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Qatar: Emirate funds hi-tech future

UK venture capital firm Oxford Capital Partners and Qatar National Bank and its private banking subsidiary Ansbacher Group have teamed up to form Qatar Capital Partners (QCP), a venture capital business in the Gulf state.

Last September the consortium won the mandate to run two funds for the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), designed to establish Qatar as a centre for technological innovation.

Qatar is looking to emulate the success of the US, where 10% of GDP and 11% of all jobs are generated by venture capital investments. "If Qatar gets the venture capital model right, which I think it will, there’s nothing to stop it from becoming a global centre for technology," says Mikko Suonenlathi, general manager of QCP in Doha.

QCP will manage the New Enterprise Fund and Technology Venture Fund, which will invest in science and technology companies based in the QSTP. "The vision is for Qatar’s knowledge economy to operate on a global scale, so it was important for the fund managers we chose to have international reach as well as local knowledge." says Eulian Roberts, chief executive of the QSTP.

The $30 million New Enterprise Fund will provide seed and early stage capital with a focus on moving technology from the lab bench to the marketplace.

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