Maktoum bin Mohammed launches AED1 bn Dubai Future District Fund to support startups

Maktoum bin Mohammed launches AED1 bn Dubai Future District Fund to support startups

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum today launched the Dubai Future District Fund, with an initial purse of AED1 billion, along with the Fund’s website, www.futuredistrictfund.com.

The move is part of the Dubai Future District’s (DFD) ongoing efforts to support startups in the field of technology and encourage them to list in the Dubai Financial Markets and stock exchange.

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed said:

"Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to support the digital economic sector, we launched today the AED1 billion Dubai Future District Fund to invest in startups."

"The Fund aims to realise the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to establish 1,000 tech companies in the next five years, by supporting Dubai’s digital economy and companies that adopt future technologies and develop new economic sectors of the future."

As an enabler of Dubai Future District’s other initiatives, the Fund seeks to fill a funding gap in the MENA venture capital (VC) market by investing in technology startups in the early stages of growth. It aims to invest in local and regional funds, as well as attract leading international VC funds to establish a presence in Dubai.

The Dubai Future District Fund seeks to build an innovation-driven startup ecosystem to enhance the global competitiveness of Dubai’s future economy. As part of its mandate, it will invest in a range of key initiatives, including Dubai Future Accelerators, DIFC FinTech Hive and Venture Builder Studios.

The Fund is ideally positioned to attract startups from the MENA region and beyond that can develop innovative solutions for future local, regional and global challenges. It will also support the scale-up of top-performing startups through growth capital and follow-on rounds of investment and attract VC firms to Dubai through a fund of funds program.

To achieve its objectives, the Fund will leverage emerging technologies, such as AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, data analytics, software-as-a-service (SaaS)/platform-as-a-service (PaaS), cloud solutions, 5G, IoT, augmented reality and robotics.

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, said:

"Innovation has always been a cornerstone of DIFC’s strategy, delivering on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai."

"DIFC continues to be the business destination of choice in the region for businesses focused on innovation and the new economy. They will benefit from the Dubai Future District Fund and in turn contribute to Dubai’s economic growth. The fund and other key initiatives emanating from the Dubai Future District will allow us to continue elevating Dubai’s status as one of the world’s most advanced cities and leading financial centers."

Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said:

"The formation of the Dubai Future District Fund is a significant milestone in the emirate’s journey to become a global entrepreneurship hub, fast-tracking our new economy development agenda ahead of most other nations in today’s new normal. Providing capital for startups and scale-ups across the innovation and technology ecosystem positions Dubai as a magnet not only for top talent but also for the international investor community. Reflecting the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Fund testifies to our commitment to delivering the most conducive value proposition for sector-agnostic business growth."

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of DFF, said that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's vision for the future of Dubai resulted in the development of a unique ecosystem to design the future through testing and adoption of the latest innovative technologies. He also highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in achieving this vision.

"The Dubai Future District Fund will help accelerate Dubai's journey towards the future, as well as the positive outcomes of investing in the tech sector to support fields such as health, education, finance and government services, and the practical implementation of specialized projects in the economy of the future."

Khalfan Belhoul noted that the Fund provides an interactive platform that brings together government and investment agencies with innovators, startups and entrepreneurs with the aim of enabling them to leverage the Fund’s facilities, initiatives and financing options to enhance their contribution to developing the most promising emerging sectors.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said:

"DIFC is playing a crucial role in helping Dubai become a leading global start-up hub and developing its innovation proposition. We have already built the largest and most comprehensive FinTech and innovation ecosystem in the region which has resulted in over 60 per cent of start-ups in the GCC making the DIFC Innovation Hub their home. We will work with these start-ups to leverage the Dubai Future District Fund whilst applying our expertise to drive both the future of finance and future economies more broadly. In turn, we will be supporting efforts to realize Dubai’s ambitions for the digital era."

News Source: Emirates News Agency

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