Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – In the dynamic landscape of venture capital, one region stands out as a beacon of opportunity: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region witness a surge in entrepreneurial activity and investment potential, Shorooq Partners, the leading alternative investments manager in the MENAPT region, is doubling down on its commitment to Saudi Arabia. This strategic direction includes the appointment of Yousef Albabtain to Partner, in addition to his role as Saudi Country Manager, a pivotal step towards scaling operations, enhancing on-ground coverage for portfolio companies, and doubling the size of the team over the next few years.

At Shorooq Partners, we recognize the immense potential of the Saudi economy and  venture capital ecosystem. With a burgeoning startup scene fueled by ambitious entrepreneurs and a supportive regulatory environment, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a hotspot for innovation and investment. The Kingdom's Vision 2030 agenda, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, underscores a transformative vision to diversify the economy and foster a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Amidst this backdrop of opportunity, Shorooq Partners is proud to announce the closing of its third VC fund, Bedaya Fund II of $160m, surpassing the hard cap that was set. This fund signifies our unwavering commitment to driving growth and innovation in the MENAPT region, with a particular focus on catalyzing category-leading investments in Saudi Arabia across sectors such as fintech, deep-tech, AI and software, platforms and consumer tech.

The firm has been an early backer to some of the leading Saudi startups and has so far invested more than $ 85mm in leading Saudi tech startups such as the region’s first unicorn Tamara,  Lean Technologies, Lendo, Mozn.ai, Amwal and Penny. 

The appointment of Yousef Albabtain as Partner amplifies our dedication to Saudi Arabia's vibrant startup ecosystem. “With a deep understanding of the local market dynamics and a proven track record in identifying and nurturing high-potential ventures, Yousef brings invaluable expertise to our team. His elevation to Partner is a testament to his exceptional leadership qualities and strategic vision, aligning perfectly with our mission to support and empower visionary entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia and beyond” said Mahmoud Adi, Founding Partner, Shorooq Partners.

As we embark on this exciting journey of expansion and growth, it's essential to delve deeper into the Saudi venture capital landscape and explore the factors driving its rapid evolution.

Saudi Arabia's venture capital ecosystem is experiencing a remarkable transformation, propelled by several key factors:

Government Initiatives

The Saudi government has introduced a slew of initiatives and reforms to bolster the startup ecosystem, including the establishment of regulatory frameworks, funding programs, and incubators. Initiatives such as the Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC) and the PIF’s Fund of Funds (Jada) have played a pivotal role in providing financial support and fostering innovation.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

Saudi Arabia boasts a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, with a new generation of ambitious founders leveraging technology to disrupt traditional industries and address societal challenges. From e-commerce platforms to fintech startups, Saudi entrepreneurs are harnessing innovation to drive economic growth and social impact.

Access to Capital

The availability of funding has significantly improved in Saudi Arabia, with a growing number of venture capital firms, angel investors, and corporate accelerators actively seeking investment opportunities. This influx of capital has fueled the growth of early-stage startups and enabled them to scale rapidly.

Market Potential

With a young and tech-savvy population, Saudi Arabia presents a vast market opportunity for startups across various sectors, including e-commerce, healthcare, fintech, and logistics. As consumer behavior evolves and digital adoption accelerates, entrepreneurs are capitalizing on this untapped market potential to launch innovative solutions and services.

Strategic Partnerships

Collaboration between the public and private sectors, as well as partnerships between startups and established corporations, has become increasingly common in Saudi Arabia. These strategic alliances facilitate knowledge transfer, market access, and investment opportunities, driving ecosystem growth and innovation.

Shorooq Partners' decision to double down on investments in Saudi Arabia reflects our confidence in the kingdom's entrepreneurial ecosystem and its potential to generate outsized returns to our existing funds. With our expanded presence and Yousef Albabtain's leadership, we are poised to play a catalytic role in shaping the future of Saudi Arabia's investment landscape.

About Shorooq Partners

Founded in 2017, Shorooq Partners is the leading alternative investment manager across the Middle East and North Africa regions. The firm’s venture capital and private credit funds invest in the most innovative seed stage and early stage startups. The firm has built deep sectoral expertise in Fintech, Platforms, Software, Gaming and Web3.0. Shorooq Partners has backed market leading disruptors including Pure Harvest Smart Farms, Nymcard, Tamara, Sarwa, Lean Technologies, TruKKer, Mozn and Lendo. Since its inception, Shorooq Partners was built on the principle of being founders’ partners, company builders and value investors.

Shorooq Partners is a pan regional firm with direct and indirect presence across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh,, Egypt and Korea.

Shorooq Partners refers to a group of companies that are affiliates of each other and which operate under this business name, of which Shorooq Partners Ltd (regulated by the ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority FSRA Registration) is a member.

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Tarek Fouad