Khalifa University of Science and Technology today announced the launch of ‘Khalifa University Enterprises Company - KUEC’, which will act as the business and investment arm of the University. The new company is backed by an endowment of AED100-million.

KUEC will include ‘Innovation Acceleration and Startups’ and ‘KU Ventures’, which will support establishing and operating non-IP technology companies. KUEC also includes the Endowment Fund that will allocate funds for investments and operations.

The mission of KUEC is to boost and speed up business engagement with the University to accelerate innovation and create impact on the University's scientific research assets and resources. Furthermore, KUEC will also aim to encourage technology investors and entrepreneurs to partner with the University to commercialize its growing patent portfolio in areas such as energy, advanced manufacturing, health, artificial intelligence and robotics through creation of technology startups.

Established and structured in consultation with three partners, KUEC will leverage the support of the leading asset manager, BlackRock, and global financial services leader JPMorgan. On the innovation side, Techstars will play a pivotal role in growth and scaling of UAE startups.

BlackRock will invest the endowment assets on behalf of KUEC in a diversified global portfolio, while J.P. Morgan will provide custodial services to KUEC, supporting the asset management part of the endowment. Techstars will focus on reviewing Khalifa University’s patents, conducting research to identify commercial suitability and viability, as well as in market assessment and validation that will then lead to development of prototypes and use cases.

KUEC will work in collaboration and partnership with Khalifa University’s Technology Management and Innovation Office to help generate commercial outputs of University intellectual property and introduce university spin-outs to the market. Similarly, KUEC will work with the University’s Finance and Business Development Office to ensure external partners and entities benefit from university resources and assets.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, said: “The Khalifa University Enterprises Company will usher in a new research-education-economy ecosystem paradigm in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the region. In line with the best practices of some of the globally high-ranked universities which have similar companies to maximize their economic development mission, we have launched this new entity not only to work within our mandate and benefit the country and the region, but most importantly to realize the vision of our leaders in creating a knowledge-based economy. The intellectual, innovation and financial revenue coming out of KUEC will advance and enhance the University’s mission in research and innovation.”

Paschalis Bouchoris, Managing Director, Country Head for BlackRock in Dubai, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the university with this endowment. The commitment to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship will inevitably benefit not just the students, but also the broader economy. We thoroughly look forward to watching the endowment flourish.”

Bouchoris’ responsibilities include BlackRock's business operations, strategy and senior client relationships across the Middle East (ex-Saudi) region. In his previous role at BlackRock since May 2015 he led the activity of Financial Market Advisory (FMA) in Southeastern Europe and Middle East and served as a senior oversight in multiple client engagements with financial and official institutions focusing on risk management and policy advisory, capital markets, asset valuations and transactions.

"J.P. Morgan has been providing custodial services to some of the most prestigious University endowments and foundations for many years, and we are delighted that the Khalifa University Enterprise Company has selected us to partner with them for this important initiative." – Timothy Peters, head of Securities Services CEEMEA at J.P. Morgan.

"Techstars' global reach coupled with our passion of supporting the development of entrepreneurs, provides a highly engaged experience to unlock their entrepreneurial potential as we support these teams through validating and invalidating their theories to launch new ventures for growth" said Esther Lim, Director of Engagement for Techstars.

Leading global universities have played a vital role in translating intellectual property into successful business ventures. According to PitchBook, a research and technology company covering private capital markets, between 2006 and 2017, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) produced 907 company founders as alumni or current students, creating 780 companies – the third most among all universities in the world. An earlier MIT study in 2015 reported that 30,000 companies founded by MIT alumni were active as of 2014, employing 4.6 million people and producing annual revenues of US$1.9 trillion, equivalent to the world’s 10th largest economy.

The newly launched Khalifa University Enterprises Company is expected to work along similar lines, encouraging innovation and stimulating the creation of technology startups while further motivating students and alumni to explore entrepreneurship based on university research outputs.