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Venture builder launches new $200m fund in Abu Dhabi

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Venture studios are a new way of building startups, offering both mentorship and capital
  • Partners with entrepreneurs to launch and grow new companies
  • Fintech startups are big business for UAE investors and consumers

Further, a new venture building and investment firm in Abu Dhabi, has launched a $200 million fund dedicated to co-creating ventures focused on digital assets, fintech and supply chain. 

Backed by ADQ, an Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company, Further seeks to partner with entrepreneurs as an institutional co-founder to launch and grow new ventures.

Entrepreneurs and executives who choose to launch their next venture with Further will have access to product and engineering resources for concept development; seed capital to take the business to Series A and reserved capital for following on through multiple rounds of funding.

The move is part of the growing venture building ecosystem in the UAE which saw the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) launch the Studio Launchpad earlier this year, supported by an international group of venture building experts, digital asset pioneers and emerging technology strategists. 

Last year Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, previously joined forces with New York-born Modus Capital, a venture capital and venture builder firm to launch Ventures Lab. The venture builder will enable early-stage founders from around the world to develop scalable startups from Abu Dhabi. 

The launch also comes as fintech startups have proved big business for investors and consumers in the UAE. Fintech startup funding saw steep growth in the UAE in the first half of this year, accounting for a third of all deals, well above the MENA average of 22 percent.

The UAE Venture Investment Report, by research firm Magnitt, said that the amount of funding invested in the sector rose 249 percent year-on-year to $243m in the first six months of this year.

Under its new fund, Further said its team will also provide legal and regulatory support, talent sourcing and recruitment, operations, and business development expertise with access to some of the largest organisations in the MENA region as well as venture builders globally.

In addition to launching its own ventures with founders, the firm will also establish the Further Network by actively investing in and co-creating startups with leading global venture builders.

Venture building is a relatively recent concept of producing new companies by identifying business ideas, building teams, finding capital, helping manage the ventures and providing shared services.

There are over 730 active venture studios around the world. Over 50 percent of them have launched in the past five years. 

New ventures that launch from studios experience 30 percent higher company success rates and about five percent make it to unicorn status, according to research published by the Global Startup Studio Network.

It added that venture builders are proliferating at an increasing rate.

The growth of venture studios has been well distributed around the world with Asia growing the fastest.

Europe has caught up with North America in the number of ventures studios over the past 10 years and is expected to overtake in the coming two years, according to StudioHUB, a community of startup studios, venture builders and startup factories.

Within the next decade, that number is predicted to jump to more than 3,000, with more than $100 billion in funding.

With its Studio Launchpad initiative, Dubai aims to become the leading hub for venture building in MEASA and join cities like San Francisco, New York, Berlin and Paris.

Over the next five years over 20 studios will setup in the DIFC and are expected to launch over 200 new ventures of which over 100 will be scale-ups and 10 will gain unicorn status. 

Together they will create over 8,000 innovation jobs in Dubai and attract over $544m in venture capital, according to Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC.

DIFC has broken ground on a new 150,000+ sq ft purpose-built facility that will house the Studio Launchpad team who will work alongside corporate sponsors, investors, and the new ventures they co-create.