Saudi Arabia is rapidly emerging as a robust ecosystem for digital entrepreneurship, with its startup ecosystem maturing quickly and dramatically. The country focuses on developing the technology sector as part of its Vision 2030 initiative, which aims to diversify the economy away from oil dependence, create jobs, and attract high-skilled talent into the kingdom.

Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has experienced a surge of venture capital investments. At a recent LEAP 2023 in Riyadh , according to Arab News nine funds totaling $2.4B were announced to drive startup growth; and in 2021 and 2022, VC funding in Saudi startups increased 72%, totaling $987 million across 144 deals as mentioned at Harvard Business Review.

Moreover, the Kingdom has a young and tech-savvy population with a strong appetite for digital services, making it attractive to investors. The GEM report found that 90% of respondents agreed that starting a business in Saudi Arabia was easy, placing the country in the top position among economies. Additionally, according to GEM report 80% of respondents saw opportunities to start a business due to the changes brought about by the pandemic.

Disruptive Startups on the rise

Saudi Arabia has been making significant strides in fostering a thriving startup ecosystem in recent years. The Kingdom has been investing heavily in building an entrepreneurial infrastructure, which has led to the emergence of several innovative startups.

A key aspect of Vision 2030 is the empowerment of entrepreneurs. This has led to a positive environment for startups in Saudi Arabia, with most of the venture capital funding being sourced locally and supporting early-stage rounds for firms specializing in payments or lending. Emerging sectors like fintech and wealth management are developing rapidly in the Kingdom. Here, we highlight some of the leading startups in Saudi Arabia making a mark in their respective industries.


Tamara is a fintech startup that has gained significant attention in the Kingdom. The company’s app-based marketplace allows customers to buy and pay for products in installments.


Trukker is a logistics startup that operates on a model similar to Uber but for trucks. The platform connects businesses with available trucking capacity, providing a more efficient and cost-effective way to transport goods. Trukker raised $100 million in a Series C funding round, according to Reuters.


Foodics is a cloud-based suite of solutions for restaurants. The platform provides a range of features, including sales management, inventory management, employee management, CRM, and order management catering to food businesses, including cloud kitchens. The company raised $198 million in funding, according to Arab News.


Nana is a grocery delivery startup that operates on a dark store model. Orders are delivered to customers within 15 minutes, making it a convenient and quick option for customers. The company raised $133 million in funding, highlighting its potential to disrupt the grocery delivery market, according to National News. is a human resources technology platform that delivers a streamlined and intuitive work experience for teams handling onboarding, vacation tracking, and payroll operations. The company raised $5 million in a pre-series A funding round to accelerate its regional expansion, according to Techcrunch.


Marn is an HR technology startup that utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide recruitment solutions. The company operates as Saudi Arabia’s first flexible future of work platform. It closed a $1 million funding round, according to EdTechReview.

The startup ecosystem in Saudi Arabia is thriving, and these leading startups are just a few examples of innovative and disruptive solutions emerging from the Kingdom. With continued investment and support from the government and private sector, these startups, along with many others, are poised to shape the future of their respective industries and make a lasting impact.

Growth of The Venture Capital Ecosystem

Saudi Arabia quickly emerges as a significant hub for venture capital and technology investments. Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan has created a conducive environment for the growth of the country’s venture capital industry, making it the best-performing venture capital market in MENA. The development of the VC space in Saudi Arabia can be attributed to a combination of factors, including a growing younger consumer market, increasing interest of foreign direct investors, strong government support for the tech industry, and the emergence of entrepreneurs.

To deep dive, the VC industry in Saudi Arabia is proliferating due to the large consumer base younger population within the MENA region, buying products online. Additionally, foreign investors are attracted by the country’s fast-growing economy and supportive government policies towards tech innovation, which is expected to result in 7.6% GDP growth in 2023, according to Bloomberg. This presents a significant market opportunity for investors, making Saudi Arabia an attractive destination for venture capital investment.

Saudi Arabia’s support for entrepreneurship and diverse business sectors fuels an expanding startup ecosystem. According to HBR, The country’s fastest-growing sectors include tech, fintech, and e-commerce predicted to surpass $13 billion by 2025.

Saudi Arabia’s unparalleled strong government support for the tech industry is another crucial factor contributing to the growth of the VC industry. The government actively promotes the tech industry and provides support through many initiatives, such as the LEAP, world’s biggest conference supported by Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) General Authority and the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC). The government also organizes the Kingdom’s global start-up and SME forum, Biban, which fosters tangible opportunities by uniting local and international entrepreneurs, investors, and government officials to collaborate and share insights.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is becoming a hub for female entrepreneurs. According to Arab News, in 2021, 139,754 new commercial licenses were issued to women, making it the leader of female tech entrepreneurs. Saudi Arabia is also an educational oasis for females in STEM, with Riyadh being the home of the world’s largest women’s university.

To help foster this dynamic new startup environment, Saudi Arabia has established several venture capital firms that focus on early-stage investments in technology, fintech and other cutting-edge sectors. With the right policies and support from the government, the VC industry in Saudi Arabia is on the way to becoming a significant player in the global startup ecosystem. Here are few of the leading venture capital investors in Saudi Arabia today:

PIF (Public Investment Fund) – Established in 1971 to facilitate the development of the Saudi Arabian national economy, PIF has since become an investment vehicle for venture capital investments in joint-stock companies within its domestic economy. PIF has also invested in major global tech companies such as Uber and Softbank.

STV (Saudi Technology Ventures) – Founded by Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, STV is the largest VC fund in the region, with a target fund size of $1 billion. It received a $200 million investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Nama Ventures – A seed-stage venture capital fund, Nama Ventures is focused on fostering innovation throughout Saudi Arabia. Its investments range from early-stage enterprise, blockchain and financial technologies to medical and healthcare solutions.

Riyad TAQNIA Fund – A joint venture between Riyad Capital and TAQNIA, Riyad TAQNIA Fund focuses on investing in early-stage technology startups in Saudi Arabia.

Badir Program for Technology Incubators – Established by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the Badir Program for Technology Incubators is a technology incubator that provides funding and support to startups in the early stages of development.

Wa’ed Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. It invests in technology startups across various sectors, including energy, water, and information technology.

Wadi Makkah Ventures – Wadi Makkah Ventures is a venture capital firm established by Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah. It focuses on investing in early-stage startups in education, healthcare, and e-commerce.

The Way Forward

The venture capital landscape in Saudi Arabia is rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly attractive to global investors. With the right combination of government incentives, financial incentives, and a supportive business environment, the country has the potential to become a central hub for tech startups and innovative technologies.

Other countries should look to Saudi Arabia as a blueprint for fostering innovation and entrepreneurial activity. With the right policy initiatives, countries worldwide can capitalize on the potential of their entrepreneurs and create an environment that encourages growth and investment. Key recommendations include:

Creating a Supportive Business Environment: Establishing a supportive business environment involves providing entrepreneurs with the necessary resources, such as capital, mentorship and networking opportunities. Governments can also foster an entrepreneurial culture by investing in educational initiatives that provide essential skills and knowledge to current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Encouraging Public-Private Partnerships: Governments can partner with private sector entities to provide the necessary resources and infrastructure for startups to grow. These partnerships help create jobs, stimulate innovation and spur economic growth.

Providing Incentives for Venture Capital Investments: Governments should incentivize venture capitalists to invest in early-stage startups by offering tax breaks and other financial incentives. This will help encourage more risk-taking and spur economic activity.

Nurturing the Culture of Entrepreneurship: Creating an environment that embraces and celebrates entrepreneurship is essential. This can be done by organizing events and forums that bring together entrepreneurs, investors and other key stakeholders.

These initiatives will help create a more vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and enable countries to capitalize on the potential of their entrepreneurs. With the right policies, countries can foster economic growth and innovation. Saudi Arabia has become a prime example of this, and its success can be replicated worldwide.

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