Israeli Viola Group is launching a center in Abu Dhabi - Will employ development workers


by Ifi Reporter Category:Financial Jun 14, 2023

The Israeli Viola Group, which invests in about 150 startups, is launching a center in Abu Dhabi that will employ development workers for technology companies from around the world. This is an unusual step for Viola, whose main activity is the company's venture capital funds.
The project is a collaboration of the group together with two local entities: ADIO, the Emirati Ministry of Investment, and G42, a technology company from Abu Dhabi, which deals in artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Both entities already employ hundreds of technological workers in the region, and they are the ones who will be responsible for recruiting the workforce. According to Viola, the goal is for the venture - Global Valley, which is located in the center of G42 in Abu Dhabi - to become the largest employer of technological personnel in the region, with thousands of employees.
Viola invested "several million dollars" in the venture, according to the group, and this is a new branch of activity separate from the company's venture capital funds, "similar to other activities that Viola has established in recent years together with strategic partners, such as the Generation fund for infrastructure investments."
According to the group, "Abu Dhabi's investment office will make available to Global Valley significant resources that will enable finding skilled personnel around the world and in the emirates (including in Eastern Europe where many Israeli companies usually open representative offices). Several leading Israeli companies in various fields of gaming, cyber have already signed with the center and more, and local entities that will establish development centers based on the personnel recruited by the project."
According to Avi Zaevi, a founding partner in the Viola Group, "We started working on the project after the signing of the Abraham Agreements, thinking strategically that technological cooperation between Israel and the Emirates could bring good things with it. The cooperation was forged following quite frequent visits by various partners in the Viola Group with officials Emiratis who strive to promote the technological sector in the region. One of the ideas that came up is to establish a center that will employ local and global technological personnel, in a stable and important country for the global ecosystem."
At the time when the global high-tech joint venture was at its peak, huge investments flowed into the sector in Israel and around the world, and there was an acute need for technological manpower. Many Israeli companies were, more than ever, looking for "off-shore" solutions - recruiting skilled personnel abroad. Viola also tried to come to the aid of startups that had difficulty recruiting personnel, and among other things recruited a partner who specializes in recruiting high-tech executives.
Technological activity in the Emirates has distinct advantages: the region is considered attractive for technological personnel from various countries in the world, including Eastern Europe, India, and Arab countries. The salary is lower than in Israel, the flight time is relatively short, and there are great benefits from the government in the Emirates. However, there are also clear disadvantages such as the dependence on the government sector, and the fact that it is not a liberal democracy. Also, the high-tech bubble burst, and the need for technological personnel decreased significantly.
Zavi says about this that "We are in a period of economic upheaval, but we believe that this is the time to invest in infrastructure that will enable technology companies to grow in the future. In the last year and a half, many preparations have been made for this to be successful. It involves very large investments, but we are long-term players." On the question of why a venture capital fund chooses to engage in such a venture, he says that "Viola is a group that has venture capital funds, which are invested in close to 150 companies. So we have interests beyond a specific fund or a specific company. We initiated this as the managing body and not on behalf of anyone from the funds. It is a business venture that has a connection to our portfolio companies but also to the general ecosystem. It is not intended to serve only them.
"Until now, Israeli companies have employed outside of Israel, mainly in Eastern Europe. We provide a very high-quality alternative here, in a much more stable area, and this is also important for our companies that want to look at long-term development centers. In the future, we are interested in developing the center so that it deals with the sale of products and establishes partnerships with Local operations. Already today there are Israeli companies that sell software and other services to entities in the Emirates."



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