KAUST startup UnitX secures $2m investment

From left, Dr. Ravi Samtaney, UnitX co-founder; Mohammed Ghawanni, UnitX product engineer; Kiran Narayanan, UnitX co-founder; and Ankita Shree, UnitX co-founder.
Updated 12 October 2019

KAUST startup UnitX secures $2m investment

UnitX, an artificial intelligence (AI) and supercomputing startup spin-out company from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and a barrier-breaking cloud-based supercomputing provider that helps enterprises deploy AI at scale, has secured $2 million of co-investment from the KAUST Innovation Fund and Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures fund.

This injection of joint funding will support UnitX in its quest to democratize supercomputing and help enterprises of all sizes leverage technologies such as high-performance data analytics to make data-driven decisions, reduce IT spending, innovate and become globally competitive. 

Successful AI adoption requires scale: The infrastructure to perform both big compute (trillions of calculations per second), and big data (analysis of data in excess of 2 terabytes) tasks. Modern supercomputers are specialized machines that process both tasks efficiently, at much higher speeds compared to public clouds. However, they can cost tens of millions of dollars to own and operate. UnitX democratizes supercomputing via partnerships with institutions that have spare supercomputing capacity and by making it available in an easy-to-use cloud model to its clients in traditionally underserved industry verticals, in Saudi Arabia and beyond. 

Tamer Osman, head of the KAUST Innovation Fund, said: “UnitX is bridging a new frontier in advancing big compute power and making it more accessible to sectors that have previously been unable to access the benefits of supercomputing. At KAUST, we are actively investing in startups and technology that are shaping industry 4.0, and UnitX is a deep tech startup at the forefront of this revolution.”

Salman T. Jaffrey, chief investment officer at Wa’ed Ventures and incoming board member on UnitX, praised the efforts and ambition of UnitX’s cofounders — Kiran Narayanan, Ravi Samtaney, Ankita Shree, and Salman Kattan.

“We are thrilled to have led this investment with KAUST, which is testament to our fund’s inimitable approach on fueling the growth of Kingdom-based startups and shared vision of advancing the Saudi venture ecosystem,” Jaffrey said.

According to figures from IDC, the market for supercomputing demand is currently valued at $224 billion with a projected 25 percent year-on-year growth.

UnitX co-founder and CEO Narayanan said: “UnitX is excited to have Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures and the KAUST Innovation Fund onboard as investors.” 

She added: “UnitX is an agile company. We are breaking the barriers of skill and access to supercomputers — which are traditionally expensive beyond the reach of most companies — and partnering with institutions that have unused supercomputing power. We then make this spare capacity available to the companies on our platform in a manner that is easy to use.”


IWC Schaffhausen opens new boutique in Riyadh

Updated 05 July 2020

IWC Schaffhausen opens new boutique in Riyadh

Swiss luxury watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has launched a new boutique at Mode Al-Faisaliah Mall in Riyadh. Known for their timeless innovation and technical ingenuity, IWC’s latest addition to its client experience-centric boutiques in the region has opened in partnership with Attar United. The store is strategically located in the capital city’s ultimate luxury retail destination.

“At Mode Al-Faisaliah IWC Boutique, watch enthusiasts and collectors can expect to embark on a memorable shopping experience with personalized attention from client advisers who focus on every discerning customer’s requirement,” a statement said.

“Guests can discover our latest Portugieser collection with novelties such as The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42. With storytelling at the core of the brand and its numerous successful partnerships, each experience at the boutique is interesting and educational from the moment you walk through the doors until the end of every visit. With the aim of catering to the needs of every trusted client and prospective new customer in Riyadh, the Mode Al-Faisaliah boutique is committed to making every exciting and emotional journey of buying an IWC Schaffhausen watch, a special one.”

Stretching across 110 square meters over a single story, the boutique will house limited-edition timepieces. The store pays homage to the brand’s expertise and craftsmanship in watchmaking. Every corner of the new boutique is designed by IWC Schaffhausen’s in-house architects and aesthetically aligns with the brand’s unique identity, which is seen through personalized touches, finishes and textures including soft beige hues and dark wooden accents. This offers both a masculine and welcoming atmosphere that is the perfect setting to showcase IWC Schaffhausen timepieces.

“IWC is excited to unveil this new boutique in Saudi Arabia with our partner Attar United. We consider the Saudi market to be one with strong growth potential and have been eagerly awaiting this boutique opening for a long time. The layout of the space is centered around luxury with a cozy feeling, to make it welcoming to all customers and keep them at ease. With shoppers in Saudi wanting more close and trusted brand relationships, the arrival of this new boutique falls in line with IWC Schaffhausen’s pivotal goal to foster strong client loyalty,” said Mehdi Rajan, regional brand director of IWC Schaffhausen for the Middle East, India and Africa.

CEO of Attar United Company Mohammed Saddik Attar said: “Our partnership with the Swiss watchmaking brand, IWC Schaffhausen, is one that is of great importance to us as this signifies the first of many collaborations in the booming landscape of luxury boutiques opening in the Kingdom.”

With a growing community of loyal customers, collectors and fans in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is indeed an ideal location for IWC Schaffhausen.