Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADQ), one of the region’s largest holding companies with a broad portfolio of major enterprises spanning key sectors of Abu Dhabi’s diversified economy, has developed DisruptAD to consolidate the entity’s venture capital (VC) efforts under a unified platform. DisruptAD’s activities will include investments in start-ups and venture capital funds, as well as the creation of new incubators and accelerators to support Abu Dhabi’s evolution as a global start-up destination and accelerate the development of its innovation ecosystem.
DisruptAD aims to support and nurture over 1,000 start-ups over the next five years to create a thriving local community of founders, fund managers, incubators and accelerators. This will cement Abu Dhabi’s position as a world-class technology hub where new ideas are born and transformative companies get created, maximizing value creation and delivering long-term economic benefits for the UAE.
Beyond the UAE, DisruptAD will target global innovators across other markets including the broader Middle East and North Africa region, India, China, South East Asia and the United States. The platform will partner with companies and funds that can benefit from ADQ’s commitment to the development of clusters including Healthcare and Pharma, Food and Agriculture, Mobility and Logistics, and Energy and Utilities. DisruptAD will also be responsible for the Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI) Fund, the AED 1.1 billion venture fund that focuses on Indian and South East Asian start-ups, and will manage the AED 535 million Ventures Fund, a flagship initiative of the Ghadan 21 programme.
Mansour AlMulla, Chief Investment Officer, Alternative Investments and Mergers & Acquisitions, of ADQ, said: “DisruptAD represents our long-term commitment to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s innovation ecosystem. There is clear demand for pioneering ideas and entrepreneurs who can respond to some of society’s most pressing challenges with impactful future-focused solutions. As part of ADQ’s Alternative Investments efforts, our venture capital platform aims to deliver long-term financial returns for our shareholder while fostering innovation and driving growth in clusters that create a knowledge-based, sustainable economy. As such, we are actively deploying capital into innovative businesses locally and globally, providing the strategic and technical expertise needed to transform ideas into fully fledged sustainable businesses that will make a valuable contribution to the UAE.”
Mayank Singhal, Head of Venture Capital and Technology at ADQ, added: “DisruptAD is built on the foundation of collaboration and provides a unique opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs to tap into Abu Dhabi’s thriving ecosystem and benefit from ADQ’s portfolio of companies. Not only are we deepening the pool of capital for start-ups, but we are also bridging the talent gap by inviting top-tier founders and young innovators to Abu Dhabi. Fostering Abu Dhabi’s start-up community and building new partnerships across global markets will further enhance the UAE’s reputation for championing innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Start-ups in the UAE attracted 56 per cent of all investment deals in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2020, despite the effects of the global pandemic, according to MAGNiTT.