RIYADH: The entrepreneurship arm of Saudi Aramco, Wa’ed, has invested $1.5 million in a Saudi blockchain technology provider which helps recruiters to spot fraudulent professional qualifications.
Dhahran-based IR4LAB is one of the first companies of its kind in the Kingdom offering firms a way to determine the validity of proficiency claims made in job applications when recruiting new employees.
Created in 2017, the startup plans to use the new cash injection to expand its DocCerts product offering.
The Saudi Council of Engineers said it detected more than 2,799 cases of fraud last year from non-Saudi job applicants falsely claiming professional certificates.
Abdullah Al-Baiz, Saudi Aramco’s chief digital officer, said: “Blockchain digital platforms such as IR4LAB’s give employers a greater degree of certainty that certification for a job candidate is legitimate, which can accelerate employment decision making. There are many other deployment opportunities for such technology.”
Majd Al-Afifi, CEO and co-founder of IR4LAB, said: “Blockchain is a transformative digital technology, and we are proud to help the Kingdom stay at the forefront of this change. Our goal is to bring home the benefits of blockchain digital solutions to Saudis across the Kingdom.”
Wa’ed was established by Saudi Aramco in 2011 to offer loan financing activities to entrepreneurs, and its Wa’ed Ventures venture capital arm oversees a $200 million investment fund and portfolio of more than 30 Saudi-based companies.
It recently launched its first roadshow event to unearth and fund the next generation of Saudi entrepreneurs. With up to SR100 million ($26.6 million) at its disposal, Wa’ed is planning to hand out loans and venture capital investments to commercially feasible ventures that would fill existing gaps in the Kingdom’s economy.
The roadshow will visit Jubail, Yanbu, Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, and Madinah. Online applications for all Saudi-based entrepreneurs opened on Wednesday, June 16.
Wassim Basrawi, Wa’ed’s managing director, said: “Seventy out of over 100 startups we supported were the first of their kind and received their first-ever investment from us, and this is what we are targeting now: Distinguished and not yet supported startups and ideas.”