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Saudi Arabia startups see huge growth in eco-friendly ‘impact’ funding

Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Venture capital impact investment in Saudi Arabia reached a new high in 2021 in both total number of transactions and capital deployed, Arab News quoted a report produced by MAGNiTT and Saudi Aramco.

Impact investments are those aimed at generating a measurable social and environmental benefit alongside a financial return.

Impact funding in the kingdom up to the third quarter of 2021 was 130 per cent higher than in 2020 in terms of funding, and 21 per cent higher in transactions.

Some $444 million were invested through 403 deals with impact-driven startups across the Middle East and North Africa between 2016 and the third quarter of 2021, according to the report.

Of those deals, 20 per cent involved Saudi-based firms. Flat6Labs was the leading impact investor in startups based in the MENA region with 45 transactions between 2016 and the third quarter of this year to-date.

The Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center, 500 Startups, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Innovation Fund, Oasis 500 and Falak Startups invested in 12 or more funding rounds raised by impact-driven startups in MENA.

The education and healthcare technology sectors accounted for the highest share in total impact VC deals, collectively registering 40 per cent of all transactions in MENA from 2016 to the third quarter of this year to date.

The energy sector played a key role in impact investments across MENA, with 95 per cent of all funding going to startups within the impact ecosystem.

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