Fund creating right infrastructure in Abu Dhabi to support Israeli companies’ regional growth
Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala is keen on exploring opportunities in Israel as part of its drive to step up investments in the technology sector across Europe, India and the Middle East.
Ibrahim Ajami, head of ventures at Mubadala, said the sovereign fund plans to identify potential partners in Israel and find high-growth technology firms in which to co-invest following the normalisation of relations between the two countries in the wake of the historic Abraham Peace Accord.
Taking part in a panel discussion at FinTech Abu Dhabi, Ajami said although Mubadala has co-invested with Israeli investors in the US and Europe, closer ties between the UAE and Israel open up new significant opportunities for investments.
“We are always excited about Silicon Valley. But we are also looking at Europe, we’re looking at the Middle East, we’re looking at India and we would like to be very active in China,” Ajami said.
“We are also excited about opening a dialogue with Israel and opportunities there.”
He said the fund, which manages over $230 billion in assets worldwide, is creating the right infrastructure in Abu Dhabi to support Israeli companies’ regional growth. “Just as we did in Europe, Asia and the US we will explore and find which the best company to partner with in Israel is.”
Mubadala is among Gulf sovereign funds plowing their oil and natural gas wealth into technology to lessen their reliance on crude and help transform their economies.
In June, the wealth fund joined regional and global marquee investors in pouring billions of dollars into Jio Platform, the telecommunications and digital services business controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
The fund — formed in 2017 by the merger of Mubadala Development Co and International Petroleum Investment Co — made a $15 billion commitment to the SoftBank Vision Fund and launched a number of tech funds in the US and Europe. In March, the company joined a consortium that invested $2.25 billion in Waymo, the self-driving technology company owned by Google’s parent Alphabet. In October, the fund invested $853 million in Reliance Retail for a 1.4 per cent stake in India’s Reliance Retail Ventures.
“We made a significant investment in Jio…it is not just about telecoms but Jio is enabling hundreds of smart businesses. Look at the potential of hundreds of small businesses emerging out of these countries and their impact on the society,” said Ajami.
The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the pace of tech innovations in 2020 and has led to the emergence of new technology hubs around the world, he added.
Describing 2020 a vintage year for Mubadala, Ajami said the fund had been investing in technology for many years. ”We set up our pillars and foundations in a right way that enabled us to have one of our busiest and exciting years.”
“We invested in technology all over the world regardless of what’s happening on the global side, we are seeing the power of the tech platforms and we will continue to grow.”
Mubadala’s investment portfolio covers the aerospace, information and communications technology, semiconductor, metals and mining, petrochemicals, renewable energy, and oil and gas industries.