Wa’ed allocates up to SR6.9m in new seed grants and VC funds during Riyadh roadshow

Wa’ed allocates up to SR6.9m in new seed grants and VC funds during Riyadh roadshow
Wa’ed allocates up to SR6.9m in new seed grants and VC funds during Riyadh roadshow

Wa'ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco, has dedicated a total financial aid of SR6.9mn to three Saudi-based startups; as the centre concludes its fourth roadshow stop in Riyadh after successfully completing its three previous stops in Jubail; Yanbu; and Jeddah over the last two months.

The investment was divided between two seed-stage grants to be deployed after completing a final onboarding process; and a single venture capital investment in a Saudi-based company. This reflects the unwavering commitment that Wa'ed has been upholding throughout the roadshow. This is to fuel the development of the local startup ecosystem.

Organized in partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha'at); the event featured three of the most promising startup sectors in the Saudi entrepreneurial space; E-commerce, Cyber Security, and Healthtech, and saw participation from a number of innovative Saudi entrepreneurs.

Unanimous decision on the qualified startups

As with previous roadshow events; the awards came after the Wa'ed team conducted a short follow-on voting round to reach a unanimous decision on the qualified startups. The votes took into consideration the founding team's experience, the addressable market opportunity, and the overall product competitiveness in the Kingdom.

"We've seen how the COVID-19 pandemic pushed all three sectors, e-commerce, health-tech, and cyber security, to the forefront of every startup ecosystem both regionally and globally, and we were eager to reaffirm our responsibility at Wa'ed towards sustaining the long-term growth of these sectors," said Fahad Alidi, managing director at Wa'ed.

Wa'ed also initiated the event by announcing its SR6.7mn venture capital investment in the Saudi-based health-tech Cura; part of the startup's SR15mn Series A round; led by Wa'ed and Elm, the investment arm of the Saudi Ministry of Finance.

Established in 2016 by Wael Kabli and Mohammad Zekrallah, Cura became the first officially licensed telemedicine company by the Ministry of Health following its close collaborative work with the ministry in 2017 to digitize the health sector in the Kingdom.

On-demand health and wellness programs

The startup offers on-demand health and wellness programs, including e-prescriptions and real-time messaging with health professionals, for both individual customers and partnering business clients.

For seed grants, Wa'ed also recommended a SR75,000 to Muktasar; a Saudi-based global edtech platform offering summaries of international books, and a SR50,000 to Spectra; the first Saudi telemedicine startup specialized in addressing and virtually diagnosing developmental and behavioural disorders in children.

The search for original market solutions and visionary tech-focused startups will continue in the next two months when Wa'ed plans to hold its final stops in Madinah on Nov. 11 and Makkah on Dec. 6 to explore local startup engagements in the tourism and hospitality, supply chain management, and tech sectors.

Wa'ed's role in accelerating Saudi Arabia's entrepreneurial ecosystem has been consistently dynamic since its establishment in 2011; issuing over SAR400mn in various financial support plans to Saudi-based startups that fill critical market gaps in the Saudi economy.

Applications for the Wa'ed Entrepreneurship Roadshow are open to entrepreneurs until December.

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