Riyadh-based BIAC and UAE’s VentureSouq launch initiative to invest in Saudi startups

Riyadh-based Business Incubators and Accelerators Company (BIAC) and Dubai-headquartered venture investing platform VentureSouq (VSQ) have teamed up to launch an investment unit that aims to catalyze the Saudi technology startup space, the two firms announced during ArabNet Riyadh last week.

“BIAC and VentureSouq have come together to address what we believe to be a fundamental funding gap in KSA. The size is not defined but it’s an amount that will have a substantial impact on the market,” said VentureSouq’s KSA Partner Maan Eshgi, in a conversation with MENAbytes.

The statement notes that BIAC’s new investment team will play a leading role in the funding rounds, with the aim to be an enabler for multiple investors to come in. BIAC has already made five investment and will be making four more in the coming few weeks.

The new initiative will focus on early-stage high-growth tech startups in Saudi, making investments in seed and Series A round, with the opportunity for follow-ons, Maan Eshgi told us. “The BIAC cheque size will range from USD 50,000 to USD 200,000 and we’ll aim to bring in significantly more from co-investment partners,” he added.

Startups will be invited to apply for funding and will go through a thorough vetting process. Once selected, the BIAC investment team will conduct due diligence, term negotiation, deal packaging, and investment execution.

“We’ll also invite other investors to review the deal and invest alongside us. The objective here is for us to facilitate the fundraise process for companies while also adopting a collaborative approach within the investment community in Saudi so it becomes a win-win for all,” said Sonia Weymuller, VentureSouq Partner.

BIAC will also launch a program to facilitate companies looking to scale to Saudi, which will offer them short-term operational services, enabling them to explore licensing options and business development opportunities.

Nawaf Al-Sahhaf, Chief Executive Officer of BIAC Company, commenting on the launch of imitative, said, “We see strong potential in the Saudi tech ecosystem as a number of dynamic, founder-led companies seek funding and support from committed partners. Our new solutions take us a step closer in bridging the funding gaps for promising startups in tune with Saudi Arabia’s effort to support the growth of its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector and the country’s research and development (R&D) ecosystem, in alignment with the Vision 2030 economic transformation program.”

Maan Eshgi added, “Saudi is one of the most important markets in the region. Our work with BIAC puts us in the strongest position to have a meaningful impact on the local ecosystem in order to catalyze the investor base, facilitate knowledge transfer and provide a boost to the local SME sector.”

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