Abu Dhabi’s ADIO invests $5m in Shorooq Partners' Bedaya fund

The $40m fund will target early-stage technology businesses across the Middle East and North Africa

FH1NBM Evening view of new financial and business district called Abu Dhabi Global Market square (ABGM) on Al Maryah Island Abu Dhabi. Alamy

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, which oversees foreign direct investment and private sector development in the emirate,  is investing $5 million (Dh18.4m) in a new fund operated by Shorooq Partners to help develop the start-up ecosystem in the emirate.

The Bedaya fund targets early-stage tech companies in the Middle East and North Africa region. The total size of the fund is $40m.

“We are ensuring that locally-based startups have access to capital and support from experts like Shorooq Partners to future-proof their development," Tariq Bin Hendi, director general of ADIO, said. “Ultimately, their growth is our growth, and their success will continue to expand Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing innovation ecosystem.”

Abu Dhabi is investing in start ups to grow the innovation ecosystem in the capital as part of a broader economic diversification strategy.

ADIO, the government hub supporting private sector investment in the emirate, is currently making investments both directly into companies and through funds like Bedaya from its Dh535m Ventures Fund, which was launched in 2019 as part of the Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 economic stimulus programme.

“The Bedaya fund has been established to strengthen the region’s venture capital landscape and take great startups to the next stage. There is no shortage of talent here, and given the right access to capital, networks and mentorship, they can achieve great success on the global stage,” Mahmoud Adi, founding partner of Shorooq Partners, said.

Shorooq Partners operates from Hub71, an international technology hub, which was set up last year by the Abu Dhabi government in cooperation with Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Global Market, Microsoft and SoftBank.

Shorooq Partners has made more than 42 investments in 24 startups including robo-advisor platform Sarwa, on-demand truck aggregator TruKKer and native e-grocery platform Breadfast, among others.

The new initiative comes as ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies, launched a Dh1.1bn venture fund to invest in early-stage Indian and Southeast Asian start-ups and help them set up a base in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City.

The Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) Fund, run by Falcon Edge Capital,  will help budding Asian businesses gain market access to the UAE and the broader Middle East region and will be based at Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Last year, Mubadala Capital, a financial investment unit of Abu Dhabi's strategic investment arm, Mubadala Investment Company unveiled $250m in tech funds to invest in the region's growing start-up scene and enhance the UAE capital's status as a tech and innovation hub.