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Saudi Arabia makes move on Estonia’s tech industry

Saudi Estonia technology investments Saudi Press Agency
Saudi minister of investment Khalid Al-Falih met with Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (centre) to forge the deals
  • Kingdom’s ministry of investment agrees multiple deals
  • Estonia focuses on ‘deep tech’
  • Sector attracted $191m to the country last year

Saudi Arabia has signed multiple deals with companies in Estonia as it tries to tap into the European country’s tech industry.

Five memoranda of understanding and cooperation agreements across trade, technology and entrepreneurship have been negotiated by Saudi’s Ministry of Investment.

A Saudi-Estonian business council is also planned under an agreement between the Federation of Saudi Chambers and the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Khalid Al Falih, Saudi’s minister of investment, concluded an official visit last month – the ninth over the past two years between both nations – as they look to build on trade of $412 million in 2022.

Further joint ventures include link-ups with companies that specialise in so-called deep tech, which use enhanced technology and scientific methods to address societal challenges such as climate change.

Saudi’s Shammal Commercial Investment Company will work with Estonian startup GScan, which uses 3D imaging. Their website promises to “Scan anything. Detect Everything”.

And the Ministry of Investment will work with Auve Tech, which develops autonomous vehicles, to explore manufacturing opportunities in the kingdom.

Rigel Capital, a capital management firm that has its headquarters in Singapore, is partnering with Clevon, another driverless vehicle company in Estonia, to establish a branch in Saudi Arabia.

Al Falih has been identifying avenues to enhance bilateral relations during his visits.

He has met both private sector leaders and government officials including Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Tiit Riisalo, minister of economic affairs and information technology.

Estonia wants to accelerate entrepreneurship based around research and technology. 

Startup Estonia and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications have drawn up a plan to double the number of deep tech projects by 2025, and increase it five-fold by 2030. 

Last year deep tech companies attracted $191 million across 15 deals in the country – equal to 13 percent of all venture capital investments.

There are 1,500 startups in Estonia, of which 120 registered deep tech as their field of activity.

These include Milrem Robotics which attracted the attention of UAE defence giant Edge Group in February.

Edge bought a majority stake in the company, representing the largest foreign investment in Estonia’s growing defence industry.