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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Dewa looks to gain with new tech investment firm in Silicon Valley

JEI Silicon Valley will identify and build new strategic relationships with R&D centres, universities and research bodies

Silicon Valley is dotted with research laboratories. Dewa's new investment firm unveiled at the Californian tech hub aims to target cutting edge start-ups. Eric Risberg / AP Photo
Silicon Valley is dotted with research laboratories. Dewa's new investment firm unveiled at the Californian tech hub aims to target cutting edge start-ups. Eric Risberg / AP Photo

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has launched Jumeirah Energy International (JEI) Silicon Valley Company, a wholly-owned investment subsidiary of Dewa designed to develop start-ups in the technology sector.

The investment company will primarily look for opportunities linked to research and development (R&D) and innovation.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, the managing director and chief executive of Dewa, unveiled the new firm at the Four Seasons Hotel - Silicon Valley, in California, together with Abdulla Alsaboosi, the consul general of the UAE in Los Angeles.

“Strategically located in Silicon Valley, JEI Silicon Valley will look for investment opportunities into start-ups with technologies that are of interest to Dewa, and establish and maintain institutional relations with venture capitalist firms and investment funds to expand the reach of Dewa’s investment portfolio," said Mr Al Tayer.

"In R&D, JEI Silicon Valley will identify and build new strategic relationships with R&D centres, universities and research bodies, promote relations with existing partners, and enable direct access to cutting-edge market and industry information to shape new projects and technology focus areas," he said.

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"As an investment company, JEI Silicon Valley will create direct links with the start-up network in Silicon Valley, California and all over the United States, allowing direct communications with start-ups."

Mr Al Tayer said Dewa is also establishing the largest government accelerator programme in the world, based on a clear framework, innovation and R&D.

"This is being done with incubators to identify solutions, and develop renewable energy technologies. We are always working to keep up with the latest international practices, to promote the UAE and Dubai, and to ensure a brighter future for generations to come,” added Mr Al Tayer.

“We are currently working to establish an R&D centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, with a total investment of Dh500 million up to 2020. The work of the centre revolves around four main areas of operation, which include the production of electricity from solar power, smart grid integration, energy efficiency, and water.

"The centre’s internal laboratories will conduct research on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 3D printing, power electronics and energy efficiency. We will also have external laboratories to test pilot projects and prototypes, conduct field tests on new equipment and technologies, with a focus on removing dust from solar panels, to efficiently produce clean energy while reducing costs," he said.

The launch supports the National Innovation Strategy to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world, Mr Al Tayer added.

Dewa is the first utility from the Middle East and North Africa to establish an investment, innovation and R&D company in Silicon Valley, he said.

"This will help make Dubai the smartest, and happiest city in the world. JEI Silicon Valley will also be instrumental in helping Dewa to achieve its vision to become a sustainable innovative world-class utility."