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Dubai invests $1 billion in tech startups amid global market volatility

The goal is to process three to five times the returns across cycles of up to 15 years.

Dubai invests $1 billion in tech startups amid global market volatility
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

While the global market correction is causing a decrease in valuations and job losses in the tech industry, investment in some Middle Eastern regions is rising.

The Dubai Future District Fund, established in 2021 to invest in tech startups, recently announced its goal of reaching $1 billion in assets under management by the end of 2024. The announcement was made at the fund’s first annual general meeting in the presence of important figures such as Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance of the UAE.

The meeting discussed ways to support early-stage technology businesses, help them list on the Dubai stock market, and boost their future projects through investment opportunities. The fund’s focus on deep technology aims to achieve three to five times the returns across cycles of up to 15 years, a longer time frame than the typical venture capital investment period.

“Dubai has become an international gateway for ambitious investment opportunities, a hub for future-driven project funding, and a global testbed for tomorrow’s technology and digital economy applications. The emirate provides the ideal environment for technology ventures to develop the highest standards of agility and transparency and create opportunities for individuals, organizations, and societies,” Sheikh Hamdan said in a statement issued by the Dubai Media Office.

Half of the fund’s investment will be made in locally oriented venture capital funds. The other half will be invested directly in startup businesses or through initiatives related to the Future District.

“As part of Dubai’s aim to transform itself into one of the world’s top digital economies, we continue to provide world-class regulatory frameworks and infrastructure designed to empower technology entrepreneurs and catalyze innovative smart projects, particularly those related to fintech and smart financing solutions. Thanks to these efforts, Dubai has become an attractive destination for startups, experts, tech giants, coders, digital nomads, and fintech companies seeking to list on Dubai’s stock market,” Sheikh Hamdam added.

According to him, Dubai’s approach to envisioning and constructing a sustainable future is centered on hastening emerging technology uptake across many industries. This model is essential to Dubai’s efforts to promote economic growth and carry out national objectives and strategies. It significantly improves the UAE’s ranks in terms of financial, digital, legal, and future growth indicators.

Meanwhile, by 2025, the Dubai Future District Fund hopes to have $7 billion under management and $1.7 billion in equity value in its portfolio. For the next ten years, the goal is to invest in 180 portfolio firms and 55 venture funds with a portfolio of $43 billion.

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