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Sil­i­con Val­ley is syn­ony­mous with tech in­no­va­tion over a wide swath of in­dus­tries. But to­day it’s vi­tal to be as com­fort­able op­er­at­ing in Kuala Lumpur as in Cu­per­tino. Can the “in­sider cul­ture” that has fu­eled so many Bay Area star­tups go global? For Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ven­tures, the an­swer is a re­sound­ing “yes.” Mubadala has been a lead­ing in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment firm for 15 years, and has been in­vest­ing heav­ily in tech over the past decade. Now, the group is mak­ing an am­bi­tious bid to build a net­work of star­tups with a truly global mind-set. “The fields of tech­nol­ogy and ven­ture cap­i­tal are evolv­ing,” Ajami says. “Sil­i­con Val­ley in­vestors are great at what they do, but the world is a big place, and in­vestors like Mubadala and Softbank will play a key role in trans­form­ing the tech world in com­ing years.” With a new of­fice in San Fran­cisco and a com­mit­ment to help­ing young com­pa­nies find their global foot­ing, Mubadala is back­ing up that pre­dic­tion—and the tech com­mu­nity is pay­ing at­ten­tion. Says Ajami: “It’s res­onat­ing with startup founders who are say­ing, ‘I’m ready to ex­pand glob­ally, and I need strong part­ners to help us and could ben­e­fit from an in­vestor who has strong lo­cal pres­ence with a global net­work.’” One such com­pany is Color Ge­nomics, a med­i­cal di­ag­nos­tic tool man­u­fac­turer. “We started Color to take things that were thought of as be­ing in­cred­i­bly ex­pen­sive and hard, and do­ing them at large scale in a sim­pler way that uses more modern tech­nol­ogy,” says Oth­man Laraki, Color’s CEO. Laraki un­der­stands that the ap­peal of such life­sav­ing tech­nol­ogy is global and, while the com­pany had no trou­ble at­tract­ing in­vestors, he says that Mubadala brought some­thing unique to the ta­ble. “We thought a lot about our in­ter­na­tional strat­egy and what kind of part­ner­ships would help us ex­pand, and we felt that they would bring a dif­fer­ent DNA into our team,” he says. Color launched in Abu Dhabi in Septem­ber, thanks in large part to con­nec­tions made through Mubadala. Equally at­trac­tive to Laraki was the mar­riage of this global net­work with lo­cal ex­per­tise. “One thing that the Mubadala team has done was un­der­stand­ing the Sil­i­con Val­ley– style dili­gence process,” he says. “Most in­vest­ment groups out­side the Val­ley have a hard time with that.” Mubadala’s global out­look doesn’t mean it’s not pay­ing at­ten­tion to what’s hap­pen­ing in the Val­ley, how­ever. The San Fran­cisco of­fice it opened this year demon­strates its com­mit­ment to the world’s most vi­tal tech hub. “Noth­ing is more im­pact­ful for a founder than know­ing that his in­vestor is as com­mit­ted to the busi­ness as he or she is,” Ajami says. “That deep con­nec­tion to the founder is why we are on the ground.” With a lo­cal foot­print and global reach, Mubadala is ready to part­ner with the next gen­er­a­tion of in­no­va­tors to bring life-chang­ing tech to mar­kets around the world. As Ajami says, “Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate what the power of this global ac­cess can do for Sil­i­con Val­ley.”

PLANET ROCK “Mubadala will play a key role in trans­form­ing the tech world in com­ing years,” says Ibra­ham Ajami, head of Mubadala Ven­tures.

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