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.


Huawei ICT Competition opens to students in KSA

Updated 28 October 2020

Huawei ICT Competition opens to students in KSA

Huawei is now running the 4th edition of its flagship annual ICT competition in Saudi Arabia to support the next generation of leaders for an intelligent world, in line with government national plans and strategies.

The Huawei ICT Competition underpins technology utilization and aims to support socioeconomic development by bolstering the overall ICT ecosystem through local talent. Such individuals can in turn help the Kingdom achieve its national development plans and ambitious visions for more sustainable knowledge-based economies. This year’s competition is being held in partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).

From October to December, thousands of undergraduate students are expected to participate in the competition, which is being held virtually for the first time due to physical distancing measures. All university students in the Kingdom can take part in this competition.

Ibrahim bin Nasser Al-Nasser, general director of the Digital Innovation Center at MCIT, said: “The ICT sector is a significant national industry promoting Saudi Arabia’s global competitiveness and economic strength. Private sector programs like the Huawei ICT Competition are highly valued in supporting these ambitions, developing indigenous innovation overall while nurturing a supportive environment for the ICT sector in particular.”

Faisal bin Ayyad Al-Otaibi, director general of HR at Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia, said: “Empowering the Kingdom’s youth with global knowledge and new skills plays a key role in the future of socioeconomic growth. Huawei is committed to expanding the ICT value chain in Saudi Arabia through local talent and building open ecosystems ... Moreover, by offering participants access to online exchanges and learning, we can create more equal opportunities for quality education, enabling more people to benefit from the digital economy.”

Zhao Liuqing, minister counselor for economic and commercial affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia, added: “Saudi Arabia has long been our partner in many endeavors, and we value this relationship immensely. By working together on initiatives such as talent development and the evolution of the ICT sector, we can create new value for both of our societies.”

The training and competition tracks for this year — held under the theme “Connection, Glory, Future” — focus on advanced technologies such as 5G, AI, cloud computing, and data storage, facilitating connections between international talent.

This year will also see the introduction of the Huawei Innovation Competition, held in parallel to the ICT competition. It focuses on supporting undergraduate students and teachers in using innovative technologies such as AI, cloud computing, and big data to create valuable and meaningful applications for society.

Winners of the regional competitions will receive a certification, future learning opportunities, a $20,000 cash prize, and more.

In the past years, over 7,100 students from across the Kingdom applied for the Middle East ICT Competition from leading colleges and universities. The competition was supported by ministries, various ambassadors, and academic chancellors from some of Saudi Arabia’s top-ranking universities. 

Three teams participated in the ICT competition, and traveled to China to compete at Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China, where they came in third place in the competition.