Khalifa University unveils new investment arm backed by $27.2mn endowment

By Arya M Nair, Intern Reporter
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Khalifa University
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UAE’s Khalifa University of Science and Technology announced the launch of Khalifa University Enterprises Company (KUEC), funded by an endowment of $27.2 million, which will act as the business and investment arm of the University.

KUEC will include initiatives such as ‘Innovation Acceleration and Startups’ and ‘KU Ventures,’ which will assist in the establishment and operation of non-IP technology companies. It also includes the Endowment Fund that will allocate funding for investments and operations. 

KUEC’s mission is to increase and expedite business interactions with the university, accelerate innovation, and create a positive impact on the university’s scientific research assets and resources. It also seeks to attract technology investors and entrepreneurs to collaborate with the university to commercialize its growing patent portfolio in energy, advanced manufacturing, health, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi
Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi
Executive VP – KU

“The KUEC will usher in a new research-education-economy ecosystem paradigm in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the region. We have launched this new entity, not only to work within our mandate and benefit the country and the region but, most importantly, to realize the vision of our leaders in creating a knowledge-based economy. The intellectual, innovation and financial revenue coming out of KUEC will advance and enhance the University’s mission in research and innovation.”

The company is founded and structured with three partners, including the leading asset manager, BlackRock and global financial services leader JPMorgan. On the innovation side, Techstars will play a pivotal role in the growth and scaling of UAE startups.

BlackRock will invest the endowment assets on behalf of KUEC in a diversified global portfolio, while J.P. Morgan will provide custodial services, supporting the asset management part of the endowment. Techstars will focus on reviewing Khalifa University’s patents, conducting research to identify commercial suitability and viability, as well as in market assessments and validation that will then lead to the development of prototypes and use cases.

KUEC will partner with Khalifa University’s Technology Management and Innovation Office to develop commercial outputs of University intellectual property and introduce university spin-outs to the market. Similarly, it will work with the University’s Finance and Business Development Office to ensure that external partners and entities benefit from university resources and assets.

Related: Khalifa Fund rolls out “Access to Experts” to boost business performance