Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, has awarded up to $2.04 million in new seed funding to four startups in the Kingdom.
The funding was revealed during the final Wa’ed 2021 Entrepreneurship Roadshow stop in Makkah. With this, Wa’ed has now provided more than $11.62 million in financial aid to 28 Saudi entrepreneurs throughout the entire roadshow campaign.
“By supporting the most disruptive and tech-focused Saudi-based startups and opening applications to all qualified entrepreneurs, Wa’ed’s Entrepreneurship roadshow represented the ideal platform to showcase emerging innovations led by younger entrepreneurs, and the perfect opportunity for Wa’ed to provide them with the needed financial and entrepreneurial support to grow.”
Organized in partnership with Wadi Makkah Ventures, the investment joint stock company fully owned by Umm Al Qura University, the sixth and final stop in Wa’ed’s roadshow involved tech-focused startups from various sectors.
Wa’ed also recommended a seed grant for $19,992 to the startup Slates, which is a web browser extension that allows people to save, organize and share their internet discoveries in collections.
CensorIT, a platform that focuses on increasing efficiency and scalability, was awarded $13,328, while Naseej Market, a creative online marketplace that connects shoppers with local artists, designers, and small businesses, received $6,664.
Created as a wholly-owned venture of Aramco in 2011, Wa’ed has disbursed more than $106 million in venture capital investment, loans and incubation services to more than 100 kingdom-based startups.
Startups in Saudi Arabia have attracted a record $168 million worth of venture capital funding through 54 transactions in the first half of 2021, according to data platform Magnitt. This is about 94 percent of the money extended to the country’s startups in 2020.