Dubai has launched a AED1 billion ($272.3 million) fund designed to support technology companies and encourage them to list on the emirate’s stock market.

The new Future District Fund will help to establish 1,000 digital companies in the emirate in the next five years, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, said in a tweet.

The “evergreen venture capital fund” is anchored by Dubai International Finance Centre and Dubai Future Foundation and will support the emirate’s developing digital economy and projects. It aims to increase investment in start-ups to AED4bn ($1.08bn), from AED1.5bn ($408m) currently.

The fund intends to catalyse Dubai’s venture financing through direct investments that propel the growth of local and regional start-ups, attract international companies and support the growth of top firms through direct and co-investments. It will also support the overall ecosystem by investing in the top regional funds, attracting leading international VC funds to set up in Dubai and fuelling the next generation of fund managers in the emirate for emerging funds.

Sharif El Badawi, who has worked in Silicon Valley, has been appointed as the chief executive of the Future District Fund that aims to put half of its investments into venture capital funds with a local focus and the other half into start-ups directly or through Future District affiliated programmes.

Earlier this week, Dubai’s stock market rolled out an incentive program to attract share sales from the private sector as the business hub seeks to catch up with Abu Dhabi and Riyadh in the Middle East IPO rush.

The incentives include financial support during initial public offerings and post-listing, according to a statement. There will also be a three-year waiver on listing, AGM and dividend distribution fees.

Once the United Arab Emirates’ leading exchange by traded volume, Dubai’s market is now second to Abu Dhabi, which has had three IPOs this year. In contrast, Dubai has seen one listing since 2017, and a string of delistings that had dented investor confidence.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid, deputy ruler of Dubai and the new head of Dubai’s financial market, this month overhauled the exchange’s board, bringing in experts. He also promoted Hamed Ali as the chief executive officer.

The plans to grab a slice of the IPO action include listing as many as 10 state-owned firms, such as utility DEWA – likely to be the city’s biggest deal – and its Salik road toll collection system.

A flurry of announcements since the start of the month have helped push Dubai Financial Market’s market value to about AED24bn.



Source: Arabian Business

Image Credit: Arabian Business