ADIO expands Abu Dhabi’s economy with Dhs1b now allocated to 37 firms


Innovation Programme companies operate in high-growth and tech-focused industries. WAM

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has kicked off 2022 with three new Innovation Programme partnerships, bringing total incentives awarded to date to Dhs1 billion ($272 million). Fairwater Capital, Frontera Capital and COFE App join a total of 37 companies benefitting from ADIO’s Dhs2 billion ($545 million) Innovation Programme since its 2020 launch.

Innovation Programme companies operate in high-growth, tech-focused industries, with 13 in the information & communications technology (ICT) sector, nine in agriculture technology (AgTech), eight in health services & biopharma and seven in financial services. The programme is fuelling the development and diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy, led by an innovation ecosystem in which Innovation Programme companies create technological solutions to benefit the region and beyond.

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

Our 37 Innovation Programme 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 Dhs1 billion of incentives ready to be allocated through the programme, we look forward to welcoming many more innovative companies to our forward-looking community where they can make a real impact globally.” As part of the Innovation Programme, ADIO has awarded Fairwater Capital, Frontera Capital and COFE competitive financial incentives, including rebates on highly-skilled payroll and allowances and high-tech CAPEX, as well as non-financial incentives, such as support with establishment processes and ecosystem engagement.

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 favourable regulatory environment via the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

Fairwater Capital was founded in London as a multi-strategy investment manager. ADIO’s partnerships will enable Fairwater Capital to set up its global quantitative research hub, global data centre and operations hub in ADGM to support and expand the range of its investment strategies including credit and renewables.

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 is 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 centre of quantitative research and data.” Frontera Capital is a boutique investment firm which 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.

Vicente Pons, CEO and founder of Frontera Capital, said: “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 centres 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.” COFE App is a state-of-the-art coffee-centric application for the beverage market, that provides quick access to a wide range of international coffee franchises and artisanal coffee brands through multiple premium services and features on one platform. COFE App provides 360-degree solutions to coffee lovers looking for a smart way to grab their daily coffee.

The partnership with ADIO will see COFE App relocate its global HQ to Abu Dhabi, where the startup will continue expanding the coffee marketplace and place further foothold in the beverage and tech ecosystem.


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