Invest Saudi report highlights a record in foreign investor licenses issued by SAGIA, up 54%

Recently, Invest Saudi, an initiative by the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), launched its fourth Investment Highlights report. In the report, trends in foreign direct investment (FDI) and other investment initiatives were highlighted, including an increase of 54% in the number of international companies that established operations in Saudi Arabia.

Similar to the startup ecosystem, 2019 saw investor interest in the Kingdom reach new heights, with momentum continuing to build in the run up to 2030. In total, 1,131 licenses were awarded to investors, and more than 150 major investor deals were signed by SAGIA throughout the year.

The growth in foreign interest comes with the support of the VENTURE Platform by Invest Saudi, an initiative aimed at attracting global venture capital firms to the Kingdom. As part of the platform, a streamlined licensing process was created for venture capital portfolio companies as well,  offering an ‘instant license’ in under three hours. Accordingly, startups and other portfolio companies will have quicker access to one of the largest regional markets.

Commenting on the platform, Sultan Mofti, SAGIA’s Deputy Governor of Investment Attraction & Development, said, “Across the globe, venture capital firms are key to nurturing entrepreneurship, promoting innovation, and unlocking value. Last year, the venture industry set a new record and deployed $130.9 billion to US-based startups alone. We want to build and encourage the world’s top VCs to set up a presence in Saudi Arabia and partner with us, and with local private sector companies, in our growth story.”

Through the initiatives, with an eye on Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has increased its rank by number of deals and total funding in the startup ecosystem, according to MAGNiTT’s 2019 MENA Venture Investment Summary. With 69 deals and $67M in total funding, both at an all-time high, the Kingdom now ranks third in the region, respectively.