Aramco’s Wa'ed Ventures leads $14m bridge funding round for Japan’s Terra Drone   

Aramco’s Wa'ed Ventures leads $14m bridge funding round for Japan’s Terra Drone   
Terra Drone plans to utilize its acquired investment to start a new subsidiary in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 January 2023

Aramco’s Wa'ed Ventures leads $14m bridge funding round for Japan’s Terra Drone   

Aramco’s Wa'ed Ventures leads $14m bridge funding round for Japan’s Terra Drone   

CAIRO: Saudi Aramco’s venture capital arm Wa'ed Ventures is leading a $14 million bridge funding round for Japan-based Terra Drone to boost its expansion into the Kingdom.  

One of Japan’s leading drone and urban air mobility technology companies, Terra Drone plans to utilize its acquired investment to start a new subsidiary in Saudi Arabia. 

The Tokyo-based firm, which serves the oil, gas, chemical, and construction industries, wants to localize drone services in the Kingdom as it continues to serve the global autonomous vehicles market which is expected to reach $1.5 trillion by 2040, according to Morgan Stanley. 

“Saudi Aramco's investment in Terra Drone through its VC arm Wa’ed Ventures is another example of the global recognition for our achievements, which raises the expectations for our team as we continue to push forward and lead Terra Drone to the forefront of the global innovation track,” said Toru Tokushige, founder and CEO of Terra Drone.  

Terra Drone is the first Asian company to receive funding from Wa’ed Ventures after the venture capital firm expanded its mandate to target global companies back in the third quarter of 2022.  

“Supported by the global track record of Terra Drone, our investment represents Wa’ed’s commitment towards building the urban air mobility ecosystem in the Kingdom, one that circles around a sustainable economy,” said Fahad Alidi, managing director at Wa’ed Ventures.  

He added that Terra Drone is well-positioned to localize its proprietary technology across the Middle East region and cater to an expected rapid adoption of drone services, starting with the Kingdom.  

Established in 2016, Terra Drone has a presence in over 10 countries worldwide providing its drone hardware and software solutions in over 1,000 projects. The company managed to raise over $80 million in its previous funding rounds from leading investors like Mitsui & Co and SBI Investments Co. 

Founded in 2013, Wa’ed Ventures is a $200 million institutional venture capital firm wholly owned by Saudi Aramco and currently manages a portfolio of over 50 startups.  

Wa’ed Ventures participated in a $108 million series B funding round for France-based quantum computing company PASQAL on Jan. 24.  


Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world
Updated 07 February 2023

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

RIYADH: Being a cost-effective and low-carbon solution, nuclear energy “offers a golden opportunity” to help build a clean world, according to the director general of the World Nuclear Association.

Sama Bilbao y Leon was speaking as a keynote speaker at the 44th IAEE International Conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. The top official said nuclear energy offers an opportunity to build a cleaner and more equitable world in which everyone has access to “clean, abundant and affordable round-the-clock energy and high quality of life.”

“As a low-carbon energy source, nuclear power can play a very important role, decarbonizing other difficult-to-able sectors,” she said.

The official said nuclear energy is certainly a cost-effective, low-carbon solution and a catalyst for economic development. It is more efficient than other sources when we think of energy transition, she added.

She, however, cautioned saying that much work is needed to deploy nuclear power with determination and speed.

Leon also pointed out that the current energy market is unstable, and there is a need to take a step back and adopt scientific approaches to make the sustainable energy transition a success.

Yousef Al-Ghamdi, executive director of strategic planning at the Saudi Electricity Co. noted that renewable energy will play an important role in energy transition, especially hydrogen energy.

Shihab Elborai, a partner at Strategy& Middle East, underscored the importance of technological advances to meet the challenges of climate change. He said recycling can help mitigate the climate effect and reduce carbon in the environment, therefore countries should invest in efficient technologies to improve the energy sector.

Peter Hartley, the George A. Peterkin Professor of Economics at Rice University, said natural gas is cheaper and a better option and as an energy source is going to stay. He added that nuclear energy is a costly affair.

Ayad Alamri, executive director for business development, at ACWA Power, said that PVC has a key role in clean energy management and distribution as we are aiming at a net-zero future.


Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing to work together to explore listing opportunities and collaborate in sectors such as fintech and environmental, social and governance, according to a tweet by the parent company of the Saudi Exchange.

The MoU reflected the HKEX’s “ongoing commitment to driving global connectivity and shaping a successful shared sustainable future,” said Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of the Hong Kong bourse operator.

“This MoU brings us one step closer toward enabling cross listings and other areas of collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong,” Tadawul CEO Khalid Al-Hussan was quoted as saying by the Chinese media.

“As we seek to position the Saudi capital market as an investment hub between East and West, we are seeing increased interest from issuers and investors in Asia.”

 

 


Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association was launched at the LEAP 2023 conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The association — comprising over 100 Saudi and Chinese businesses, government entities, nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions — seeks to boost cooperation between the private sectors on both sides along with bilateral ties at the government level. 

The nonprofit organization is supported by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones. It will be operated by eWTP Arabia Capital.

“In line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, SCEA will enable cross-border investments and valuable collaborations,” said Jerry Li, founder and managing partner of eWTPA. 

The organization also plans to promote investment, encourage innovation, and develop social responsibility and public welfare.  

“China is a strategic partner for Saudi Arabia in terms of technology and innovation. Having worked closely with Alibaba and eWTPA for the last three years, I highly appreciate their efforts in contributing to the development of our local digital ecosystem,” said Faisal Al-Khamisi, chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones. 

Al-Khamisi added: “This association will take our collaboration to the next level and provide the broader Saudi-China business community with a forum to share valuable experiences.”   


Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad
Updated 07 February 2023

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad

Jordanian-Iraqi business forum to start Wednesday in Baghdad
  • 3-day conference being held under title ‘Partnership for the Future’
  • Jordanian delegation to include company representatives from range of sectors

AMMAN: A Jordanian-Iraqi business forum will on Wednesday get underway in Baghdad with company representatives and investors from both countries taking part.
The Jordan Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Jordanian Businessmen Association are co-organizing the three-day event, which is being held under the title “Partnership for the Future,” the Jordan News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The participating Jordanian delegation will include representatives of firms operating in various economic sectors including foodstuffs, communications, information technology, medicines, clothing, financial and banking services, insurance, construction, contracting, real estate development, tourism, agriculture, mining, and plastics industries.
In regard to the current global economic situation, the forum will provide a chance for the private sectors of Jordan and Iraq to work together and make the most of the opportunities available, advancing the strategic goals and common interests of the two countries.
The forum will be held concurrently with the joint Jordanian-Iraqi committee meetings and will feature bilateral talks between Jordanian and Iraqi business leaders as well as an overview of investment opportunities in Jordan.
The Jordanian party will be one of the biggest economic delegations to visit Baghdad, reflecting Amman’s desire to forge close economic ties with Iraq and support initiatives launched by King Abdullah II and the Iraqi leadership.


Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia
Updated 07 February 2023

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

Tonomus teams with Oracle, Nvidia to boost AI capabilities across NEOM, Saudi Arabia

 

RIYADH: With the aim of boosting artificial intelligence capabilities across NEOM and Saudi Arabia, Tonomus announced it had teamed up with Oracle and Nvidia at LEAP 23 on Tuesday.
The collaboration by Tonomus, a cognitive multinational conglomerate and the first company to be established as a full-fledged subsidiary of NEOM, is designed to accelerate AI-powered innovation for a broad range of use by enterprises and government organizations.
Tonomus will provide customers with direct access to Nvidia’s advanced AI, digital twin solutions that take advantage of the planned Oracle cloud region to be located at NEOM.
“The longstanding alliance between Oracle and Nvidia complements Tonomus’ ongoing mission to build the infrastructure and ubiquitous connectivity required to enable the world’s first ecosystem of cognitive technologies,” Joseph Bradley, CEO of Tonomus, said.
“This monumental collaboration will empower NEOM with geographical advantage and place Saudi Arabia firmly on the map as a regional hub for the provision of AI capabilities.”
“Tonomus will benefit from Oracle cloud infrastructure’s unmatched capability of supporting modern cloud native applications in a secure environment. This, coupled with our existing partnership with Nvidia, will speed AI adoption for enterprises,” added Richard Smith, executive vice president, cloud and technology, Europe, Middle East, and Africa of Oracle.
“Nvidia software and systems on OCI provide an ideal platform for developers like Tonomus to build AI-forward, modern cities,” Jaap Zuiderveld, vice president of EMEA at Nvidia, commented.