ADIO and ADQ join forces to spur further investment in Abu Dhabi's digital economy and start-up ecosystem

Aug 18, 2020

News

  • Enhanced relationship between ADIO and ADQ to increase Abu Dhabi’s attractiveness for entrepreneurs and venture capital funds
  • ADIO transfers to ADQ the Ventures Fund, a Ghadan 21 initiative that is supporting start-up and innovation ecosystems by increasing access to funding

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) and ADQ today announced a new collaboration to further strengthen Abu Dhabi's digital economy and start-up ecosystem, including transferring the Ventures Fund, a flagship Ghadan 21 initiative, to ADQ.

As part of their collaboration, ADQ and ADIO will also create winning propositions for companies using a combination of equity investments and incentives. ADQ will be responsible for driving equity investments in early-stage companies and venture capital (VC) funds, while ADIO will oversee the management of incentives and other forms of support. Together, the value proposition will help companies take advantage of Abu Dhabi's exceptional digital infrastructure, advanced regulatory frameworks and R&D initiatives.

ADIO has transferred to ADQ the Ventures Fund, which was set up through Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi's accelerator programme, driving the emirate's development through investing in business, innovation and people. The AED 535 million fund invests in start-ups and VC funds that spur Abu Dhabi's innovation efforts and help build out its early stage ecosystem. The aim is to ensure the emirate continues to be a welcoming home for innovation and a place where entrepreneurs can confidently realise their commercial and creative vision.

The Ventures Fund will now be part of ADQ's broader venture capital program, which is focused on making equity and fund investments in global start-ups and VC firms to support Abu Dhabi's evolving technology ecosystem. These start-ups and funds will also benefit from access to ADQ's leading companies across several sectors including healthcare, food and agri-business, utilities and logistics.

H.E. Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of ADIO, said: "Abu Dhabi is a great place to realise ambitious ideas. Since launching the Ventures Fund in May 2019 as part of the Ghadan 21 programme, we have firmly established it as an instrument that is helping increase access to capital for start-ups in Abu Dhabi."

Bin Hendi continued: "We are proud to see the economic impact the Ventures Fund has made so far. With ADIO and ADQ working together, innovative early-stage companies will now have new opportunities as well as access to the capital and networks they need to realise their ambitions in the emirate and internationally."

H.E. Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, Chief Executive Officer of ADQ, said: "The combination of what ADQ and ADIO can offer to early-stage start-ups is powerful and strategic. We are both committed to nurturing the development of cutting-edge technologies and solutions to advance Abu Dhabi's innovation ecosystem and augment Abu Dhabi's position as a highly developed and progressive economy."

Alsuwaidi continued: "We welcome the Ventures Fund joining ADQ's broader venture capital portfolio and will continue to drive new investments in exciting early stage businesses pursuing new ideas and business models with the potential to make an impact in the UAE and beyond."

The Ventures Fund has committed approximately AED 200 million since its inception in May 2019 to more than 15 companies and funds in its portfolio. The fund has been instrumental in increasing VC activity and helping early-stage companies grow in the emirate.

The Ventures Fund is one of the initiatives launched by the AED 50 billion three-year Ghadan 21 programme, which was envisioned and launched by HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, in 2019 to focus on economy, knowledge and community. Others include global tech start-up ecosystem Hub71; ADIO's AED 1 billion AgTech Incentive Programme; and the Abu Dhabi Instant Licence to fast-track business set-up.

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