Abu Dhabi's ADQ launches Dh1.1bn fund to invest in Asian start-ups

The fund will help early-stage Indian and Southeast Asian companies to set up base in Masdar City

FG81FD View of new business district at Abu Dhabi Global Market square (ADGM) on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates. Alamy
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ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies, launched a Dh1.1 billion 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.

Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) Fund will be based at the emirate’s financial hub, Abu Dhabi Global Market, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. The programme will be managed by New York-based Falcon Edge Capital.

AWI will help the budding Asian businesses gain market access to the UAE and the broader Middle East North Africa region. These companies will benefit from the “exceptional digital infrastructure” already in place as well as highly advanced regulatory frameworks and other R&D initiatives, it said.

“As a national champion for the Abu Dhabi government, we are working to embed a performance culture across our broad portfolio that includes many of our emirate’s most important strategic commercial entities,” Mohammed Hassan Alsuwaidi, chief executive of ADQ, said.

ADQ is looking to maximise long-term impact of its investment on society, and will invest in companies that are “pioneering cutting-edge technologies and developing new and innovative business models”, he said.

“Nurturing Abu Dhabi’s start-up ecosystem will attract entrepreneurial talent, create jobs and other opportunities, particularly for those working in data science, artificial intelligence and other knowledge-based industries,” Mr Alsuwaidi said.

Mayank Singhal, head of venture capital and technology at ADQ, said AWI will help the company invest in start-ups that will generate sustainable, long-term financial returns and bring young entrepreneurs to Abu Dhabi.

"We will aim to support them in ways that accelerate their development to create a new wave of winners in the tech landscape," he said. "These start-ups will also benefit from access to ADQ’s leading companies in sectors such as healthcare, food and agri-business, utilities and FinTech.”

ADQ, formally known as Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company, has a portfolio of conglomerates, spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil economy, including utilities, tourism and hospitality, aviation, transportation, logistics, industrial, real estate, media, healthcare, agri-foods and financial services.

Its portfolio includes Abu Dhabi Power Corporation, Abu Dhabi Airports, Abu Dhabi Ports, Etihad Rail, Abu Dhabi Health Services (Seha), insurer Daman, media companies Abu Dhabi Media and twofour54 and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, among others.

Last week ADQ agreed to acquire a 50 per cent stake in Al Dahra Holding, an Abu Dhabi-based multinational animal feed and essential food commodities specialist firm, as it expands its portfolio of food and agriculture businesses.

The move is part of state-controlled ADQ’s strategy to support the country's agri-foods sector ecosystem and boost sustainable and diversified food supply in the UAE, it said in a May 13 statement.

In April, ADQ fully acquired National Petroleum Construction Company after buying 30 per cent stake it did not control from minority shareholder Consolidated Contractors International Company for an undisclosed sum.

Abu Dhabi–based NPCC is an engineering, procurement and construction company involved in a number of oil and gas projects in the GCC, South Asia and Southeast Asia.