Saudi Aramco’s venture arm invests in US cloud startup Wasabi

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
  • Follow author on
Saudi Aramco
Representational Image

The venture capital arm of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil-exporting company, is investing in US-based cloud storage startup Wasabi Technologies.

Wasabi Chief Executive Officer Mr. David Friend remarked that one of Aramco’s funds, Prosperity7 Ventures, is contributing to a $25 million follow-on investment alongside American Western Digital’s venture capital arm.

Mr. David Friend declined to say how much Aramco invested. He co-founded Carbonite, a data backup company that was sold to Open Text of Canada for $800 million in 2019.

Wasabi is aiming to take on Amazon Web Services’ storage product S3, which Mr. Friend referred to as the industry standard, by attempting to be less expensive and quicker.

Wasabi previously raised $112 million in a round led by financial services corporation Fidelity Management and Research last month. According to Mr. Friend, the company was valued at $700 million in that round and has now earned around $244 million.

Mr. Daniel Flynn, President, and Treasurer of Western Digital said in a statement that, the world’s largest manufacturer of hard disc drives, invested in the company because cloud data storage aligns with its strategy.

According to its website, Prosperity7, a $1 billion diversified venture capital fund, is part of Aramco ventures. It is named after Saudi Arabia’s seventh oil well, which was discovered in the 1930s and produced oil.

Mr. Friend said that Aramco uses a lot of data to model oil wells.

“Aramco is always on the lookout for technologies that could be beneficial to their exploration business. They have a mountain of data they need to store,” Mr. Friend added.

Wasabi now has a presence in the Middle East, which Mr. Friend described as a modern and rapidly developing market.

Mr. Friend added that it is unknown if Wasabi would enter the Saudi market, that Aramco did not seek approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US because his legal advisers said that it was not needed for this investment.

Related: Saudi Arabia in talks to sell 1% stake in Aramco; Crown Prince