The recent 3.5 billion USD investment by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) into Uber has been the topic of heated discussion since its announcement in June. The investment gave the PIF’s Managing Director, Yasir Al Rumayyan, a seat on Uber’s Board of Directors, and this aspect of the deal has been criticised by some.
However, to many observers, the investment heralds increasing cooperation between Middle Eastern investors and US tech entrepreneurs and innovators. According to the Wall Street Journal, a delegation of Saudi officials visited Silicon Valley to express interest in making more investments like the one made in Uber. They met with Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, and other key stakeholders in Silicon Valley’s tech industry.
Overall investment into the US tech sector remains healthy, with the sector seeing its 10th quarter in a row of venture capital investment worth over 10 billion USD. Most of this investment is in software companies, which represented six of the top 100 megadeals in the sector in Q2 2016. Over the course of the quarter, software attracted 8.7 billion USD in capital across 379 deals – a massive 70 percent jump in dollar terms from Q1 2016. Other popular sectors, in order of investment level, were: biotech, information technology services, media and entertainment, and computers and peripherals.
On his recent visit to the US, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held discussions with several prominent companies within the tech sector to explore potential partnerships and investments. This included signing an MoU with Cisco Systems, and a training deal with Microsoft.
Naseba is a deal facilitator that has spent over a decade building a network of contacts with investors based around the world – including the Middle East. This network includes family offices, sovereign wealth funds, investment firms, high net worth individuals and members of royalty. Our investor analyst team is currently sourcing US-based technology investment opportunities on behalf of these investors.
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