Saudi Arabia-based investment firm Alkhabeer Capital has announced the launch of a new business unit that will focus on funding start-up businesses in the Kingdom and across the region.
The company said that its new arm Alkhabeer Ventures will concentrate on businesses that can fuel the growth of Saudi’s economy through job creation and technology transfer.
Alkhabeer Ventures complements Alkhabeer Capital’s existing investment profile, the company said in a statement.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has an energetic, entrepreneurial and inherently ambitious young population with an obvious predisposition to new technologies,” said Khalid Suleimani, head of Alkhabeer Ventures.
“However, until now, there has been little in the way of private sector support, in terms of funding. The launch of Alkhabeer Ventures will change that.
“We will invest in, structure and support highly scalable startup businesses by filling the gap between seed and expansion investment stages.”
He added that Alkhabeer Ventures will target the technology, mobile, e-commerce, news media and social media sectors in addition to businesses within new and disruptive technology segments such as 3D imaging, wearables, and Internet of things (IoT).
Saudi Arabia has been pushing to develop a startup culture in a bid to lower its burgeoning unemployment rate.
In line with that, many major companies in the Kingdom have a venture capital arm that provides funding to SMEs in the country.
Aramco Entrepreneurship Centre, established by state oil major Saudi Aramco in 2011, has funded up to 43 ventures across sectors such as manufacturing, education and information technology in the last three years.
Many Saudi firms also assist regional start-ups looking to expand in the country.
Recently, Dubai-based start-up Careem received $10 million in funding from Saudi Arabia-based Al Tayyar Travel Group, STC Ventures and other regional investors to expand its operations in the Kingdom.