Wa’ed Ventures is Aramco’s venture capital fund designed to support the start-up ecosystem in Saudi Arabia by investing in local tech-based start-ups and localizing pioneering global innovations.
Growing innovative ideas into a stable business isn’t easy. In 2013, we established Wa’ed Ventures to bridge the distance between local tech start-ups and full-blown business ventures — by providing a combination of venture capital funding and post-investment support services.
A flourishing tech start-up ecosystem requires a well-developed infrastructure, and Wa’ed Ventures works to provide the resources and support needed to boost its development. Our Wa’ed Ventures fund supports our efforts to build a thriving local innovation ecosystem that can accelerate the creation of advanced technology in the energy industry.
Helping start-ups grow
With a ticket size of up to $20 million per investment deal, Wa’ed Ventures focuses its $500 million venture capital investment fund toward developing the local start-up space. Along with its financial and venture growth support, the fund sponsors an incubation program that targets early-stage start-ups in the Kingdom.
The program offers a 12-month business incubation opportunity to local entrepreneurs, as well as regular mentoring by professionals, and office and co-working spaces. It also offers business bootcamps, workshops, and start-up networking events.
By providing funding and post-investment support, Wa’ed Ventures incentivizes founders to explore growth opportunities beyond the local market — helping them to expand and internationalize. These opportunities include access to subject-matter experts, cutting-edge technology, market intelligence, or strategic partnerships. Overall, it’s about building the right environment, and developing the required skills, to help start-ups grow and expand into new markets.
Beyond developing local start-ups, the venture capital investment fund also invests in global entrepreneurs — supporting them to localize their technological innovations, and helping nurture a globally-competitive local innovation ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.
A key investor
Accelerating the development of a full innovation ecosystem comes with challenges, and Wa’ed Ventures is up to the task. Its investment focus aims to boost activity and development in the start-up space by harnessing opportunities for growth.
This focus includes:
financing gaps by investing in seed to growth-stage start-ups.
under-served tech domains such as sustainability and deep tech.
with global founders to localize cutting-edge technology.
With years of experience in backing innovative companies, Wa’ed Ventures has built a portfolio of tech-based start-ups active across a diverse range of sectors. These include the Internet of Things (IoT), e-commerce, fintech (financial technology), drones, artificial intelligence, cloud and super-computing, energy and industrial applications, agtech (agricultural technology), edtech (educational technology), and healthtech (technology-enabled healthcare).
The venture capital fund has built a portfolio of tech-based start-ups active across a diverse range of technology sectors, including drones.
Its track record since opening in 2013 is impressive: more than 50 companies were funded, with over $100 million invested in venture capital deals to support talented entrepreneurs and promising start-ups to grow locally and expand internationally. Its portfolio of start-ups expands innovation across five areas: digital, sustainability, social innovation, industrial, and manufacturing.
With a patient, long-term outlook and agile financing, the start-up fund aims to build on this position to become one of the largest and among the most active institutional venture capital investors in the MENA region.
Part of Aramco’s innovation ecosystem
Our dedicated venture capital fund fits perfectly into Aramco’s four-stage venture life-cycle support initiative — the National Champions program. Wa’ed Ventures follows on naturally from LAB7, our purpose-built innovation and product development center, which helps innovators, developers, and entrepreneurs nurture their business ideas. The venture capital fund is designed to support these emerging start-ups and convert them into globally-recognized ventures.
LAB7 supports pre-seed or early-stage ventures, while Wa’ed Ventures provides seed funding and support to growth-stage start-ups.
The following stage is the Aramco Taleed program, which focuses on accelerating the growth of the local SME ecosystem. The final stage is the Namaat program, which aims to identify and support our future National Champions, potentially-trailblazing organizations that could help reshape their industry and have a national or even global impact. The whole venture life-cycle initiative focuses on five emerging growth sectors: sustainability, industrial, manufacturing, digital, and social.
Find out more
Through Wa’ed Ventures, Aramco is looking to find, invest in, and support talented entrepreneurs and promising start-ups, enabling them to take part in shaping the local innovation ecosystem. To understand how the fund could help accelerate the growth of your tech start-up, or to find out more, visit waed.net.