UAE: Abu Dhabi delivers $272m in incentives as it aims to be regional HQ of HQs


Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has announced three new Innovation Programme partnerships, bringing total incentives awarded to date to AED1 billion ($272 million).

Fairwater Capital, Frontera Capital and COFE App join a total of 37 companies benefiting from ADIO’s AED2 billion Innovation Programme since its 2020 launch.

Innovation Programme companies operate in high-growth, tech-focused industries, with 13 in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, nine in agriculture technology (AgTech), eight in health services and biopharma and seven in financial services.

The programme aims to fuel the development and diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy, a statement said.

Mohamed Al Dhaheri, acting executive director – Business Enterprise, ADIO, said: “ADIO’s Innovation Programme is attracting approximately two new fast-growth tech companies to Abu Dhabi every month.

“Its success speaks to the emirate’s commitment of building an environment where businesses can come together to ideate, collaborate and create. Our 37 Innovation Programme partners are already making an impact regionally and we are committed to helping fast-track their progress by equipping them with the necessary resources and support for growth.

“With a remaining AED1 billion of incentives ready to be allocated through the programme, we look forward to welcoming many more innovative companies to our forward-looking community where they can make a real impact globally.”

Innovation Programme companies operate in high-growth, tech-focused industries, with 13 in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, nine in agriculture technology (AgTech), eight in health services & biopharma and seven in financial services.
Fairwater Capital was founded in London as a multi-strategy investment manager and ADIO’s partnership will enable it to set up its global quantitative research hub, global data centre and operations hub in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

Paul Lavelle, CEO and partner at Fairwater Capital said: “We are grateful for the support of ADIO and look forward to working collaboratively with them as we take our business to the next stage.

“Abu Dhabi is the ideal hub for harnessing the strengths of the local economy and community and complementing them with outstanding international talent to create an international centre of quantitative research and data.”

Frontera Capital is a boutique investment firm which focuses exclusively on matching international investor risk appetite with domestic funding needs in frontier markets. With ADIO’s support, it will expand its capabilities from ADGM in originating, structuring and distributing frontier market risk through enhanced ADGM-based infrastructure and support.

Vicente Pons, CEO and founder, said: “We considered several other financial centres before settling on Abu Dhabi because of the emirate’s business-friendly environment as well as its convenient time zone, central location to a larger number of frontier markets and excellent global and regional logistics networks.”

COFE App is a coffee-centric application for the beverage market. The partnership with ADIO will see it relocate its global HQ to Abu Dhabi.

Founder and CEO, Ali Al Ebrahim, said: “ADIO’s confidence in COFE App will further pave the way for growth in the emirate. With Abu Dhabi’s strong infrastructure and hunger for all things ‘smart’, coupled with the unique offering we have created at COFE and a diverse and talented global team, I truly believe we are creating an ecosystem that will lead the coffee marketplace into a new era.”

With increasing numbers of companies establishing a significant presence under the programme, Abu Dhabi has emerged as the region’s HQ of HQs, the statement added.

ADIO’s support has attracted Anghami, Starzplay, Lyve and Pure Salmon while Bespin Global has set up its MENA HQ in Abu Dhabi’s Hub71.

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