Saudi Telecom Company (STC) formed a $500 million venture capital fund, a move it said would grow digital innovation in the region and help the country achieve the goals of the government’s Vision 2030 programme.
In a statement, the company said the fund – known as STV – will be the largest institutional technology VC fund in the Middle East. It is set to be run independently of the parent company, with an international management team led by former Google executive Abdulrahman Tarabzouni.
The operator said the fund will help drive the government’s Saudi Vision 2030 initiative, a wide ranging policy setting priorities for the county’s development and various economic goals including reducing its reliance on the oil industry.
STC CEO Khaled Biyari (pictured) said: “We are very proud of this historic step by STC, which will be a pivotal turning point for the region’s technology ecosystem. Global telecoms have two choices – to either change and evolve into digital companies or to convert into a utility.”
“We have elected to go down the first route. STC has the potential, resources and strategic assets to make a quantum leap in the technology and entrepreneurial sectors it is working on transforming.”
STC is the largest operator by connections in the country, according to GSMA Intelligence estimates, with 25 million connections excluding M2M. Rivals Etihad Etisalat (which uses the Mobily brand) and Zain have 21 million and 11 million respectively.