Riyadh: A venture capital fund that’s backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and China’s Alibaba Group is close to raising $1 billion to back technology start-ups in Asia and the Middle East.
“Saudi has a very big market and China has Internet and technology companies that are preparing to expand globally, so one hand has the market, and the other hand has the technology,” eWTP Arabia Capital founding partner Jerry Li said in an interview in Riyadh.
Founded in 2019, the fund raised $400 million for deals that year. It has already invested in 16 companies and plans to list three of them on the Saudi stock exchange and two in the US next year, Li said.
Both the PIF, as the Saudi wealth fund is known, and Alibaba will remain major contributors in the second funding round along with other international investors, he said.
The venture capital fund is currently working on 20 projects in the fields of technology, logistics, and infrastructure, half of them are based in Saudi Arabia.