Saudi tech startups raise over $12.79m in 2017

Nawaf Al-Sahhaf
Updated 23 January 2018

Saudi tech startups raise over $12.79m in 2017

Technology startups incubated by the Badir Program, one of the main initiatives of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), have successfully raised more than SR48 million ($12.79 million) during the year 2017.
This was through 15 funding deals led by supporting venture capital firms, individual investors’ networks and governmental institutions, recording a 64 percent increase in comparison with the previous year.
Funding by venture capital firms amounted to SR34.5 million approximately, which was divided into five startups. Individual investors funded eight companies with SR11.89 million, while funding by the Social Development Bank reached SR1.9 million approximately in the form of loans presented for the benefit of two startups.
As a result of the “Demo Day” event organized by the Badir Program three times a year for the purpose of joining startups with investors, the concluded deals amounted to half of the number of investment funding deals after announcing eight deals amounting to SR12.4 million approximately. Seven deals were concluded outside the competitive enterprises showcase with an overall value of SR35.8 million approximately.
It is likely that the overall size of investment funding of startups will increase after disclosing the results of the third edition of the “Demo Day” event, which was held last month.
“Demo Day” aims at presenting, studying and facilitating the funding of promising investment opportunities among the technology startups incubated by Badir.
Nawaf Al-Sahhaf, CEO of the Badir Program for Technology Incubators, said that several factors have contributed in increasing the size of funding this year, namely the rise in the number of funding and risk investment companies, lending platforms and individual investor networks, which have become increasingly active recently.
“Disclosing the deals of funding startups will result in raising awareness and transparency in relation to the funding environment within the local market, especially with the persistence of the funding gap affecting and hindering the companies in turning from an emerging company to complete commercial businesses capable of attracting investment capitals,” he said.
“We look forward to supporting startups which have the basic factors that enable them to make quantitative changes in the main technology sectors,” Al-Sahhaf added.


Future Hospitality Summit eyes tourism recovery

Updated 28 September 2020

Future Hospitality Summit eyes tourism recovery

Future Hospitality Summit, a hybrid virtual conference to explore big ideas and tackle the challenges facing the hospitality industry, is set to take place live from Riyadh and around the world, on Oct. 26 and 27. It is organized by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism and the G20 Saudi Secretariat, as part of the International Conferences’ Programme, honoring the G20 Saudi presidency year 2020.

The event, which promises to be one of the most impactful gatherings of the world’s hospitality community, will be delivered on Bench Digital’s tried-and-tested digital event platform, providing an immersive live experience, including a virtual exhibition, one-to-one video networking, and integrated chat features for all participants.

A comprehensive three-pillar program has been developed in collaboration with industry creators, innovators and mentors, with particular focus on understanding the new landscape, collaborating and assessing opportunities, and innovating to recreate the industry’s future. Arne Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International; Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival Corporation; Gloria Guevara, CEO and president, WTTC; Jerry Inzerillo, CEO, Diriyah Gate Development Authority; and Anita Mendiratta, special advisory to the secretary general, UNWTO; are lined up as featured speakers, along with over 100 other speakers and thousands of attendees.

“As a country that is at the forefront of the tourism sector’s response and recovery plans through the G20 presidency, Saudi Arabia is leading the conversation on the future of tourism and will provide an international platform to bring the industry together at the Future Hospitality Summit. Together, we will map out the rebuilding of the tourism and travel sector and strategically plan a sustainable future for stakeholders at every level,” said Mahmoud Abdulhadi, deputy minister for investment at the Saudi Ministry of Tourism.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman and founder of Bench Digital, added: “During this difficult time, it is vital that hospitality professionals across the globe come together as a community to work toward the recovery of our industry. Future Hospitality Summit will not only provide a powerful platform to network virtually, showcase best practice and demonstrate thought leadership, but it will also prove invaluable in ensuring that the industry emerges stronger as a whole from these unprecedented challenges.”

Empowering tomorrow’s workforce and attracting talent into the hospitality sector — imperative factors in sustaining the industry — will be two of the key focus points of the hybrid summit. Developing a skilled workforce is paramount in order to quickly evolve and keep pace with the demand being created from the hospitality sector. In Saudi Arabia, for example, 253 new hotels are coming online by 2030. Consequently, Future Hospitality Summit is a forum to engage with the hospitality workforce of the future and promote the sector as an attractive career path.