Khalifa University launches ‘Khalifa University Enterprises Company’, backed by AED 100m endowment

Khalifa University launches ‘Khalifa University Enterprises Company’, backed by AED 100m endowment 

By: Abu Dhabi SME Hub

KUEC will be an investment and business platform for investors, private partners, government entities and entrepreneurs to accelerate the economic impact of research and intellectual property.

Khalifa University of Science and Technology today announced the launch of ‘Khalifa University Enterprises Company – KUEC’, which will act as the business and investment arm of the University. The new company is backed by an endowment of AED 100-million.

KUEC will include ‘Innovation Acceleration and Startups’ and ‘KU Ventures’, which will support establishing and operating non-IP technology companies. KUEC also includes the Endowment Fund that will allocate funds for investments and operations.

The mission of KUEC is to boost and speed up business engagement with the University to accelerate innovation and create an impact on the University’s scientific research assets and resources. Furthermore, KUEC will also aim to encourage technology investors and entrepreneurs to partner with the University to commercialize its growing patent portfolio in areas such as energy, advanced manufacturing, health, artificial intelligence and robotics through the creation of technology startups. 

Powered by partnerships

Established and structured in consultation with three partners, KUEC will leverage the support of the leading asset manager, BlackRock, and global financial services leader JPMorgan. On the innovation side, Techstars will play a pivotal role in the growth and scaling of UAE startups.

BlackRock will invest the endowment assets on behalf of KUEC in a diversified global portfolio, while J.P. Morgan will provide custodial services to KUEC, supporting the asset management part of the endowment. Techstars will focus on reviewing Khalifa University’s patents, conducting research to identify commercial suitability and viability, as well as in market assessment and validation that will then lead to the development of prototypes and use cases.

KUEC will work in collaboration and partnership with Khalifa University’s Technology Management and Innovation Office to help generate commercial outputs of University intellectual property and introduce university spin-outs to the market. Similarly, KUEC will work with the University’s Finance and Business Development Office to ensure external partners and entities benefit from university resources and assets. 

University support boosts company creation

Leading global universities have played a vital role in translating intellectual property into successful business ventures. According to PitchBook, a research and technology company covering private capital markets, between 2006 and 2017, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) produced 907 company founders as alumni or current students, creating 780 companies – the third most among all universities in the world. An earlier MIT study in 2015 reported that 30,000 companies founded by MIT alumni were active as of 2014, employing 4.6 million people and producing annual revenues of US$1.9 trillion, equivalent to the world’s 10th largest economy.

The newly launched Khalifa University Enterprises Company is expected to work along similar lines, encouraging innovation and stimulating the creation of technology startups while further motivating students and alumni to explore entrepreneurship based on university research outputs. 

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