Angel investors network in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain signs deal with Dubai tech startups hub

Angel investors network in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain signs deal with Dubai tech startups hub
More than 900 startups from 72 countries are hosted at Dtec in Dubai Silicon Oasis. (WAM)
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Updated 16 March 2021

Angel investors network in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain signs deal with Dubai tech startups hub

Angel investors network in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain signs deal with Dubai tech startups hub
  • The startup scene in the region is thriving as governments seek to make it easier for startups to access funding and advice

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and Bahrain’s leading early-stage investors group has signed an initial agreement with a hub for technology startups in Dubai to boost investment ventures in the region.
OQAL Angel Investors Network signed the agreement with Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (Dtec) to support young entrepreneurs in the Gulf, giving them access to angel investors, experts, and other specialists to help them develop their ideas.
The MoU outlines a support program for Dtec-based entrepreneurs who will be encouraged to pitch and participate in joint demo day events.
“The agreement supports entrepreneurs in Dtec and the wider UAE. It also opens new financing opportunities for them, especially in the fields of new technology and work trends based on technology solutions and innovative applications,” said William Chappell, executive vice president for technology and entrepreneurship at Dubai Silicon Oasis, where Dtec is based.
The startup scene in the region is thriving as governments seek to make it easier for startups to access funding and advice as they focus on growing their non-oil economies.
“Access to early-stage smart capital and angel investment is key to help nurture startups, and our partnership with Dtec, a strong backer of UAE and regional startups is invaluable,” Faris Al-Rashid, chair of OQAL, said.
More than 900 startups from 72 countries are hosted at Dtec, which is pegged as the largest tech hub and co-working space in the MENA region.


Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers
Getty Images
Updated 32 sec ago

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers
  • Both companies have had to repeatedly pause production at some factories due to a lack of chips

The global semiconductor chip shortage worsened and severely hampered carmakers costing Volkswagen and Stellantis a combined 1.4 million vehicles in lost production in the third quarter, Europe's two biggest carmakers said on Thursday.


That led to a 27 percent drop in shipments for Stellantis, a loss of around 600,000 vehicles, which was created at the start of the year from Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot-Citroen.

The chips are the processors needed in multiple systems in both traditional and electric cars.


Volkswagen AG, Europe's top car company and also the world's No. 2, cut its outlook for deliveries, toned down sales expectations and warned of cost cuts as it reported lower-than-expected quarterly operating profit.


The German company said it had made around 800,000 fewer cars, or about 35 percent less than in the same quarter in 2020.


At Volkswagen the drop in customer deliveries was 24 percent and at GM nearly a third. Ford saw a 27 percent sales drop.


"The level of shortage was slightly higher than we expected in August," acknowledged Stellantis's chief financial officer, Richard Palmer.


The company had already said chip shortages had prevented it from making 700,000 vehicles in the first half of the year.


Meanwhile, Volkswagen said that "the global semiconductor bottlenecks particularly impacted" its performance in the third quarter.


Both companies have had to repeatedly pause production at some factories due to a lack of chips.


Volkswagen, which had previously been forecasting a rise in the number of vehicles it sells, said it now it expects them to be in line with 2020 figures.


But the industry was "through the worst" of the chip crisis, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in the conference call, predicting the situation would improve in the fourth quarter even if "constraints" continued into 2022.


That view is widely shared by his rivals. 


GM chief Mary Barra said Wednesday that the company has seen "some improvement" in semiconductor availability, with more expected in the first quarter of 2022, although the situation "continues to be somewhat volatile."


In the first half of 2022, "We'll still see impact from the semiconductor shortage," she said, but "we think it will get better towards the end of the year."


Chip availability "markedly improved" in the third quarter from the prior period, even as supply "remains a challenge," Ford said in its earnings release.


"We see it continuing into 2022," Ford Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said on an analyst conference call, adding that the problem could persist into 2023.

Globally, the shortage of computer chips could block the production of 7.7 million vehicles, according to AlixPartners consultancy.


That would result in 180 billion euros ($210 billion) in lost revenue.


Carmakers' sales figures were better than their production data as they have been able to stop discounting vehicles or even raise prices.


Stellantis kept its drop in revenue to 14 percent. It did not provide profit figures, but confirmed its forecast of an annual operating margin around 10 percent.


At VW, sales revenue dipped only 4 percent, thanks in part to a strong performance by its high-end brands. But its operating profit fell by 12 percent and its mass-market brands, including VW, suffered an overall operating loss.


At GM, profits fell 41 percent following a 24 percent drop in revenues amid a broad-based shortfall in sales in all markets and across models.


At Ford, revenues slid just five percent, even if the net profit fell by 23 percent. But Ford lifted its full-year operating profit forecast and said its board voted to reinstate a dividend.


Only Tesla has emerged unscathed, both boosting production in the third quarter and posting record profits.

Its vehicles use fewer chips and it said it was able to adapt to using different ones that were available.


As investors pushed its share price higher the company joined a select club of companies which boast a stock market valuation of over $1 trillion.


Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers
Getty Images
Updated 34 sec ago

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers

Chip shortage puts a brake on auto industry; hits Europe's biggest carmakers
  • Both companies have had to repeatedly pause production at some factories due to a lack of chips

The global semiconductor chip shortage worsened and severely hampered carmakers costing Volkswagen and Stellantis a combined 1.4 million vehicles in lost production in the third quarter, Europe's two biggest carmakers said on Thursday.


That led to a 27 percent drop in shipments for Stellantis, a loss of around 600,000 vehicles, which was created at the start of the year from Fiat-Chrysler and Peugeot-Citroen.

The chips are the processors needed in multiple systems in both traditional and electric cars.


Volkswagen AG, Europe's top car company and also the world's No. 2, cut its outlook for deliveries, toned down sales expectations and warned of cost cuts as it reported lower-than-expected quarterly operating profit.


The German company said it had made around 800,000 fewer cars, or about 35 percent less than in the same quarter in 2020.


At Volkswagen the drop in customer deliveries was 24 percent and at GM nearly a third. Ford saw a 27 percent sales drop.


"The level of shortage was slightly higher than we expected in August," acknowledged Stellantis's chief financial officer, Richard Palmer.


The company had already said chip shortages had prevented it from making 700,000 vehicles in the first half of the year.


Meanwhile, Volkswagen said that "the global semiconductor bottlenecks particularly impacted" its performance in the third quarter.


Both companies have had to repeatedly pause production at some factories due to a lack of chips.


Volkswagen, which had previously been forecasting a rise in the number of vehicles it sells, said it now it expects them to be in line with 2020 figures.


But the industry was "through the worst" of the chip crisis, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in the conference call, predicting the situation would improve in the fourth quarter even if "constraints" continued into 2022.


That view is widely shared by his rivals. 


GM chief Mary Barra said Wednesday that the company has seen "some improvement" in semiconductor availability, with more expected in the first quarter of 2022, although the situation "continues to be somewhat volatile."


In the first half of 2022, "We'll still see impact from the semiconductor shortage," she said, but "we think it will get better towards the end of the year."


Chip availability "markedly improved" in the third quarter from the prior period, even as supply "remains a challenge," Ford said in its earnings release.


"We see it continuing into 2022," Ford Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said on an analyst conference call, adding that the problem could persist into 2023.

Globally, the shortage of computer chips could block the production of 7.7 million vehicles, according to AlixPartners consultancy.


That would result in 180 billion euros ($210 billion) in lost revenue.


Carmakers' sales figures were better than their production data as they have been able to stop discounting vehicles or even raise prices.


Stellantis kept its drop in revenue to 14 percent. It did not provide profit figures, but confirmed its forecast of an annual operating margin around 10 percent.


At VW, sales revenue dipped only 4 percent, thanks in part to a strong performance by its high-end brands. But its operating profit fell by 12 percent and its mass-market brands, including VW, suffered an overall operating loss.


At GM, profits fell 41 percent following a 24 percent drop in revenues amid a broad-based shortfall in sales in all markets and across models.


At Ford, revenues slid just five percent, even if the net profit fell by 23 percent. But Ford lifted its full-year operating profit forecast and said its board voted to reinstate a dividend.


Only Tesla has emerged unscathed, both boosting production in the third quarter and posting record profits.

Its vehicles use fewer chips and it said it was able to adapt to using different ones that were available.


As investors pushed its share price higher the company joined a select club of companies which boast a stock market valuation of over $1 trillion.


Lucid Motors CEO wants signature electric vehicle ‘in the $70k price point’

Lucid Motors CEO wants signature electric vehicle ‘in the $70k price point’
Updated 9 min 53 sec ago

Lucid Motors CEO wants signature electric vehicle ‘in the $70k price point’

Lucid Motors CEO wants signature electric vehicle ‘in the $70k price point’

Saudi-backed Lucid Motors is aiming to offer a “pure version” of its Air model at around $70,000, the CEO of the electric vehicle company has said.

During a presentation at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Peter Rawlinson set out the ambitions for his company, which the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund poured $1 billion into in April 2019 - giving it a 67 per cent stake in the firm.

Rawlinson talked up the efficiency of his company’s vehicles, as he flagged up the US’s EPA ratings standard placing six Lucid vehicles as having the largest range for electric motors. 

Turning to costs to customers, he said: “Right now the Dream edition car is $169,000. My dream is to get to a pure version of Lucid Air in the $70,000 price point.”

Rawlinson used much of his speech to delegates to focus on the efficiency battle between his company and rival firm Tesla.

“The future will be defined by a tech race between the companies that adopt and embrace EV technology and that’s why I would believe Tesla’s value today of over $1 trillion is based on its technological prowess,” he said. 

He went on to say that other manufacturers deliver low-efficiency cars as they do not design them in-house, but instead are “just buying a load of motors and battery technology and software off-the-shelf.”

Last month it was announced that Lucid will start producing vehicles in Saudi Arabia by 2024.


Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO
Updated 28 October 2021

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Investors in the digital health industry will see a return of up to 35 percent every year for the next decade, according to the head of a global technology firm.

Peter Ohnemus, president and CEO of Zurich-based dacadoo, talked up the rise of the sector during a discussion on investing in medical innovations at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad.

He said that the global value of the digitial health industry for 2021 has been estimated at $26billion, but it is forecast to grow to $238.9 billion industry within seven years.

He said: “From an investment perspective going forward over the next ten years will provide a very high return. 

“The integrated digital health sector will create a 30-35 percent return every year over the next decade.”

Ohnemus said that healthcare providers needed to make it simpler for people to understand what they needed to do to stave off chronic illnesses, and the cost implications of developing such conditions. 

Another CEO, Ali Parsa from London-based Babylon Health, also flagged up the costs involved in what he dubbed the “sick caring industry”, saying: “70 percent of all expenditure goes to predictable preventable diseases.”


SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021

 SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021
Updated 28 October 2021

SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021

 SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021
  • The chairman reiterated the bank’s efforts to support Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) recorded a seismic leap of 157 percent in net profit after Zakat and income tax of SR2.8 billion ($750m) for the first 9 months of 2021, compared to the loss of SR4.8 billion in the same period last year. 

“It is worth reiterating that we are in the investment phase of our newly announced five-year strategic plan, where we will be taking the necessary steps to develop the Bank into an institution fit to meet the future needs of our customers,” chairman of SABB, Lubna Olayan, said.

“We are investing considerably across the business front-to-back, to ensure that we remain relevant and can create a sustainable banking organization,” she added.  

The chairman reiterated the bank’s efforts to support Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan and unlock the opportunities brought by the economic transformation plans.