Abu Dhabi Partners With Microsoft, SoftBank to Start Tech Hub

(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi is teaming up with companies such as Microsoft Corp. and SoftBank Group Corp. to open a technology startup center as the oil-rich emirate seeks to diversify its economy.

The so-called Hub71 is based in the Abu Dhabi Global Market, an offshore financial center that houses Blackstone Group International Partners and Aberdeen Standard Investments among others.

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  • Funding for the startups will come from Abu Dhabi government, state-controlled Mubadala and other investors. SoftBank will bring to the hub companies it has invested in.
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Office to subsidize housing, offices for startups and invest 535 million dirhams ($146 million) in companies based in the hub. Overall, the government has committed 1 billion dirhams.
  • The plan is to invest in 100 companies over the next three to five years, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of venture capital at Mubadala.
    • Mubadala will invest in startups directly or through technology funds in “the U.S. and China that are potentially interested in investing in companies that will be based” in Abu Dhabi, he said.

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  • Mubadala opened an office in San Francisco in 2017 to manage its $15 billion commitment to the SoftBank Vision Fund.

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