SR450 million venture capital fund to support digital projects

SR450 million venture capital fund to support digital projects
Updated 24 December 2015

SR450 million venture capital fund to support digital projects

SR450 million venture capital fund to support digital projects

RIYADH: Prince Turki bin Saud bin Muhammad, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), recently launched a SR450 million venture capital fund to finance promising entrepreneurial digital initiatives and projects in the Kingdom.
The prince announced the launch of Riyadh Taqnia Capital at the Arabnet conference which concluded here last week.
“This fund is one of many measures KACST has taken to promote entrepreneurship and innovation on the march to achieve Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s vision to transform Saudi economy to a knowledge-based one by establishing the appropriate infrastructure in the country,” he said, at the launching ceremony.
“The fund is an outcome of more three years of constant efforts, talks and negotiations that led to the an strategic elaboration of  a number of business giants in the Kingdom to create this fund. It will target the promising technological and innovative projects that have the potential to yield financial outcome as this will be the main criteria in addition to its developmental impact on the communiy,” he added.
The collaborators include the KACST subsidiary Taqnia company, Riyad Financial Capital, General Investment Fund, General Pension Fund, and Human Resources Development Fund.
Though the final goal is the benefit of the Kingdom, the new fund will operate internally and externally with focus on promising small and medium size innovative projects in the field of information communication and  technology(ICT).
Internally, it will work to locate  investment opportunities in ICT that show economic viability that have diversification potential under ambitious administrative teams, while the externally, it will focus on investing in the capitals of ICT growing companies that have intellectual properties and expansion capabilities.
The fund has streamlined its target markets according to three phases.
In the first phase, it will target all markets and in the second the target will be  Kingdom market. Markets in developed countries will be targeted in the third phase.
The fund will have its headquarters in the Economical Gate district in north of Riyadh. Meanwhile, it will run a representative office at Menlo Park in the US, the world hub for venture capitals.
Speaking to Arab News, Ahmad Abdulrazzaq Omar, professor at Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh and an expert on youth entrepreneurship, said that the launch of the fund is big step toward achieving the knowledge-based economy as many emerging entrepreneurial small and medium size business lack sufficient funding in the Kingdom.
“The  availability of such a fund will help them move forward and flourish and thus contributing to  the existence of knowledge based economy. It is really a unique step in this field in the Kingdom,” he said.