The Wa’ed Newsletter Q2 2021

Up to 100 million SAR to invest: Wa’ed launches national search for best Saudi-based start-ups

A six-city tour from September to December will identify the next generation of transformative Saudi-based entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneur CEO

In a video, Aramco President & CEO Amin H. Nasser invites Saudis to join the Wa’ed Entrepreneurship Challenge and win a chance to qualify for start-up loans and venture capital.


Putting the ‘e’ in Saudi e-government services

Tech entrepreneur Loai Labani of Innosoft gains traction

Venture Capital

Virtual Vision to the rescue

Mohammed Al-Kharouf’s cloud-services provider helped 32,800 Aramco employees combat COVID. The business is so essential, the Saudi government let it operate during lockdowns.

Wa’ed’s VC collaboration strategy produces a bountiful first harvest

Wa’ed’s group investment in June in Red Sea Farms, a Jeddah maker of a salt water hydroponics growing system, show the benefits of VC syndication with co-investment partners.

The sudden impact of Impact Investing

Choosing venture capital investments that generate positive impact for the Kingdom is the core of Wa’ed’s VC strategy. Chief Investment Officer Salman T. Jaffrey explains.


The right chemistry

As Saudi emerges from COVID-19, the growth of a domestic chemicals industry is taking shape. Wa’ed Loan Chief Mazen Al Asnag says demand for chemical start-ups is on the rise.

Practice makes perfect: Artal Clinic

Dr. Lamees Abuounassif’s 20-year trek to become one of the first Saudi women to own and operate her own dental practice.

Saudi’s Self-Storage King

Mohammed Al-Humran repurposed an iconic Al-Khobar parking garage into the Kingdom’s largest self-storage business.

Incubation & Mentoring

The unexpected lightness of virtual incubation

In a post-COVID world, virtual incubation has established itself as the preferred way to mentor start-up entrepreneurs. Dr. Sarah Ghaleb, head of Wa’ed’s Entrepreneurship Innovation Ecosystem, explains why.

Where fish meet fauna: The age of aquaponics

Mohammed Al Qahwaji’s Aquaponica start-up is convincing Saudi investors there’s profit to be made in marrying fish farms and hydroponic vegetable operations.

From 7th grade into the Guiness Book of World Records

At just 13 years old, Ritaj Alhazmi of Dhahran, a Wa’ed EIS Society member, is the world’s youngest series author. With three books out and two in the works, her story is just beginning.

Inside Wa’ed

The road to the road show

The logistics of planning a national roadshow were daunting. But as usual, the Wa’ed team is pulling together to organize a prime-time event, writes Wa’ed COO Raed Al-Bakawi.

Going long on Saudi’s future: Wa’ed’s growing investment portolio

Betting on Saudi start-ups is not just patriotic, it makes good business sense for Wa’ed. In 2020, the value of its venture capital investment portfolio soared 78 million SAR, writes Wa’ed CFO Majed Alarji. That may be just the beginning.

IES - Gulf’s leading entrepreneur society

Join the largest group of Gulf entrepreneurs, Wa’ed’s Innovation Ecosystem Society. Engage with 1,500 experts in a high-level dialogue on the future of Saudi’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Scan the QR code for sign-up details.

Wa’ed 3Q calendar

There’s a lot going on at Wa’ed. Click here for a calendar of important dates and events in July, August and September.

About Wa’ed

Wa’ed, the Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center, is located in Dhahran Techno Valley near Aramco HQ. Established in 2011, Wa’ed is the only no-collateral lender to Saudi start-ups and the largest domestic VC investor in Saudi-based firms. To contact us, visit our website

Q2 Announcements

Wa’ed was busy during the second quarter. Click here to read our news releases published April-June 2021.

Wa’ed’s VC investment in FalconViz

Wa’ed invests in NearMotion

Wa’ed invests in Red Sea Farms

Wa’ed invests in IR4LAB

Wa’ed and Falak Investment Hub sign an MOU

In our next issue

In our next issue, we’ll update you on Wa’ed’s Entrepreneurship Roadshow, profile more Wa’ed portfolio companies such as drone delivery service Quix and run through the latest venture capital and loan announcements from the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco.

Work in progress

The renovation of Wa’ed’s headquarters in Dhahran Techno Valley is moving along. Soon, the first half of our office will be completed, and workers will begin on the rest.


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