Mubadala launches MENA tech investment vehicles

SOURCE: Emirates News Agency


Mubadala Capital today announced the launch of its first MENA-focused tech investment funds. With a total of US$250 million (AED918 million), the Mubadala MENA tech funds will capitalise on the growing startup scene in the region while empowering tech talent in the Emirates and across the wider region.

According to a press release issued by Mubadala on Monday, the funds will include a US$150 million (AED550 million) "fund of funds" programme, 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 programme, Mubadala 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 programme will also include a further US$100 million (AED367 million) fund dedicated for direct investments in early-stage technology companies led by exceptional founders that are committed to being 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. It 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 US$16 million (AED58 million) in Series B funding from regional and global investors including Mubadala Capital and Point72 Ventures. The company has now raised a total of US$31 million (AED133 million) and plans to use the capital to invest in its technology and customer experience.

Commenting on the new fund, Ibrahim Ajami, Head of Ventures at Mubadala Capital, said, "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."

He added, "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 venture 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 US$15 billion to SoftBank Vision Fund 1.

In the US, the ventures business manages Mubadala Ventures Fund 1, a US$400 million (AED1.47 billion) US-focused early-stage venture fund, and a fund of funds programme targeting US-based established and emerging managers. In Europe, the team manages a US$ 400 million (AED1.47 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."