In its ongoing efforts to support startups in the field of technology and encourage them to list in the Dubai Financial Markets and stock exchange, Dubai has launched the Dubai Future District Fund with an initial purse of over $272 million.
The Fund, an initiative of the Dubai Securities and Exchange Higher Committee, will focus on supporting efforts to implement the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to establish 1,000 tech companies in the country within five years.
His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Dubai Securities and Exchange Higher Committee, launched the initiative.
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 the AED1 billion Dubai Future District Fund to invest in startups.
“The Fund aims to realise the vision of His Highness 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.”
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Sheikh Maktoum stressed that the Dubai Future District Fund supports national efforts and strategies aimed at enabling entrepreneurs to reach new horizons, realise Dubai’s aspirations for the new economy, and contribute to enhancing the emirate’s status as a preferred destination for global talent that offers an integrated investment environment and exceptional facilities.
Sharif El-Badawi was appointed as the CEO of the Dubai Future District Fund. El-Badawi will play a pivotal role in quickly ramping up the team and executing the Fund’s strategy of contributing to the economy of the future. He will oversee the provision of financing for DFD’s innovation ecosystem, support promising projects and build partnerships with investment capital funds from around the world, in addition to supervising the implementation of the short- and long-term strategic objectives of the Fund.
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.
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.
Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, noted that the launch of the Dubai Future District Fund constitutes a new step in consolidating the UAE’s leadership in digital economy while boosting Dubai’s attractiveness as a global destination for innovators and startups specialised in future technology.