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Facebook’s Meta signs partnership to support Saudi tech startups

Facebook-owner Meta has partnered with the region's largest venture capital fund to support Sausi startups

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has announced a new partnership with Riyadh-based STV (Saudi Technology Ventures), the Middle East’s largest venture capital fund, to support the growth of technology startups in the kingdom.

Founded in 2018 by Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, STV has capital of over $500 million and it’s portfolio of investments includes regional household names such as ride-hailing app Careem, buy-now-pay-later provider Tabby, restaurant management platform Foodics and ‘the Uber of trucks’ Trukker.

As part of the partnership, Meta will use its existing platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, to help Saudi startups market and grow their businesses.

“As a priority market for Meta, we’re keen on growing the wider tech ecosystem in the country by building important capabilities and skills for business communities through our marketing and platform solutions. Through this new partnership with STV, we are fully committed to furthering our investment in Saudi Arabia and the MENA tech ecosystem by building technical capabilities for SMB [small and medium business] owners, upskilling entrepreneurs, and supporting marketers and developers,” Fares Akkad, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Meta, was quoted as saying in a press release.

The partnership is part of the Saudi government’s wider drive to support small businesses in the kingdom and stimulate an environment of entrepreneurship. Data compiled by Wamda, the largest early-stage investment fund in the Middle East, found that Saudi Arabia was currently enjoying triple digit growth in investment into startups.

“Saudi Arabia’s pace of growth when it comes to its startup ecosystem has been astonishing. From January to April this year, startups in the country have raised over $500 million, that’s a growth rate of 145 percent compared to the same period last year,” Triska Hamid, editorial director at Wamda, told AGBI.

“Investors in Saudi have also become the region’s most active and will likely remain this way until they begin to feel the effects of the crashes in the global markets,” she added.