4th SAIA is shaking up UAE’s VC landscape

Dubai: The 4th Edition Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator (SAIA) is creating waves in the UAE’s venture capital (VC) landscape. This is reflected in the phenomenal figure of 3,536 applications it received from over 40 countries in just two months.The highest number of applications was from India, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mexico, United Kingdom and France. Interestingly, there has been a significant increase in interest from women-led startups compared to last year. Another unique aspect is that there has been a rise in applications from sustainable tech startups.Mr. Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP, said: “We are thrilled by the unprecedented response to our Accelerator program from startups from different parts of the world. This is a reflection of the growing importance of the MENA region, and high ranking of the UAE when it comes to funding of startups due to progressive economic policies and supportive innovation ecosystems.“At SRTIP we are happy to play the role of providing the right environment and framework for startups to grow and scale. The SAIA program, now in its fourth year, is proud of the pivotal role it is playing in nurturing startups.”The unique Acceleration program will run from September to Nov 2023, closing with an Investor & Demo Day on Nov 27, running up to COP28 in Dubai, where some of the cohort startups will be able to showcase their innovations and leverage the many opportunities that COP presents. The final day for submitting applications is May 23.The strong response to SAIA 2023 comes at a time when the region is witnessing unprecedented flow of venture capital, promising a thriving future for startups.Total financing from venture capital funds in the Middle East surged 132 per cent to almost $2 billion last year, with the total number of deals up 5 per cent to 410, according to Magnitt.Startups in the MENA region raised $3.94 billion in 2022 across 795 deals, a rise of 24 per cent in investment value when compared to 2021. The UAE stood on top, fetching the most investments to the tune of $1.85 billion across 250 deals, a rise of 5 per cent in terms of investment value, the Magnitt report revealed.The UAE aims to become home to 20 unicorns – startups worth above $1 billion each -- by 2031, in its push to become a regional centre for innovation and entrepreneurship. Last year, the country launched the Entrepreneurial Nation initiative, which aims to offer support through a series of public-private partnerships that help entrepreneurs to set up operations in the Emirates, expand their businesses, export products and tap into online sales.Hosted by the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), SAIA presents startups and innovative companies a gateway to funds, networking, expertise, resources, projects and a thriving ecosystem conducive to innovation.

SVC invests in 35 Funds. VC Investments in Saudi Arabia Grew 17 Times

 Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), a subsidiary of the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank (SME) , one of the development banks affiliated with the National Development Fund, released today its recent Impact Report, which revealed SVC’s contribution to achieving record growth rates. The report highlighted the impact of SVC on the Venture Capital (VC) and Private Equity (PE) ecosystem in the Kingdom since the company’s establishment in 2018.The SVC Impact Report revealed that the total committed investments of SVC amounted to $560 Million since its inception, while the total committed investments including partners are estimated at $3.9 Billion. SVC invested in 35 funds that have invested in 525 startups through 904 deals so far, including several vital sectors such as e-commerce, fintech, information and communication technology, education, delivery, and transportation.The impact report showed that SVC’s strategy contributed over the past four years in increasing the number of investors in Saudi startups and SMEs, encouraging existing and new financial companies to establish VC and PE funds, and motivating regional and global funds to invest in Saudi startups and SMEs.The report revealed that the funding deployed into Saudi Arabian startups grew 17 times to a record-high close to $1 Billion in 2022 versus $59 Million in 2018 when SVC started operation.Commenting on the report, CEO and Board Member at SVC Dr. Nabeel Koshak said: “We at SVC are committed to supporting the development of the VC and PE ecosystem in Saudi Arabia and continue stimulating private investors to provide support in turn for startups and SMEs to be capable of fast and high growth, which leads to diversifying the national economy and achieving the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030”.