Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) today announced plans to set up a $100 mln fund for financing start-ups at an event inaugurating Krypto Labs - a new business incubator and accelerator at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

“Krypto Labs is an incubator of innovative ideas, and Abu Dhabi Financial Group is the financing and investment arm for this accelerator. We will launch a $100 million venture capital fund to support the unique business proposals of early-stage start-ups,” Jassim Alseddiqi, the chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Financial Group (AFG) told reporters at the event.

“Each successful start-up will receive between $50,000 to $1 million as seed funds and we will be angel investors in these projects,” he added.

The incubator is open to applications for venture capital funding in return for a negotiated investment in the start-up.

Krypto Labs is a 30,000 square-feet facility that will act as a virtual incubator and co-working space for entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world with new product or service ideas. The accelerator offers additional facilities to tenants that include an E-library, technical workshop, a 3D printing lab, high-end telescope, around 100 desks to rent, an on-site mentoring area, and an audio-visual studio.

'Fast pace of execution'
“The completion of the entire project took almost one year, and that shows the fast pace of execution at Masdar City,” Dr. Saleh Al Hashemi, managing director of Krypto Labs told Zawya at the sidelines of the event. “The concept of Krypto Labs started around two years back, but we decided to go ahead and start with the ecosystem one year ago.”

 Dr Al Hashemi added: “ADFG was affiliated with us from the beginning of the project. The group believes in technology and that growth will happen by investing in that area, so you have to put your stamp there and not stick to what is typical in the UAE like asset management,” he added.

ADFG is an Abu Dhabi-based firm with a global asset portfolio of more than $6 billion invested in real estate, stocks, bonds and a variety of other ventures such as Dubai-based asset manager Shuaa Capital. The group is now expanding into new geographies and asset classes.

In August this year, Krypto Labs launched a startup contest that led to entries being submitted by contestants from all over the world.

“We launched a contest and we received 2,000 applications from 75 different countries in just 50 days,” Alseddiqi said. “The winner will receive a seed fund of $250,000 which is considered a good amount for startups at the early stage phase.”

He added that the aim with Krypto Labs was not just to build a local incubator, but a global one.

“The highest number of applicants to the contest we launched was from India, followed by the United States of America, followed by Egypt and then the UAE,” he added.

© ZAWYA 2017