Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm invests in Makkah startup

Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm invests in Makkah startup
Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm invests in Makkah startup

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Saudi Aramco, on Wednesday announced new funding for Saudi security company Averos.

Makkah-based Averos makes contactless remote monitoring technologies that enable real-time tracking of individuals, goods and vehicles, both outdoors and within large buildings such as convention halls, airports and hospitals.

The company plans to use the latest funding, its second from Wa’ed since 2019, to expand its presence in the European market. The size of the investment was not revealed.

“It is not easy for Saudi tech startups to get the attention and funding they deserve, and Wa’ed is playing a critical role in filling this gap and driving entrepreneurial culture in the Kingdom,” said Yusuf Sabadia, co-founder and CEO of Averos.

Sabadia launched Averos in 2016 along with Shaharyar Ali Anis, Dr. Saleh Basalamah and Dr. Anas Basalamah.

They all have connections to Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, a hub for Saudi research into indoor location-based technology.

The Kingdom is emerging as a leader in this sector, in part due to its work to improve the safety of millions of pilgrims who perform the annual Hajj rituals in Makkah and Madinah.

Averos recently won a contract to supply an indoor monitoring system to a Swiss epilepsy clinic. It also has a pilot project with Intel, the US chipmaker.

“Averos is an example of a Saudi-grown technology with global reach,” said Wassim Basrawi, Wa’ed managing director. “At Wa’ed, we are committed to helping the next generation of Saudi entrepreneurs pursue their business dreams internationally, helping the Kingdom compete on the global stage.”

Last month, Wa’ed reported that it had tripled the amount of money loaned to startups in the Kingdom in 2020.

The Dhahran-based initiative gave out 12 loans to small and medium enterprises, up from four in 2019, with the total value surging to SR31 million ($8.27 million), from SR10 million in 2019.

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