Four startups – including three e-commerce companies and a HealthTech firm – a leading global accelerator and a venture capital fund will invest up to $608.25 million in Saudi Arabia, creating 2,400 jobs.

The new licences were announced by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment (MISA) at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress from March 27 to 30, and are evidence of the kingdom’s burgeoning start-up and venture capital ecosystem.

Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Investment, said: “As the world continues to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, entrepreneurs are shaping our ‘new normal’. In Saudi Arabia the start-up scene is thriving, and there is enormous potential for venture capitalists.

“An enhanced regulatory environment and our recently launched National Investment Strategy are unleashing opportunities not previously available in the kingdom and these new investments are a result of the economic transformation happening now under Vision 2030.”

The new deals

The deals announced include a fund value of $375 million by imVentures, a venture capital fund that offers venture lending as well as equity. It will create 500 new jobs.

PLUGANDPLAY, the world's largest early-stage investor, accelerator, and corporate innovation platform will have a fund size of $93.75 million and providing 50 new jobs.

A direct investment of $50 million by Cartlow, a leading re-commerce startup, which offers pre-owned, refurbished, open box and clearance products that are tested and certified by experts. It will create 500 new jobs.

Soum, an AI powered C2C market place for second-hand products, will invest $15 million and 500 new jobs.

Rabbitmart, an on-demand ultra-fast delivery company with the promise of delivering groceries and other goods under 20 minutes will invest $52.5 million and provide 700 new jobs.

Smileneo, a health tech company enabling doctors to be part of the digitalisation of teeth straightening will invest $22 million and create 150 new jobs.

Supporting startups

At the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, MISA also announced the signing of three MoUs with Saudi entities Monshaat and the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence and to further support startups in the kingdom and foster entrepeneurship.

The deals and MoUs announced by MISA are the latest demonstration of the Ministry’s commitment to supporting and growing the kingdom’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, and follows last week’s announcement of a partnership with JADA Fund of Funds to stimulate the kingdom’s flourishing start-up sector through a new ‘Catalyse Saudi’ engagement platform.

The Global Entrepreneurship Congress is an inter-disciplinary gathering of startup champions from around the world, ranging from entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, thought leaders, and policymakers, to share and strengthen new approaches to empower entrepreneurs and increase innovation.

Entrepreneurial ecosystem

Under a theme of ‘Reboot, Rethink, Regenerate: Building One Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem’, the annual GEC event was attended by leaders from across the kingdom’s government, illustrating its collaborative approach to boosting the Saudi entrepreneurialism ecosystem.

Over four days, participants explored the role of entrepreneurs in the technology, tourism, mobility and sports sectors as the world adapts their economies to changes in consumer behaviour.-- TradeArabia News Service

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