RIYADH: Investment deals worth $13.8 billion were signed at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress held in Riyadh this week, which also saw global firms announce expansion plans into Saudi Arabia.
Entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem leaders, and policymakers attended the event, which took place from March 27 to 30.
Silicon Valley figures, like Apple’s Steve Wozniak and Netflix’s Marc Randolph, also spoke.
A total of SR25.17 billion ($6.71 billion) worth of agreements and memoranda of understanding were signed at the event, including messaging platform Unifonic raising $125 million in what is the largest funding round ever closed by a Saudi startup.
Some SR22.89 billion worth of announcements were made. Venture capital and private equity funds reached SR3.71 billion, while SR109 million worth of investment rounds were made.
Among the 34 agreements signed on GEC’s first day were Lenskart, GoDaddy, Kitopi and Cars24 expanding into the Saudi market.
The deals covered a wide range of programs and projects, such as establishing new financial products for entrepreneurs, investing directly in businesses, and providing loan guarantees.
There were several big announcements, including the launch of new products and initiatives from the Social Development Bank that will support and empower entrepreneurs with a value of almost SR11.25 billion.
After the UAE, Saudi Arabia is the second-most funded nation in the Middle East and North Africa.