RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is backing a Middle East venture-capital fund run by Hambro Perks Ltd., joining the trend for state investors in the region to put money into early-stage companies, according to Al Arabiya citing Bloomberg.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia is an anchor investor in the $50 million Oryx Fund, which will target fintech, health and education technology startups across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to Dominic Perks, co-founder of London-based venture firm Hambro Perks.
Oryx is the first Western venture-capital fund to get backing from PIF, which made the investment through its Jada unit, according to a statement from Hambro Perks. Other investors include Saudi Venture Capital Co. and Riyadh Valley Co.
Data from Preqin showed that venture capital funds concentrating on Middle East and Africa have raised just $11.7 billion since 2016.
The investment in the Oryx fund “underlines our belief in the strong potential of venture capital in Saudi,” Jada Chief Executive Officer Adel Al Ateeq said in a statement.
Started in 2014, Hambro Perks has taken stakes in companies including personal wealth apps and a Muslim dating service.