Riyadh – Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has decided to form a $500 million venture capital fund, a move it said would develop digital innovation in the region.
During a news conference in Riyadh on Thursday, STC CEO Khaled Biyari said that the company had first launched venture capital projects in 2012.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We decided to expand investment in venture capital projects through establishing a huge fund. Necessary studies to complete this fund have taken around nine months to complete.”
Biyari noted that the huge growth of e-commerce in Saudi Arabia represents an additional value to the expected success of the new fund.
He continued: “We have ambitious youths who have entered the field of e-commerce and the digital sector and achieved success.”
During the news conference, STC Ventures CEO Abdulrahman Tarabzouni said that the first investments of the new fund will be launched in the first quarter of 2017.
“We will study all possible opportunities to go along with the global funds and we will invest in STC potentials to achieve the greatest success,” he stressed.
Biyari said: “We are very proud of this historic step by STC, which will be a pivotal turning point for the region’s technology ecosystem. Global telecoms have two choices – to either change and evolve into digital companies or to convert into a utility.”
“We have elected to go down the first route. STC has the potential, resources and strategic assets to make a quantum leap in the technology and entrepreneurial sectors it is working on transforming,” Biyari added.