Qatar to invest billions in British green technology start-ups

Gulf state in talks with VCs and private equity about creating multi-billion fund to create five green tech unicorns by 2030

UPDATED: Qatar has teamed up with engineering giant Rolls-Royce to launch a fund pump priming billions of pound of investment into new green engineering projects.

The Gulf state is planning to build a new science and engineering campus in the north of England for start-ups to test and develop green technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, according to the Sunday Times.

The target is to create five “unicorn” companies — start-ups worth $1bn — by 2030 and up to 20 by 2040.

The fund will act like a venture capitalist, taking equity stakes in the projects, alongside venture capital firms and private equity.

>See also: Rishi Sunak pushes for pension funds to invest in tech start-ups

Rolls-Royce will take stakes in some too, as well as make its laboratory and manufacturing resources available to start-ups.

It is hoped that the campus alone – its actual location in the north of England has yet to be decided, although Newcastle is seen as a frontrunner – with create 1,000 direct jobs, with thousands of other jobs spinning off from it.

If the project goes ahead, the two partners would launch a feasibility study to find a site in England, most likely in the north-east or north-west. The study would be completed by the middle of next year.

>See also: UK creating technology unicorns at rate of one a week

Although Qatar owns or has shares in iconic British brands and landmarks including Harrods, Barclays, Sainsbury’s and Canary Wharf, the fund will be run by the not-for-profit Qatar Foundation.

The deal was announced at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow on Monday.

Further reading

Government offers £1.4bn match funding for foreign tech investment