Abu Dhabi said Sunday (March 24) that it will invest as much as $272 million to go toward technology startups, reported Reuters.
According to a report in Reuters citing Abu Dhabi, the investment is part of the country’s efforts to diversify the economy. The report noted that Microsoft will become a strategic partner with Abu Dhabi, giving companies that join a hub in the country access to technology and cloud services. The efforts are part of plan to reduce the country’s dependence on oil revenue to boost the economy. As it stands, the economy in the country derives 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and around 90 percent of the government’s revenue from hydrocarbon.
Under the new program which is being called Hub 71, a fund will be launched to invest in startups. The aim is to have 100 companies invested in during the next three to five years. SoftBank will take part in the hub and will provide support for companies expanding.
The investments come as SoftBank is becoming a big player in technology investments, spending billions to back tech startups across the globe. Case in point, earlier this month SoftBank announced it was rolling out a $2 billion fund that would invest in Latin American technology companies. With the fund, it is moving beyond the Vision Technology Fund that already invests in tech startups. SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure will be in charge of the fund, with SoftBank committing an initial $2 billion. It will serve as the new fund’s general partner. “There is so much innovation and disruption taking place in the region and I believe the business opportunities have never been stronger,” said Claure in a statement at the time. Claure is the executive chairman of SoftBank’s Sprint Corp. The new fund plans to invest in technology companies across Latin America, going after the same industries and sectors that SoftBank already invests in. That includes eCommerce, FinTech and healthcare.