The Strategic Development Fund (SDF), the investment arm of Tawazun Holding, has announced an allocation of $150 million (AED551.2 million) for Venture Capital investments into early-stage companies in the UAE and internationally operating in defence and security, aerospace technologies amongst other frontier and emerging technologies.
Tareq Abdulraheem Al Hosani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SDF and Chief Executive Officer of Tawazun Economic Council Venture Capitalised said that this initiative is in line with the strategy to deploy funds with attractive financial returns and participating in the development of modern technologies related to their strategic interests while building partnerships that provide opportunities to contribute to building a sustainable high tech and industrial ecosystem.
Abdulla Naser Al Jaabari, SDF Managing Director and CEO, said, "We are targeting emerging companies in specific strategic sectors that have high growth potential and global scalability, especially in the markets of the UAE, the Middle East, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other potential markets."
He added that the SDF targets specific sectors, including defence and security, aviation and aerospace, urban mobility, autonomous systems, robotics, and energy and power technologies.
He revealed that around 85 percent to 90 percent of the Venture Capital allocation would be invested directly into companies, with the remainder earmarked for indirect investments that would support the SDF's diversification and access to co-investment opportunities.
"SDF has already closed four deals worth estimated around $30 million (AED110 million), including three direct and one indirect investment."
The recent investments include HawkEye 360, which specialises in space-based radio frequency (RF) data and geospatial analytics, Hisky, a leader in low-cost satellite communications and TriEye, which provides ground-breaking CMOS-based Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) sensing technology. The current portfolio of investments ranges from the United States to Israel.
The fund is expected to close two additional investments by the end of this year, bringing the total Venture Capital investments to six with an expectation to deploy the remainder over the next 18 to 30 months.
SDF plays a vital role in supporting the private sector to meet the strategic needs of the UAE, encourage creativity and innovation among local companies and enable them to participate in building a diversified national economy.