Mon, 21/10/2019 - 10:13
Mubadala Capital has launched its first MENA-focused tech investment funds. With a total of USD250 million (AED 918 million), the Mubadala MENA tech funds will capitalise on the growing startup scene in in the region while empowering tech talent in the Emirates and across the wider region.
The funds will include a USD150 million (AED 550 million) fund of funds program, which will invest in funds that are committed to supporting the Abu Dhabi-based Hub71 ecosystem, including through investing in companies that leverage Hub71 for regional expansion and growth. As part of this program, Mubadala Capital also announced that it will commit to three funds as a part of its first funds cohort – San Francisco-based Data Collective Venture Capital (DCVC), Middle East Ventures Partners (MEVP) and Global Ventures.
The investment program will also include a further USD100 million (AED 367 million) fund dedicated for direct investments in early stage technology companies led by exceptional founders that are committed to be part of the Hub71 ecosystem. The fund will invest in founder-led companies, targeting either enterprise or consumer sectors and have established clear product/market fit. The fund aims to invest in a portfolio of 15 companies.
The first investment, from the direct fund, is in Bayzat, a Dubai-based startup that is focused on delivering an exceptional employee experience that’s accessible to every small and medium sized enterprise through a free cloud-based platform. This helps companies automate HR administration, payroll processing and health insurance. Bayzat, one of the first companies to setup operations in Hub71, has raised USD16 million (AED 58 million) in Series B funding from regional and global investors including Mubadala Capital and Point72 Ventures. The company has now raised a total of USD31 million (AED 133 million) and plans to use the capital to invest in its technology and customer experience.
Ibrahim Ajami, Head of Ventures at Mubadala Capital, says: “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. The MENA funds will drive the economic development of Abu Dhabi by stimulating tech investment activity. There’s a huge amount of untapped potential in the UAE and the wider region and we are on the right path to foster more home-grown innovations, attract exceptional talent and accelerate the evolution of a flourishing tech industry in the Emirate.”
Mubadala Capital’s ventures arm builds on Mubadala Investment Company’s decade-long track record of being an active investor in advanced technology. With offices in Abu Dhabi, London and San Francisco, the ventures business has made investments across the value chain of the technology sector, including committing USD15 billion to SoftBank Vision Fund 1. In the US, the ventures business manages Mubadala Ventures Fund 1, a USD400 million (AED 1.47 billion) US-focused early stage venture fund, and a fund of funds program targeting US-based established and emerging managers. In Europe, the team manages a USD 400 million (AED 1.47 billion) fund investing in founders and companies across the continent, as well as a fund of funds program that adheres to a similar strategy as its US counterpart.
Co-founder and managing partner of DCVC Matt Ocko commented: “We already have a deep connection to the UAE through Mubadala, but the creation of the MENA tech funds further cements this partnership. We’re looking forward to supporting local talent and exciting founder-led companies as they drive innovation from Abu Dhabi’s Hub71.”
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