Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, 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, have launched the Dubai Future District Fund, with an initial purse of AED1 billion equivalent to 272 million USD. The move is part of the Dubai Future District’s (DFD) ongoing efforts to support startups in the field of technology and encourage them to list in the Dubai Financial Markets and stock exchange.
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 to establish 1,000 tech companies in the country within five years and increase startup investments from AED1.5 billion to AED4 billion. To achieve its objectives, the Dubai Future District 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.
Sharif El-Badawi has been appointed as CEO of the Dubai Future District Fund. In this role, the new CEO will drive efforts to support Dubai’s development into a destination for regional and global technology startups and boost its position as a hub for talent and game-changing ideas.
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.
The Dubai Future District Fund has named Sharif El-Badawi as its CEO, who 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. These include developing Dubai’s startup ecosystem, catalysing its growth by direct investment in startups, and encouraging local, regional and global funds to invest in the ecosystem.
His Excellency 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. It also contributed to the success of many VCs and tech-driven startups such as: Careem, Mumzworld, Souq and others.
His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, said: “Innovation has always been a cornerstone of DIFC’s strategy, delivering on the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. DIFC continues to be the business destination of choice in the region for businesses focused on innovation and the new economy. They will benefit from the Dubai Future District Fund and in turn contribute to Dubai’s economic growth. The fund and other key initiatives emanating from the Dubai Future District will allow us to continue elevating Dubai’s status as one of the world’s most advanced cities and leading financial centres.”
His Excellency Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “The formation of the Dubai Future District Fund is a significant milestone in the emirate’s journey to become a global entrepreneurship hub, fast-tracking our new economy development agenda ahead of most other nations in today’s new normal. Providing capital for startups and scale-ups across the innovation and technology ecosystem positions Dubai as a magnet not only for top talent but also for the international investor community. Reflecting the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Fund testifies to our commitment to delivering the most conducive value proposition for sector-agnostic business growth.”
His Excellency Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of DFF, said that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for the future of Dubai resulted in the development of a unique ecosystem to design the future through testing and adoption of the latest innovative technologies. He also highlighted the importance of public-private partnerships in achieving this vision.
He added: “The Dubai Future District Fund will help accelerate Dubai’s journey towards the future, as well as the positive outcomes of investing in the tech sector to support fields such as health, education, finance and government services, and the practical implementation of specialised projects in the economy of the future.”