Aramco's Entrepreneurship Arm, Wa'ed, Increases Its Ticket Size To US$20 Million To Target Later Stage Funding Rounds

Wa'ed's decision to target later stage funding rounds is a result of 2021 having been a transformational year for the enterprise, said Managing Director Fahad Alidi.

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

As an institutional venture capital investor for Saudi Arabia-based startups, Aramco's entrepreneurship arm, Wa'ed, will widen it local investment scope by increasing its ticket size to SAR75 million (US$20 million) and expanding into five core areas, i.e. the sustainability, manufacturing, social, digital, and industrial sectors.

Fahad Alidi, Managing Director, Wa’ed

Since launching in 2011, Wa'ed has been supporting business growth and economic diversification in Saudi Arabia through its loan financing activities and venture capital arm, Wa'ed Ventures. Its latest move to utilize a new ticket size in order to target later stage funding rounds is a result of 2021 having been a transformational year for the enterprise, said Fahad Alidi, Managing Director at Wa'ed.

"Our continuous support for visionary founders and scalable startup solutions has given us the right foundation to embark on this new chapter as we aim to create greater impact on the local entrepreneurial ecosystem," Alidi said. "We plan to strengthen our role as a founder-focused partner, while the five identified sectors will help activate a clear and sustainable strategy for the years ahead."

In 2021, Wa'ed increased its venture capital portfolio by an additional eight new deals and four follow-on investments, reaching up to SAR34 million ($9.07 million) in total dedicated funds. Its VC investment arm, Wa'ed Ventures, currently supports more than 37 companies, including Saudi agtech startup Red Sea Farms, telehealth startup Cura, and SME-focused fintech startup Lamaa.

Furthermore, Wa'ed's incubation program onboarded 17 startups in 2021, while its six-city Wa'ed Entrepreneurship Roadshow, which was hosted between September and December of last year, led Wa'ed to financially support 28 more Saudi-based entrepreneurs. In addition, Wa'ed also partnered with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, Taibah Valley, and Falak Investment Hub.

Related: Taking The Leap: Saudi Arabia's Talent Pool Looks To Opportunities Within The Entrepreneurship Domain