Venture capital (VC) deals for start-ups in Saudi Arabia surged to record levels in the first half of the year, making the kingdom one of the most active venture capital markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to MAGNiTT.

A total of SAR2.19 billion ($584 million) in funds were deployed into Saudi start-ups between January and June this year, up by 244 percent compared to a year earlier, the venture data platform said.

Saudi Arabia is now the second-most active VC market in the region, MAGNiTT said, citing that the number of deals rose by 36 percent to 79 during the same period.

The kingdom has also maintained its position as the second-most funded market in MENA.

During the first half of 2022, 88 investors participated in deals closed by Saudi start-ups, up by 126 percent compared to the previous year.

In 2018, the kingdom set up Saudi Venture Capital (SVC), a state-run venture capital with $1 billion in assets under management.

According to Nabeel Koshak, CEO and Board Member at SVC, the establishment of SVC has "directly contributed to the development of the VC ecosystem" in Saudi Arabia by "stimulating investment in funds and co-investment in start-ups with angel investor groups and fund managers".

"The kingdom has achieved record growth in venture investment over the past few years, and within the framework of the kingdom's Vision 2030, many new initiatives have been launched recently to stimulate venture investment," he said.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria )