The news comes as digital transformation and futuristic technologies come to the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
Riyadh-headquartered venture capital fund, STV, has announced a new partnership with Meta, one that aims to build the technical capabilities of tech startups in the Kingdom and the wider MENA region. The collaboration will also enable growth for STV’s portfolio through Meta’s marketing and platform solutions, as part of a concerted effort by STV to utilise social and digital channels. Most interestingly, however, strategic and financial incentives from Meta have been cited as another pillar of the partnership.
“We are excited to be partnering with STV to support tech startups across the MENA region and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular,” said Fares Akkad, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Meta. “As a priority market for Meta, we’re keen on growing the wider tech ecosystem in the country by building important capabilities and skills for business communities through our marketing and platform solutions. Through this new partnership with STV, we are fully committed to furthering our investment in Saudi Arabia and the MENA tech ecosystem by building technical capabilities for SMB owners, upskilling entrepreneurs, and supporting marketers and developers.”
The news comes after Saudi government spending on tech was projected to reach $24.7 billion by 2025, which would be the highest in the world and account for 21.7% of national spending. The valuation falls in line with the strong focus on tech in Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, with digital transformation - particularly for SMEs/SMBs - a key pillar. In 2021, the Saudi government announced a series of tech-based programmes aimed at elevating the digital skills of 100,000 Saudi youth, with a focus on cybersecurity, programming, AI and gaming.
In the short term, the Saudi government announced this year that it would invest over $6.4 billion in advanced technologies, including $1 billion investment in NEOM Tech & Digital Company, which is named after the country’s futuristic city. The company has plans to launch its own metaverse, while Aramco’s VC fund, Prosperity7 Ventures, will also look to invest $1 billion in companies working on blockchain and other ‘futuristic technologies’.