Mubadala expands venture capital business to Europe

Mubadala Ventures was founded in October 2017, and is based out of San Francisco. (Courtesy of Mubadala)
Updated 13 June 2018
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Mubadala expands venture capital business to Europe

  • SoftBank to be key investor in $400 million fund targeting fast-growing tech firms in UK and Europe
  • European fund is first expansion of newly-founded Mubadala Ventures

LONDON: Mubadala Investment Company is expanding its tech investment strategy to Europe, with the launch of a new $400 million fund to invest in the continent’s “high growth technology companies with global scale and impact.”

The new initiative, announced on Wednesday at London Tech Week, is the first significant expansion of the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund’s venture capital arm, Mubadala Ventures, and deepens its collaboration with Japan’s SoftBank.

The $400 million fund will work closely with early-stage UK and other European funds to invest in “both established and emerging fund managers across the continent,” Mubadala said in a statement.

Mubadala Ventures will also facilitate the process for European tech companies to establish operations in Abu Dhabi to target the Gulf and Middle East markets, via a European fund of funds and a direct funding strategy.

SoftBank, a key investor in a US-focussed $400 million fund established last year, will participate in the new European fund via its SIMI US Holdings I, Inc. investment subsidiary.

“Mubadala’s investment approach is based on partnership and this is exemplified through the strong working relationship we have established with the SoftBank Group,” said Waleed Al-Muhairi, CEO of alternative investments and infrastructure at Mubadala.

“The launch of a $400 million fund to support the growth of pioneering entrepreneurs complements Mubadala’s global portfolio of investments across the full spectrum of the tech sector.”

Mubadala established Mubadala Ventures — based in San Francisco — last October, creating a vehicle to oversee its $15 billion commitment to SoftBank’s Vision Fund, alongside the $400 million Mubadala Ventures Fund I and a $200 million fund of funds.

“The UK and Europe has some of the world’s most exciting startups and we would like to see more companies accelerate through the startup stage to achieve sustained growth at a global level,” said Ron Fisher, director and vice chairman of SoftBank Group.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have targeted investments in fast-growing international technology companies as part of their economic diversification strategies in a bid to lessen their economies’ reliance on oil revenues.

Mubadala and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund are among the largest contributors to SoftBank’s Vision Fund, the world’s largest private equity investment vehicle. The fund’s recent investments include a $2.25 billion injection into GM Cruise, the car giant’s autonomous driving unit, and a $5 billion stake in US chipmaker Nvidia.

Mubadala’s own tech invesmtents include stakes in semiconductor-makers AMD and Globalfoundrues, Abu Dhabi-based YahSat, and UAE-based telco du.

The fund’s deepening involvement in the venture capital sector will provide a boon to international startups, according to Dany Farha, co-founder and CEO at Dubai-based BECO Capital.

“Deep and patient capital is required as the lifeblood at all levels of the innovation lifecycle for there to be the appropriate incentives in place to mobilize innovators and entrepreneurs,” Farha told Arab News.


Etihad to loan pilots to competing UAE airline Emirates

Updated 28 min 59 sec ago
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Etihad to loan pilots to competing UAE airline Emirates

  • Etihad Airways has told its pilots they can join rival Emirates on a temporary basis for two years
  • The agreement is also likely to help Emirates, where a pilot shortage forced it to cancel some flights this summer

DUBAI: Etihad Airways has told its pilots they can join rival Emirates on a temporary basis for two years, according to an internal Etihad email seen by Reuters, as the downsizing of the Abu Dhabi carrier’s operations helps fill a pilot shortage for Dubai’s Emirates.
Etihad, which last week reported a $1.5 billion annual loss, has been overhauling its business since 2016, replacing its top executive, dropping unprofitable routes and shrinking its fleet.
The agreement is also likely to help Emirates, where a pilot shortage forced it to cancel some flights this summer. Management had said the shortage was a short-term issue.
In the email, Etihad said pilots who join Emirates on a two-year secondment would be placed on a leave of absence, retain seniority at Etihad, and receive their salary and full benefits from the Dubai airline.
Pilots were asked in the email to register a non-binding expression of interest and told that Emirates’ recruitment team would meet with pilots at Etihad’s offices.
Two sources separately told Reuters that Etihad had emailed staff announcing the agreement with Emirates.
An Etihad spokesman told Reuters secondment programs were common practice among airlines, enabling the effective management of pilot resources.
“This is something Etihad Airways has done for several years with partner airlines around the world,” the spokesman said.
An Emirates spokeswoman told Reuters the airline was “working with Etihad on a secondment program for some of their pilots.”
It was not immediately clear how many pilots would be offered temporary employment at Emirates and the email stated that any pilots applying for the secondment would need to complete Emirates’ training program.
Etihad employs 2,200 pilots, according to the airline spokesman. Reuters reported in January that Etihad had offered up to 18 months unpaid leave to pilots.
Emirates and Etihad have been exploring closer ties and signed a security pact in January, the first agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based airlines. Emirates has since said that a closer relationship was not about a merger.
Emirates and Etihad, backed by their state owners, have competed developing global networks from their respective hubs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that are just 128 kilometers apart.
Emirates is owned by the government of Dubai, and Etihad is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.