The sudden impact of impact investing


 
Impact investing is a strategy that aims to generate positive benefits for society – social or environmental – while producing financial returns. This is an integral part of Wa’ed Ventures’ investment mandate to promote economic development and impact in Saudi Arabia.

We deployed $4.2 million in venture capital investment during the first half of 2021, which will contribute towards job creation, diversification and growth. Our portfolio companies strive to advance innovation and digital transformation, promote healthy and sustainable communities, and embrace environmental, social and governance practices.

 

 

Salman T. Jaffrey is Chief Investment Officer of Wa'ed Ventures

 
Wa’ed takes as a guide the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, which aim to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” Our start-ups support one or more of the 17 SDGs.

One example is Hazen.ai, based in Makkah. Every year, more than 1.35 million people die from traffic accidents globally – one every 24 seconds. Twenty to 50 million people suffer non-fatal road injuries, making traffic accidents a major concern. Hazen has developed an artificial intelligence and computer vision-based traffic analytics system that improves road safety – making traffic enforcement quicker, less expensive and more effective.
 
Another example is Sadeem, which provides smart city solutions for monitoring floods, traffic and air quality. Sadeem was established by researchers at KAUST who developed a multi-patented technology that combines solar-powered sensor networks, mobile applications and a visualization platform. Their advanced analytics in real-time emergency response and disaster management situations help save lives and money.

One way that Wa’ed is advancing this strategy is to cultivate greater awareness.
 
This month, the Aramco Technical Services Professional Academy (TSPA) produced a podcast episode with Wa'ed on venture capital and impact investing that was shared with Aramco employees. Wa’ed is also participating in a jury panel for the C3 Social Impact Accelerator Program, which helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets better society and the environment.

This six-week training and mentorship program encourages entrepreneurs to maximise their impact, and Wa’ed is honored to again be a part of the competition this year.

But our commitment to impact investing does not end with our investment decisions – we are actively supporting a new generation of investors and enablers on impact-investing.
 
In a world desperately in need of innovative solutions to address global challenges, the case for impact investing has never been stronger. At the end of the day, we all have an interest in ensuring that the economic architects of today have our planet's future at heart, and leave a promising legacy for generations to come.