The Aramco Entrepreneurship Center, also known as Wa’ed, has already spent $60 million as venture capital investments for Saudi startups this year as the country steadily diversifies its economy, disclosed a top official.
Speaking on the sidelines of the second edition of the Fintech Accelerator Program in Riyadh, Fahad Alidi, the CEO of Aramco Entrepreneurship Center, said that Wa’ed had during the event granted seed funding of SR50,000 ($13,312) each to three fintech startup firms.
Alidi added that the organization had awarded at least SR150 million in venture capital to fintech firms over the past few years.
He further stated that Wa’ed had increased its ticket size from $5 million to $20 million to target later-stage funding rounds to partner with founders from the concept phase to the initial public offering.
According to him, Saudi Arabia’s fintech companies are growing at a very accelerated pace.
“These fintech companies continue to innovate. They continue to ride on the ease of regulations. As a result, they make my life, your life and everyone’s life much easier,” he said.
During the interview, Alidi said that besides fintech, various other sectors had shown an appetite for considerable growth in the Kingdom.
“There are opportunities in some sectors that we believe should receive more attention. From our end, we have been investing in the Internet of Things. We are very interested in IoT,” Alidi told Arab News.
The official said the organization had awarded at least SR150 million in venture capital to fintech firms over the past few years.
He added: “We hope to see a pick up in sustainability, metaverse and Web 3.0 applications. We also hope to see more attention given to what we call underserved domains.”
Wa’ed is also keen on supporting startups entering the Saudi ecosystem to fuel growth in line with the Vision 2030 blueprint.
“We are with you from your first investment, from ideas throughout your growth journey until your IPO. So, we always present ourselves as your partner from the idea stage to the unicorn or the IPO,” he further added.