Dubai launches $ 272 million fund to attract more tech company listings

Dubai has launched a 1 billion dirhams ($ 272.3 million) Future District Fund to support tech companies and encourage them to list on the emirate stock exchange.

The fund will help establish 1,000 digital businesses in the emirate over the next five years, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Deputy Governor of Dubai, said in a tweet on Monday.

The fund, an initiative of the Dubai Securities and Exchange Higher Committee, will support the emirate’s digital economy and projects using the latest technologies and develop the economic sectors of the future.

It aims to bring investments in start-ups to Dh4bn, against Dh1.5bn currently.

Dubai, the trade and commerce hub of the Middle East, is trying to capitalize on the IPO rush that has swept the region as it seeks to list 10 public entities in the Dubai financial market as part of the ‘a broader strategy to double the size of the financial market to 3 trillion dirhams.

The Dubai Water and Electricity Authority, the government-owned utility company and the Salik road toll system will be among the first to go public, Sheikh Maktoum said on Twitter this month.

The government has also launched a MAD 2 billion market maker fund to attract quotes from sectors such as energy, logistics and retail, while the target of the Future District Fund is expected to be technology companies.

The Future District Fund also appointed Sharif El Badawi as Managing Director. Since the mid-1990s, Mr. El Badawi has worked with several Silicon Valley technology companies, including Google, before settling in the region to focus on start-up investments.

The Future District Fund is the “evergreen venture capital fund,” founded by the Dubai International Finance Center and the Dubai Future Foundation, the fund said on its website.

It aims to invest half of its investments in local venture capital funds and the other half in start-ups directly or through programs affiliated with Future District.

“The fund’s mandate is to stimulate early-stage and venture capital investment and business activity in Dubai and the region… providing a healthy return to investors while facilitating the diversification of GDP. [gross domestic product] growth and job creation for the next generation of industries and skills, ”he said.

The fund intends to catalyze Dubai’s venture capital financing through direct investments that propel the growth of local and regional start-ups, attract international companies and support the growth of leading companies through through direct investments and co-investments.

It will also support the global ecosystem by investing in the best regional funds, attract leading international venture capital funds to locate in Dubai and fuel the next generation of fund managers in the emirate for emerging funds.

Dubai was one of the first cities in the world to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and reopen its economy for business, while ensuring strict compliance with health and safety measures.

Updated: November 15, 2021, 6:17 PM

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