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.”


Saudi Agriculture Exhibition 2019 opens this week

Saudi Agriculture 2019 will have nine country pavilions and more than 380 exhibitors representing 34 countries.
Updated 2 min 56 sec ago

Saudi Agriculture Exhibition 2019 opens this week

Riyadh Exhibitions Company (REC) will organize the 38th edition of the Saudi Agriculture Exhibition 2019 under the patronage of Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, minister of environment, water and agriculture.
The event will run from Oct. 21 to 24th at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.
Fakieh Poultry Farms is the diamond sponsor, while Saudi Organic Farming Association (SOFA) and Saudi Aquaculture Society are partners of the exhibition.
Saudi Agriculture 2019 will have nine country pavilions and more than 380 exhibitors representing 34 countries.
Mohammad Al Al-Sheikh, head of marketing at REC, said: “Saudi Agriculture 2019 is a comprehensive trade fair that will feature the latest technological advancements, machinery and practices in the field of agriculture.”
He added: “This year, we expect the participation of hundreds of international and local companies in the exhibition, in addition to thousands of attendees and visitors of various nationalities.”
The theme of this year’s edition is “Agricultural Innovation for a Better Life.”
“Saudi Agriculture Exhibition 2019 aims, with the support of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, to promote the development of the Kingdom’s agricultural sector and achieve compliance to international benchmarks,” said Al-Sheikh.