Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: In a significant move to bolster the Saudi start-up ecosystem, MSA Novo has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). This partnership underscores MSA Novo’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia.

“This strategic collaboration will leverage our global network and KAUST’s research capabilities to accelerate innovation within the Kingdom. MSA Novo has always been at the forefront of bringing leading global technologies to Saudi Arabia that meet strategic demand, and our partnership with KAUST further solidifies that platform to bring global innovation to Saudi Arabia through the Kingdom’s preeminent research university, allowing us to build world-class technologies domestically,” said Ben Harburg, Managing Partner at MSA Novo.

MSA Novo’s partnership with KAUST will significantly impact the local start-up landscape. By focusing on joint investment initiatives and developing new start-up accelerator programmes, MSA Novo aims to support the growth of emerging companies and foster technological advancements in alignment with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

"KAUST is supporting a wave of innovation in Saudi Arabia, transforming the economy and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship. We are grateful to our investor partners for their support and vision, helping us build a vibrant ecosystem,” said Vice President of National Transformation Initiative at KAUST, Ian Campbell.

Key areas of collaboration outlined in the MoU include:

Joint Investment and Accelerator Initiatives: Establishing a joint investment strategy and collaborating on flagship start-up acceleration and incubation programmes to support emerging companies, particularly in cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence.
Access to Research and Mentorship: Gaining access to research and innovations from KAUST’s departments and providing mentorship and advisory services through MSA’s partners and industry experts to enhance the growth of university portfolio companies.
Entrepreneurship Education and Talent Development: Designing and implementing entrepreneurship education programmes, developing internship programmes, and creating a talent pipeline by providing students with hands-on start-up experience within MSA’s portfolio.
Technology Transfer and Industry-Specific Hubs: Collaborating with the Technology Transfer Office to facilitate the transfer of intellectual property and establishing industry-specific innovation hubs or labs to foster collaboration between start-ups and established companies.
Joint Events and Corporate Partnerships: Hosting joint events, conferences, and forums to bring together key stakeholders, and facilitating partnerships between start-ups and established corporations within KAUST and MSA’s networks. This dynamic collaboration is set to ignite a spark of mutual growth and innovation, promising exciting opportunities for all involved.

By fostering collaborations and leveraging global technologies, MSA Novo and KAUST are set to drive significant economic growth and technological advancement in the Kingdom.

About MSA Novo

MSA Novo, is a multi-stage global emerging markets-focused venture capital firm. MSA provides global best practices and institutional support to their portfolio companies to enable them to scale to become regional leaders and has consistently been a catalyst in bridging strategic initiatives between China and MENA leveraging their heritage fund, MSA Capital. Their portfolio includes 50+ companies across 14 different countries in LATAM, Africa, MENA and India, in companies like NuBank (NYSE:NU), Uber (NYSE: UBER), Boss Zhipin (NASDAQ:BZ), NIO (NASDAQ: NIO), Tabby, Zid, Sary, Klarna, Swvl.

For more information, please contact:
Sara Asad
Sylvie Kastoun

About KAUST 

KAUST, Saudi Arabia’s leading science and technology research university, unites the best minds in a culture of invention, providing a catalyst for the discoveries, innovations and technologies that will shape tomorrow for the good of KSA and the world.

KAUST is on a journey to create a new model of university for the 21st century, based on global partnerships, research, and invention. KAUST attracts and offers unique opportunities to world leading academic and research talent truly allowing them to innovate.

KAUST plays an active role in accelerating impact and innovation in the areas of Health and Wellness, Energy and Industrial Leadership, Sustainable Environment and Supply of Essential Needs and Economies of the Future under Vision 2030 and the Research, Development, and Innovation Ecosystem (RDI).

For additional information, visit www.kaust.edu.sa.