Silicon Valley-based technology investment firm Plug and Play, an early backer of companies including Dropbox and PayPal, is looking to raise $100 million to invest in Saudi tech startups, backed by a subsidiary. The Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund.
For his part, the company’s founder and CEO, Saeed Amidi, said in an interview in Riyadh that Plug and Play is in talks with Jada, a $1 billion fund set up by the Saudi Wealth Fund to help launch the local venture capital industry.
The fund is set to launch by January, he said, with Plug and Play contributing up to 10% of the total, and the rest being raised from Saudi funds and family offices. Amidi added that Plug and Play starts the fund because the quality of Saudi startups has improved over the past few years, according to what he said to Bloomberg, which was seen by Al Arabiya.net.
This comes as Saudi Arabia looks to encourage entrepreneurs and the venture capital industry as part of plans to diversify its oil-dependent economy and create jobs in the private sector. Jada also supported a $50 million Middle East fund to be managed by Hambro Birks Limited in 2021.
Amidi said Plug and Play manages a portfolio of five funds totaling $500 million and has plans to create five more.