The 50 Most Promising Saudi Startups
Three startups of VCC have been ranked among the top 50 startups in Saudi Arabia by Forbes Middle East. The startups are FalconViz (5), Visual Experience (19), and Hachid (21).
Forbes Middle East elaborates:
this year, Saudi Arabia unveiled Vision 2030, its plan to diversify
away from oil. Important players in that shift will be entrepreneurs.
some big investors showed no sign of activity in 2016, notably the
corporate venture arms of Saudi Telecom and Mobily, others, such as
Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed and Qotuf AlRiyadah/Flat6Labs Jeddah, are spending
time and money developing a startup ecosystem. Tuba Terekli, who heads
Qotuf AlRiyadah/Flat6Labs Jeddah, has invested in 38 companies so far,
including mobile game developer Ayah Studios, which has nearly two
million downloads, and Maharah, a provider of on-demand home maintenance
services, which now employs 450 people.
Startups are also getting a
boost from universities. King Abdullah University of Science and
Technology (KAUST) runs KAUST Innovation Fund that has made investments
in NOMADD, a manufacturer of automated solar panel cleaning technology,
and Sadeem, which makes sensors. King Fahd University of Petroleum and
Minerals' Dhahran Techno Valley also incubates startups and provides
seed investment; they include Telaa, which developed anti-corrosion
material for pipelines that is supposed to be more effective and
environmentally friendly than existing technology, and ConCure which
uses less water in making concrete.
We narrowed the list this
year to 50, down from 100, and came up with stronger candidates.
Twenty-four are new, including C3 Films, Cura and Rwaq. E-commerce still
dominates, but startups are becoming savvier at using technology to
collect and analyze data from transactions. Examples include OrderMe and
Morni. Out of the 50 startups, 16 are still bootstrapping.
Methodology: We looked at
more than 250 startups, and ranked them according to the amount of
equity raised (startups whose sole funding came from loans were
excluded), and source of funding. We also took into consideration
business models and the potential size of the market. The majority of
entrepreneurs were forthcoming and transparent about their funding, but a
few asked us to publicly withhold that information. Startups are
maximum six years old."