STV among investors in cybersecurity startup SpiderSilk

Saudi venture capital firm STV was among the major investors in a recent $2.25 million funding round by Dubai-based cybersecurity firm SpiderSilk. (SpiderSilk)
Saudi venture capital firm STV was among the major investors in a recent $2.25 million funding round by Dubai-based cybersecurity firm SpiderSilk. (SpiderSilk)
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Updated 25 January 2021

STV among investors in cybersecurity startup SpiderSilk

Saudi venture capital firm STV was among the major investors in a recent $2.25 million funding round by Dubai-based cybersecurity firm SpiderSilk. (SpiderSilk)
  • Tech firm was also backed by Dubai-based Global Ventures

DUBAI: Saudi venture capital firm STV was among the major investors in a recent $2.25 million funding round by Dubai-based cybersecurity firm SpiderSilk.

In addition to Riyadh-based STV, the tech firm was also backed by Dubai-based Global Ventures and several international angel investors, and it plans to use the financing to expand its footprint in the Middle East and launch into the North American market.

Ahmad Al-Naimi, an investment partner at STV, was quoted as saying: “With new and increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats, there is a need for an innovative approach to cyber protection and monitoring.”

According to STV, investments into the global cybersecurity space amounted to $50 billion last year, with $2 billion of that going to the Middle East.

“At STV, we have always described ourselves as investors in ‘bridging the dichotomy between digital supply and digital demand.’ Cybersecurity is the perfect sector to demonstrate this division — despite our region being a critical market for cybersecurity vendors, it is the market with the lowest VC cybersecurity funding,” the company wrote in a blog post.

In an article in October 2020, STV said it had led 30 percent of all venture capital funding in the Kingdom since 2018.

It also claimed that, while it had $500 million in capital, its portfolio of companies, including Careem, Trukker and Tabby, had processed transactions worth over $3.7 billion and had generated revenue of $480 million.


Riyadh allows development on endowed lands as it eyes population doubling

Riyadh allows development on endowed lands as it eyes population doubling
Updated 51 min 28 sec ago

Riyadh allows development on endowed lands as it eyes population doubling

Riyadh allows development on endowed lands as it eyes population doubling
  • The decision allows planning, development, sale, purchase and other services

RIYADH: The Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh (RCRC) has lifted the suspension of development on large parts of the endowed lands north of King Salman Road, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The decision allows planning, development, sale, purchase and other services, provided that everything is compatible with the urban code of the city.
It is part of a series of measures aimed at helping the Saudi capital accommodate twice the current population by 2030, RCRC said
The commission said that Riyadh’s strategy is expected to put the city among the top ten cities in the world in terms of economy, competitiveness and quality of life by 2030.
A specialized committee has been formed to look into land affairs and the RCRC has also created a call center to improve communication with the public.

 


Saudi public debt issuance up 50% in 2020 to $43.4bn

Saudi public debt issuance up 50% in 2020 to $43.4bn
Updated 19 April 2021

Saudi public debt issuance up 50% in 2020 to $43.4bn

Saudi public debt issuance up 50% in 2020 to $43.4bn
  • The market value of stocks and debt instruments reached SR9.8 trillion by the end of 2020

RIYADH:  Saudi public debt issuance increased by nearly 50 percent in 2020 to SR163 billion ($43.4 billion), the Capital Market Authority reported.
Non-government debt issuance increased by more than 250 percent reaching SR31 billion compared to SR9 billion in 2019.  
The market value of stocks and debt instruments reached SR9.8 trillion by the end of 2020, the Authority said in its annual report.
That represented a rise of 335 percent when compared to 2017 when it launched its three-year Financial Leadership Program that ran until last year.
The Authority has been developing its strategic plan for the next three years 2021-2023 in line with updated plans to expand the Kingdom's financial sector.


DP World explores quantum computing technology to optimize business

DP World explores quantum computing technology to optimize business
Updated 19 April 2021

DP World explores quantum computing technology to optimize business

DP World explores quantum computing technology to optimize business
  • The company organized training sessions for its employees, as well as actual quantum computing coding exercises

DUBAI: Dubai’s port company DP World is exploring quantum computing technology to optimize its operations, the company said in a statement.

It said it was working with D-Wave Systems, a Canadian quantum computing company, to look at how the advanced technology can be applied to DP World’s logistics and trade business.

The company organized training sessions for its employees, as well as actual quantum computing coding exercises.

The technology, DP World said, can be applied to industrial logistics, fleet and traffic management, and other operations across the supply chain.

“Quantum computing capabilities complement our need to reach ultimate smart trade and achieve a seamless logistics infrastructure, where everything is connected, devices work in harmony, and all our operations components communicate with each other intelligently,” Mohammed Al-Muallem, DP World’s chief executive, said.

Quantum computers provide exponential processing power to solve complex problems, better than traditional computers.

The move is part of DP World’s digital push.


Mobily profits surge on home fiber business

Mobily profits surge on home fiber business
Updated 19 April 2021

Mobily profits surge on home fiber business

Mobily profits surge on home fiber business
  • The pandemic has brought mixed fortunes to the global telecoms industry, boosting some business lines such as home fiber

RIYADH: Mobily’s net profit surged by about 74 percent in the first quarter to SR226 million ($60.2 million) boosted by its home fiber business.
Overall revenues were broadly flat over the period at about SR3.6 billion, the Saudi telecoms giant said in a stock exchange filing on Monday.
The pandemic has brought mixed fortunes to the global telecoms industry, boosting some business lines such as home fiber as more people went online to shop and connect with friends on social media, but squeezing others such as international roaming charges which have shrunk as people were forced to stay at home.
The pandemic is estimated to have wiped about $43 billion from global sector revenues last year according to one study from Analysys Mason.
Mobily attributed its profit growth over the period to its fiber-to-home active base which offset the drop in international roaming.
The company also benefited from a fall in funding rates with overall financial charges dropping by almost 22 percent to SR126 million.

 


Turkey bans crypto assets over illegal transaction fears

Turkey bans crypto assets over illegal transaction fears
Updated 19 April 2021

Turkey bans crypto assets over illegal transaction fears

Turkey bans crypto assets over illegal transaction fears
  • The much-criticized move against the digital currency will come into effect on April 30

ANKARA: Turkey’s Central Bank has banned the use of crypto assets in payments as part of the country’s efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies, which have gained huge popularity in recent months.

The government has been closely monitoring cryptocurrencies for some time, alleging that extremists might use them to fund illegal activities or facilitate money laundering.

“Their use in payments may cause irreparable damages for the parties to the transactions, and include elements that may undermine the confidence in methods and instruments used currently in payments,” the bank said.

The new regulation will come into effect by April 30, but the legislation’s announcement lowered the value of Bitcoin by more than 4 percent on Friday.

Besides forbidding crypto  payments for buying goods and services, the regulation also bans transferring money to cryptocurrency platforms via fintech systems. But many investors in Turkey view Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a shelter against inflation, with the lira facing a significant devaluation against foreign currencies due to the country’s financial volatility.

The lira has lost about half of its value since the 2018 currency crisis.

Increasing inflation rates, which reached a six-month high last month of 16 percent, as well as official unemployment rates hitting 13.4 percent are making people turn to cryptocurrency to gain money and compensate their losses with stable assets.

The booming business of cryptocurrencies has replaced Turks’ rush for gold and real estate as a hedge against the struggling lira and rising interest rates. This new digital money is mostly used by the country’s tech savvy younger population, which is seeking to protect its livelihood against Turkey’s recent economic troubles.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Turkey bans crypto payments for buying goods and services.

• The regulation also forbids transferring money to cryptocurrency platforms via fintech systems.

• Many investors in Turkey view Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a shelter against inflation.

The government’s crypto asset ban drew anger from domestic investors. About 100,000 tweets were sent from Turkey-based social media accounts in one day criticizing the legislation.

The country’s main opposition Peoples’ Republican Party (CHP) also criticized the government’s midnight move against cryptocurrency use. 

“Rather than issuing a midnight legislation, you should have decided on such sensitive issues after consulting all relevant parties,” CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said.

Regulation in the field of cryptocurrencies was not a new debate for Turkey, where the government expected to achieve some political goals from blockchain technology, according to Dr. Mehmet Bedii Kaya, an expert of IT law at Istanbul Bilgi University.

The government, in line with its 11th Development Plan, was set to implement a digital central bank based on blockchain technologies.

“On the other hand, there is a significant number of Turkish citizens who use cryptocurrencies for short and long-term gains,” Kaya told Arab News. “I think that this latest regulation has been prepared with a quick reflex, without considering the potential financial losses it might generate with the wave of resulting misinformation.”

Kaya said that payment institutions were already under the close supervision of the Central Bank. “These fintech institutions, which are active in the cryptocurrency market, are very innovative and dynamic. Therefore the Turkish state considered this dynamism as a risk and source of complexity. However, these key players shouldn’t have been disqualified.”

After Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced it was now possible to buy Tesla vehicles in the US with Bitcoin, an Istanbul-based luxury car distributor called Royal Motors began accepting payments in cryptocurrencies last week.

Crypto trading volumes hit $27 billion between early February to March 24, according to data analyzed by Reuters, while trading gained momentum especially after the Central Bank governor was dismissed by presidential decree and further weakened the lira.

Last week, the Turkish government asked crypto trading platforms to provide it with user information.