KAUST Joins Saudi Venture Capital and Private Equity Association To Further Support Deep-Tech Startups

As the first university to become a member of the Saudi Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCPEA), KAUST will ensure that its KAUST Innovation Ventures plays a greater role in the country's deep-tech ecosystem. 

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has recently become a member of Saudi Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCPEA), an entity that represents Saudi Arabia’s private equity and venture capital sector. 


As the first university to join the association as a member, the partnership is expected to enable KAUST Innovation Ventures (KIV), the KAUST-based investment fund that focuses on nurturing technology-focused startups and entrepreneurs, to play a greater role in the country’s deep-tech ecosystem. 

KIV is also set to have greater leverage over investment regulations. This will ensure that the investment fund can exchange deals and look into promising investment opportunities along with other SAVCPEA members, which is expected to increase the visibility of KIV’s existing portfolio of startups and also entice international deep-tech startups. Additionally, KAUST itself will also be able to avail SAVCPEA's network of investors, including access to the Ministry of Investment.

 Qusai A. Alsaif, CEO, SAVCPEA and Kevin Cullen, Vice President of Innovation, KAUST. Source: KAUST

“Deep-tech startups can be difficult for investors as they are often a greater risk, and require more time and patience to bring a technology market and a return on investment,” said Kevin Cullen, Vice President of Innovation at KAUST. “This partnership with SAVCPEA and the access to its incredible venture capital investment network will enable KAUST to grow this ecosystem.”

The SAVCPEA is also looking to gain some advantages through this move, with KAUST potentially opening doors to investing in technological innovations and tech startups in sectors such as agritech, aerospace, energy and clean-tech, robotics and advanced materials. “SAVCPEA’s goal of encouraging and stimulating venture capital and private equity investment is uniquely aligned with KAUST’s mission of supporting entrepreneurs and fostering their technological innovation from ideas to commercialization,” added Qusai A. Alsaif, CEO of SAVCPEA. “With KAUST joining our network of members and partners, we look forward to leveraging this as we continue to grow our ecosystem, we see a huge opportunity for impact through this partnership to provide additional networks and resources to the entrepreneurs.”

SAVCPEA was launched in 2018 and has over 20 current members, including Aramco, Wa’ed, and Saudi Venture Capital Company. Through its partnership with KAUST, the association is looking to cater towards the entrepreneurial goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. 

Related: PepsiCo Launches Greenhouse Accelerator In MENA To Support Startups Tackling Sustainable Packaging and Circular Economy Solutions