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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 27 February 2021

Mubadala leads $700m funding round for US tech start-up

Investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and Oaktree also joined the fund raising round
Khaldoon Al Mubarak , group chief executive of Mubadala Development Company. The firm on Thursday said it led the funding round for US tech start-up Reef Technology. Pawan Singh / The National 

Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi's strategic investment arm, led a $700 million funding round for start-up Reef Technology as it continues to pivot its portfolio to the technology sector.

Investors including SoftBank Vision Fund, Oaktree, UBS and Target Global joined the funding round, Mubadala said on Twitter.

Reef provides technology solutions to turn underutilised urban spaces such as parking lots into neighbourhood hubs. The redesigned spaces could be used for businesses such as cloud kitchens, retail units or even Covid-19 testing facilities. 

The company, which started out by providing technology solutions to manage parking lots, employs 15,000 people and operates in about 4,500 locations.

Reef is also growing its presence in Europe, in addition to its locations in the US and Canada.

The Miami-based firm was valued at $1 billion when SoftBank acquired a stake in 2018.

Mubadala, with its $232bn asset base spanning six continents, is looking to boost its investments in the technology sector as it diversifies its portfolio. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the Abu Dhabi-based investment company's pivot to new technology sectors as it looks to enter new territories, group chief executive Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in September.

Even before the pandemic, Mubadala was increasing its investment in renewable energy, energy storage, mobility, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence and connectivity. However, it is now increasingly looking to invest in health care sector and MedTech with the pandemic augmenting the industry's potential.

Last month, Mubadala and Novo Holdings, invested €250m ($295m) in drug discovery and development firm Evotec.

Earlier this week, Mubadala took a minority stake in a local artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 after transferring ownership of two information technology companies it owns to the firm.

Injazat and Khazna Data Centres, part of Mubadala’s information, communications and technology portfolio, are being transferred to G42 as part of the deal, the company said in a November 2 statement.

Mubadala also invested in a French healthcare technology company through its €400m ($470m) venture capital fund in July. Total investment in Owkin, a company that applies federated learning techniques to medical research, was $18m.

Federated learning is a form of decentralised machine learning.

Mubadala also committed $15bn to Softbank's first Vision Fund and has its own technology funds in the US, Europe and the Middle East.

In March, the company joined a consortium that invested $2.25bn in Waymo, the self-driving technology company owned by Google’s parent Alphabet. It is also investing $1.2bn in Jio Platforms, the digital business unit of India's Reliance Industries.

Mubadala’s investment portfolio covers the aerospace, information and communications technology, semiconductor, metals and mining, petrochemicals, renewable energy and oil and gas industries.

Updated: November 5, 2020 04:11 PM

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