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Aramco’s VC arm leads $13m funding for satellite operator

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Wa'ed is the entrepreneurial venture capital arm of the kingdom's state oil giant. This is its first investment overseas

Luxembourg-based OQ Technology, a global 5G internet of things satellite operator, has raised 13 million euros ($13.05 million) in its Series A funding round co-led by Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures and Greece’s Phaistos Investment Fund, according to a joint statement on Thursday.

It is Wa’ed’s first investment overseas, since it expanded its mandate to pursue global tech startups looking to localise their products and solutions in Saudi Arabia.

Wa’ed is the entrepreneurial venture capital arm of the kingdom’s state oil giant. Phaistos Investment Fund focuses on investment in 5G-related products and services and managed by 5G Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Athens.

Founded by Omar Qaise, who used to work at the European Space Agency and the German Aerospace Centre as a spacecraft engineer, OQ Technology provides unrestricted cellular coverage across the world for companies to monitor their assets and get machines connected across the world.

The funding will be used to expand the operations to Saudi Arabia, which will host one of the largest data and network operations centres in the Middle East for 5G satellite services, and to seek new opportunities in Greece, the statement said.

Rising interest rates have made funding more challenging for technology companies. Higher yields dull the allure of companies in technology and other high-growth sectors, where cash flows are often heavily weighted in the future and are reduced when discounted at higher rates.

“Against a challenging economic backdrop, our decision to seek funding was rewarded with a raise that will help us achieve our immediate goals in terms of growth, expansion into Middle East, Africa, and Oceania,” said Omar Qaise, founder and CEO of OQ Technology in the statement.

($1 = 0.9963 euros)