| 6 October 2022, Thursday |

Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed launches FinTech accelerator programme

Wa’ed, Saudi Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm, is partnering with Fintech Saudi and venture capital company Flat6Labs to develop a 12-week accelerator program to help FinTech startups thrive in the country.

From next month, the hybrid program will be offered both in-person and online in Riyadh. It will hold a series of workshops and training sessions for 12 start-ups.

“Our objective is to help local start-ups at every level of their growth and to prepare them for venture capital investment and regulatory certification,” said Wa’ed managing director Fahad Alidi.

Wa’ed has a track record of picking high-calibre start-ups in the kingdom, and this effort will provide firms with a solid foundation as they continue on their entrepreneurial path, according to Mr Alidi.

The Fintech Accelerator program will feature a regulatory track as well as a business track that will run concurrently. It will also feature a day for start-ups to pitch potential investors.

Selected start-ups must pass a background check and have a minimal viable product, a tech-experienced founder, and at least one devoted full-time team member.

Wa’ed will pick three startups from among the participants to participate in its incubation program, with each getting a grant of 50,000 Saudi riyals ($13,328).

In recent years, the Saudi FinTech business has risen dramatically.

According to Fintech Saudi, the country made 16 venture investments in FinTech between January and August 2021, totaling $157.2 million. This is a huge increase over 2020 (seven venture investments totaling $7.8 million) and 2019 (six venture investments totaling $18 million).

“We are thrilled with Wa’ed’s strategic cooperation,” Nezar AlHaidar, accelerator manager at Fintech Saudi, remarked.

“We look forward to guiding and supporting start-ups in their company development and assisting them in navigating the regulatory landscape.”

Fintech Saudi is a financial sector development effort created by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) in partnership with the Capital Markets Authority to encourage the growth of the kingdom’s FinTech industry.

Following the end of the program, the participating start-ups will be able to continue to get assistance through periodic meetings with the accelerator team, according to Wa’ed. Engagement with the SAMA and CMA will also be part of the curriculum.

Wa’ed, established as an Aramco wholly-owned subsidiary in 2011, has provided more than 400 million riyals in venture capital investment, loans, and incubation services to more than 100 kingdom-based start-ups.

According to data platform Magnitt, start-ups in Saudi Arabia received a record $168 million in venture capital investment through 54 deals in the first half of 2021. This represents around 94% of the funds made available to the kingdom’s start-ups in 2020.

  • The National News