King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has become a member of the Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (VCPEA), an industry body representing the Kingdom’s venture capital sector.
The partnership will allow KAUST Innovation Ventures, the only university-based deep-tech investment fund in Saudi Arabia, to continue supporting the Kingdom’s emerging deep tech startup ecosystem.
Entrepreneurship is a key initiative of Vision 2030 to diversify the economy.
According to a report by Magnitt, 2020 was a record year for the Saudi startup ecosystem, with venture capital funding increasing by 55 percent to $152 million, despite COVID-19.
E-commerce saw the most significant number of investments, accounting for 45 percent of deals.
KAUST’s membership will enable its venture fund to accelerate the development of a deep-tech, early-stage pipeline of startups into this growing ecosystem.
Vice president of Innovation at KAUST, Kevin Cullen Deep, said that tech startups could be difficult for investors. They are often at greater risk and require more time and patience to bring a technology market and a return on investment.
“Our mission is to support these founders as they work towards solving some of the future’s most intractable challenges. This partnership with VCPEA and the access to its incredible venture capital investment network will enable KAUST to grow this ecosystem,” he said in a statement that Asharq Al-Awsat received a copy of.
CEO of VCPEA Qusai al-Saif explained that VCPEA’s goal of encouraging and stimulating venture capital and private equity investment is uniquely aligned with KAUST’s mission of supporting entrepreneurs and fostering their technological innovation from ideas to commercialization.
KAUST will benefit VCPEA by opening avenues into investing in technology aimed at scientific advances in sectors such as AgriTech, aerospace, energy and clean-tech, robotics, and advanced materials.