The LEAP event for future and disruptive technologies, which brought together technology experts, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists in Riyadh, was a testament to Saudi Arabia, a leading investment expert has claimed.
Khalid Suleimani, partner at Chrome Advisory which works with venture capitalists, suggested the success of LEAP was the culmination of work done by Saudi Arabia to foster innovation and entrepreneurism.
Several deals were achieved at the event, enabling companies to raise capital, and investors to match with startups. Businesses to benefit from such agreements included Mozn, Nana and Quant, as well as venture capitalist firms such as Khwarzimi.
“Saudi government intervention, marked by billions invested in the technology market either directly or through VC programs, has created momentum," he said, adding: "Over 100 startups have been cultivated over the last few years, while many VCs were launched in line with Vision 2030 aiming at empowering the youth. LEAP is a showcase of that effort."
The LEAP event was used to announce fund raising by venture builders such as Unifonic through its entrepreneurship programme UnifonicX.
Unifonic was originally a startup, but now it invests in companies in their early stages that appear promising.
“Unifonic is on the track of big technology companies such as Facebook and Amazon,” said Suleimani.
Unifonic and The Space KSA — a co-working space and incubator — used the event to mark the successful completion of their partnership, which is estimated at SR100 million ($26.5 million).
Other players also secured deals at the event. Mozn was able to raise $10 million to expand its Artificial Intelligence software across the Middle East and North Africa.
Saudi Quant Company, a specialist in artificial intelligence solutions, succeeded in closing an investment round of SR30 million Saudi riyals, led by Venture.
“Other companies that did well are also startups Nana and VCs such as Khwarizmi”, adds Suleimani.
Purchase and delivery grocery platform Nana announced the closing of an investment round worth SR188 million led by STV Fund and FIM Partners, a UAE-based Special Purpose Acquisition company listed on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.
The platform raised the value of the investments it obtained since its inception to SR300 million, according to news site Jawlah.
“Nana has succeeded in achieving its third funding round,” underlines Suleimani.
Khwarizmi Venture was also able to raise SR262million in funds.