ADQ launches Growth Lab to support R&D with $27.2m planned investment

The Abu Dhabi holding company will allocate more funds to fast-track trial and adoption of AI and automation

ADQ Growth Lab aims to support UAE’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy. Shutterstock
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ADQ, an Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company, launched the ADQ Growth Lab, a community of innovators from its portfolio, to support research and development in the country.

As part of the new venture, ADQ will invest Dh100 million ($27.2m) to fund R&D testbed projects, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company will also allocate further funds to fast-track the trial and adoption of AI and automation through proof-of-concepts and pilots, it said.

"By facilitating and fostering collaboration across ADQ’s portfolio and the wider innovation ecosystem, we are confident that ADQ Growth Lab will unlock growth opportunities that can accelerate value creation and further support UAE’s transformation into a knowledge-based economy," said Louay Chanab, chief strategy officer at ADQ.

Established in 2018, ADQ has a broad portfolio of investment spanning sectors including energy and utilities, food and agriculture, mobility and logistics, health care and life sciences, and transport and logistics.

The Growth Lab will foster cross-sector collaboration to facilitate knowledge exchange and strategic partnerships between industry and academia that can leverage research capabilities, the statement said.

Working with regulators, it will also promote development of emerging trends across ADQ’s core sector clusters and support partnerships with start-ups, scale-ups and other technology partners to accelerate growth.

To inaugurate the Growth Lab, ADQ brought together innovation and R&D leads from more than 20 of its portfolio companies.

The companies explored priorities, themes and opportunities to collaborate on R&D efforts to further boost the UAE’s economic growth and innovation ecosystem, the statement said.

ADQ has launched several projects and funds focused on technology in recent months.

It set up the UAE’s first special purpose acquisition company, or Spac, in partnership with private investment firm Chimera Investments last December with the aim of investing in tech-focused businesses.

The company, named ADC Acquisition Corporation, began trading on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange last month after it raised Dh367m through an initial public offering.

In March, ADQ partnered with Turkey Wealth Fund to form a new $300m technology fund that will focus on investing in start-ups in Turkey.

This month it launched a $100m technology-focused venture capital fund in collaboration with the Jordanian Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship.

Updated: June 23, 2022, 7:10 AM