UAE's Mubadala ready to double down on tech as part of SoftBank Vision Fund

  • Mubadala CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak told CNBC the firm was currently looking at investment opportunities in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and e-commerce
  • Unveiled less than a year ago, the SoftBank Vision Fund has already become one of the largest tech funds in the world
  • Abu Dhabi's state fund is actively searching for ways to gain exposure to lucrative technology firms

A sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is seeking to ramp up its investment capital in one of the world's biggest technology funds.

The Mubadala Fund, which is based in Abu Dhabi, is searching for ways to convert oil money into tech money. CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak told CNBC the firm was currently looking at investment opportunities in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and e-commerce.

When asked about Mubadala's investments as part of the SoftBank Vision Fund to date, Al Mubarak said: "We have done more than 20 transactions since we entered into this partnership, all of which we are very excited about."

SoftBank Vision Fund

Unveiled less than a year ago, the SoftBank Vision Fund has already become one of the largest tech funds in the world. By May, the fund had closed $93 billion in capital, and it hopes to raise $100 billion by the end of 2017.

Saudi Arabia is the most prominent investor into the Vision Fund, followed by SoftBank. Other investors include Mubadala, Apple, Foxconn, Sharp and Qualcomm.

The logo of Japanese mobile provider SoftBank is displayed at an entrance of a shop in Tokyo's shopping district Ginza on February 8, 2017.
Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images
The logo of Japanese mobile provider SoftBank is displayed at an entrance of a shop in Tokyo's shopping district Ginza on February 8, 2017.

Mubadala's CEO said the company had been following the performance of SoftBank for more than three decades, adding that the Japanese tech giant had a "very strong track record" with previous investments.

However, while SoftBank's previous investments were certainly relevant, Al Mubarak said the key for the UAE's state fund was to find the "right assets at a risk-acceptable valuation."

Switching oil for tech

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and home to around 6 percent of the world's proven oil reserves, is looking to reduce its reliance on crude after prices collapsed in recent years. Instead, Mubadala is actively searching for ways to gain exposure to lucrative technology firms.

In an effort to diversify away from a heavy reliance on oil, the UAE government has slashed expenditure and merged some state-owned firms. Earlier this year, Mubadala merged with International Petroleum Investment Co to become the world's 14th largest fund, according to data published by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

The government-owned fund reportedly manages approximately $125 billion in assets.