are increasingly investing in local tech ecosystems in order to wean their economies from reliance on hydrocarbons.
According to Mubadala Capital, the first investment from the direct fund is in Dubai-based Bayzat, the start-up has raised $16 million in Series B funding from a cohort of global investors including Point72 Ventures.
“After ten years of investing in tech companies around the world, the time has come to leverage the experience and expertise we’ve gained for the benefit of our home market,” said Ajami.