Microsoft reinforces startup revolution in Saudi Arabia

Microsoft reinforces startup revolution in Saudi Arabia
The company has been diligently driving accelerator programs such as Founders Hub and GrowthX, focusing on improving company performance. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 30 May 2022

Microsoft reinforces startup revolution in Saudi Arabia

Microsoft reinforces startup revolution in Saudi Arabia
  • Program supports entrepreneurs with technology, tools and resources

RIYADH: With Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 blueprint stirring up the entrepreneurial landscape, startups in the Kingdom are all steamed up to take their businesses to the next level.

A case in point is the widening scope of the Kingdom in Microsoft for Startups, a global incentive program of Microsoft Corp. dedicated to helping startups to scale their growth. 

“Ten percent of our startups in the region right now are in Saudi Arabia, and the numbers will grow way more because the ecosystem in the Kingdom is really heating up,” Roberto Croci, managing director at Microsoft for Startups, the Middle East and Africa, told Arab News.

Ten percent of our startups in the region right now are in Saudi Arabia, and the numbers will grow way more because the ecosystem in the Kingdom is really heating up.

Roberto Croci

The program supports entrepreneurs with the technology, tools and resources required to build and run their business, besides leveraging its corporate and enterprise network to provide startups with market intelligence and mentorship. It essentially bridges the gap between startups and big companies.

“If we can make these resources accessible to startups, I think we’re unlocking a huge potential,” said Croci.

He further added: “This is where we want to differentiate. At the top of the technology pillar, we want to help startups build great products that can scale and integrate with third-party applications.”

The hunt for talent 

The company has been diligently driving accelerator programs such as Founders Hub and GrowthX, focusing on improving company performance rather than funding.

“The two main pillars of our programs are centered around access to technology and markets,” Croci said while adding that the platform will launch a new accelerator program to focus on sustainability startups in the Middle East and North Africa.

The platform plans to widen its horizon by focusing not only on the funding aspect of a startup but also on the impact it leaves on society at large.

“We always read about funding rounds in the news, but what about the funding outcome? Are these startups growing? We should talk about successful startups, not those that raise huge sums, but those that leave a lasting impact on society,” opined Croci.

The company focuses on startups in stages between pre-seed and series B, especially pre-series A and series A.

Microsoft does not directly invest in startups, but when the company finds growth potential, it recommends them to M12, a venture capital fund under its fold.

The company also hosts “demo day” for the fledgling companies, an event that directly connects them with the investors.

Thanks to the encouragement, fintech and healthcare firms have emerged on top of Microsoft’s startup mountain and are well poised to unleash a growth wave in the economy. 

As they say in the angel funding circles, there is no greater joy than catching them young and watching them grow.


TASI sees gains as global economic fears ease: Opening bell

TASI sees gains as global economic fears ease: Opening bell
Updated 14 sec ago

TASI sees gains as global economic fears ease: Opening bell

TASI sees gains as global economic fears ease: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main index has continued to recover from a sharp drop that was caused by concerns about economic growth.

The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.94 percent to reach 11,120 Wednesday morning, while the parallel market Nomu started 0.34 percent higher at 19,786, as of 10:08 a.m. Saudi time.

Saudi oil giant Aramco started with a 1.02 percent gain, while Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. added 0.3 percent.

The Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom’s largest lender, increased by 0.98 percent, while Saudi British Bank increased by 0.95 percent.

The Kingdom’s highest valued bank, Al Rajhi, rose 0.5 percent, while Alinma Bank gained 0.86 percent.

Anaam International Holding Group continued to lead the gainers for a third session with a 5.42 percent gain, after it turned into profits of SR1.6 million ($425,599) in the first half of 2022.

The Saudi Public Transport Co. gained 1.77 percent, after winning an SR88 million public bus transport project with Taif Municipality.

Maharah Human Resources Co. added 0.83 percent, after securing a long-term Murabaha loan worth SR200 million from Al Rajhi Bank.

 


Arabian Drilling opens IPO at up to $24 per share

Arabian Drilling opens IPO at up to $24 per share
Updated 1 min 49 sec ago

Arabian Drilling opens IPO at up to $24 per share

Arabian Drilling opens IPO at up to $24 per share

RIYADH: Arabian Drilling Co. has set its price range for its initial public offering at SR90-100 ($24-$27) per share, as it kicks off the book-building period on Wednesday.

The process for institutional investors, which will end on Oct. 5, will be led by HSBC Saudi Arabia, Goldman Sachs Saudi Arabia, and SNB Capital, according to a bourse filing.

ADC is offering 30 percent of its capital, representing 26.7 million, in an attempt to join Nomu’s parallel market.

The retail subscription to 2.76 million shares, or 10 percent of the shares offered, will run from Oct. 18 to Oct. 19.


Saudi food chain Raydan seeks stockholders’ approval to slash capital to $42m

Saudi food chain Raydan seeks stockholders’ approval to slash capital to $42m
Updated 12 min 24 sec ago

Saudi food chain Raydan seeks stockholders’ approval to slash capital to $42m

Saudi food chain Raydan seeks stockholders’ approval to slash capital to $42m

RIYADH: Raydan Food Co. has invited its shareholders to vote on reducing the company’s capital from SR338 million ($90 million) to SR158 million.

This reduction plan was made in order to restructure the company’s capital structure to recover losses, according to a bourse filing.

Raydan Food reported earlier that its accumulated losses reached SR179 million in the first half of the year, representing 53 percent of its share capital.

Earlier this month, Raydan received the Capital Market Authority's approval for capital reductions.


Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Wednesday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Wednesday
Updated 15 min 42 sec ago

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Wednesday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Wednesday

RIYADH: Stock markets across the Gulf closed in the green on Tuesday, with the Saudi index outperforming the region after falling sharply over concerns about economic growth.

The Tadawul All Share Index, known as Tadawul, gained 0.99 percent to reach 11,017 at the end of Tuesday’s trading, while the parallel market Nomu ended almost flat at 19,718.

Dubai's main share index snapped a four-session losing streak to close 0.7 percent higher, while Qatar’s benchmark closed 0.5 percent higher,

The Abu Dhabi index, on the other hand, closed lower by 0.7 percent, bucking the Gulf trend.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index fell for the fourth consecutive session, slipping 0.1 percent at the end of Tuesday.

In energy trading, Brent crude traded at $85.15 a barrel and WTI crude reached $77.42 a barrel, as of 9:44 a.m. Saudi time.

Stock News

Riyad REIT Fund has invested SR62 million ($17 million) in a private closed-end Real Estate Fund that is income-generating and Shariah-compliant.

Al-Jouf Cement Co. has completed the sale of fractional shares worth SR359,132 following the approval of its shareholders to decrease its capital.

Naseej for Technology Co. won a SR10 million project award from King Salman Global Academy to develop an online platform that uses artificial intelligence for Arabic-language writing editing.

The Saudi Public Transport Co. has been awarded an SR88 million ($23 million) public bus transport project with Taif Municipality.

Advanced Petrochemical Co.will distribute SR0.5 per share in dividends to shareholders in the third quarter of 2022.

Raydan Food Co. invited its shareholders to vote on cutting its capital by 100 percent to SR158 million.

Maharah Human Resources Co. secured a long-term Murabaha loan worth SR200 million from Al Rajhi Bank.

Maharah Human Resources’ unit has completed the acquisition of 41 percent of Care Shield Holding Co.

Knowledge Tower Trading Co. intends to proceed with its initial public offering, floating 350,000 shares on the Kingdom’s Parallel Market, following approval from the Capital Market Authority and Saudi exchanges.

Arabian Drilling Co. has set its IPO price range at SR90-100 per share as it begins the book-building period.


Oil Updates — Crude down; Petrochina says EV sales to affect gasoline demand; Oil installations under high alert in Norway

Oil Updates — Crude down; Petrochina says EV sales to affect gasoline demand; Oil installations under high alert in Norway
Updated 50 min 37 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude down; Petrochina says EV sales to affect gasoline demand; Oil installations under high alert in Norway

Oil Updates — Crude down; Petrochina says EV sales to affect gasoline demand; Oil installations under high alert in Norway

RIYADH: Oil prices fell more than 1 percent on Wednesday, pressured by a strengthening dollar and crude storage builds that offset support from US production cuts caused by Hurricane Ian.

Brent crude futures fell $1.08, or 1.25 percent, to $85.19 per barrel at 08.30 a.m Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $1.03, or 1.31 percent, at $77.47 per barrel.

Robust EV sales in China to affect gasoline demand: PetroChina

China’s gasoline consumption growth will be affected by strong electric vehicle sales in the country, a senior Chinese oil executive said on Wednesday.

EV sales hit 6 million units in the first eight months this year, Wu Qiunan, chief economist at PetroChina International, told a forum at the 38th Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference.

“That’s a big replacement of gasoline consumption,” he said, adding this may lower gasoline demand growth even as consumption is expected to recover when China eases COVID-19 restrictions.

Norway to strengthen security at oil, gas installations

Norway will strengthen security at its oil and gas installations following gas leaks in the Baltic Sea and reports of drone activities in the North Sea, the Nordic country’s energy minister said on Tuesday.

Europe was investigating major leaks in two Russian pipelines that spewed gas into the Baltic Sea on Tuesday as Sweden launched a preliminary probe into possible sabotage to infrastructure at the center of an energy standoff.

“Based on the information we have seen so far, much indicates acts of sabotage,” Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland said in a statement.

The government had consulted with the armed forces and operators of oil and gas installations, both on land and offshore, it said.

On Monday, Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority had urged greater vigilance over unidentified drones seen flying near Norwegian offshore oil and gas platforms, warning they could pose a risk of accidents or deliberate attacks.

(With input from Reuters)