ADIO’s $545mln Innovation Program diversifies Abu Dhabi’s Economy

By Salma C, Intern Reporter
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ADIO and COFE App Officials at partnership agreement signing ceremony

With the latest acquisition of Kuwait-based COFE App, Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has completed $272 million (AED 1 billion) worth of partnership programs as part of its $545 million (AED 2 billion) Innovation Program since its 2020 launch.

ADIO’s Innovation Program is fueling the development and diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy, led by an innovation ecosystem in which Innovation Program companies create technological solutions to benefit the region and beyond. The partnership program operates in high-growth, tech-focused industries, with 13 in the information & communications technology (ICT) sector, 9 in agriculture technology (AgTech), 8 in health services & biopharma, and 7 in financial services.

Mr. Mohamed Al Dhaheri, ADIO Business Enterprise, Acting Executive Director stated that “ADIO’s Innovation Program is attracting approximately two new fast-growth tech companies to Abu Dhabi every month. Its success speaks to the emirate’s commitment to building an environment where businesses can come together to ideate, collaborate and create.

“Our 37 Innovation Program 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 AED 1 billion of incentives ready to be allocated through the program, we look forward to welcoming many more innovative companies to our forward-looking community where they can make a real impact globally,” Mr. Al Dhaheri added.

Earlier Canadian Fairwater Capital, US-based Frontera Capital, and other 37 companies partnered in ADIO’s $545 million (AED 2 billion) Innovation Program.

Fairwater Capital and Frontera Capital are financial services companies that will advance financial innovation in and from Abu Dhabi. The emirate provides a great base and a gateway for financial services companies to expand, serving as a bridge between time zones, while providing a favorable regulatory environment via the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

Mr. 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. Fairwater Capital is focused on the constant evolution of our team, investment process, and developing strategies to systematically deliver consistent alpha to investors. At the core of this evolution are research and data. 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 center of quantitative research and data.”

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

Frontera Capital founder and CEO Mr. Vicente Pons stated that “At Frontera Capital, we deploy market-leading research in frontier markets’ debt and FX markets to identify and structure investment opportunities for institutional investors globally. With an extensive global reach, we considered several other financial centers 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. ADIO has also shown a strong commitment to support the continuing expansion of our business locally, which will have specific tangible benefits for the ADGM ecosystem in terms of its financial services capabilities and infrastructure, as well as facilitating the financial development of frontier markets generally.”

Under the partnership with ADIO, COFE App, the state-of-the-art coffee-centric application for the beverage market, will relocate its HQ to Abu Dhabi, where the startup will continue expanding the coffee marketplace and place a further foothold in the beverage and tech ecosystem.

The incentives from ADIO will enable COFE App to capture and maximize growth opportunities within the region and beyond. The partnership will also help COFE App increase focus on attracting and retaining leading talent in the industry that is going to further amplify their growth.

COFE App Founder and CEO, Mr. Ali Al Ebrahim, remarked that “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.”

In recent months, ADIO’s Innovation Program partnership has enabled companies such as the Arab world’s leading music streaming platform Anghami, cloud management firm Bespin Global, and video streaming service STARZPLAY to establish headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

Since 2020, ADIO has established 37 company partnerships and built an ecosystem where partner companies can collaborate with Abu Dhabi entities to develop locally relevant and globally exportable solutions. The technologies created by the Innovation Program companies in the emirate are contributing to the emirate’s economic diversification.

Related: Europe’s IDnow expands to MidEast with office in DIFC Innovation Hub