Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm invests in Makkah startup


Riyadh: Wa’ed, the business arm of Saudi Aramco, announced new funding for Saudi security company Averos on Wednesday.

Averos, headquartered in Mecca, manufactures remote contactless surveillance technology that enables people, goods and vehicles to be tracked in real time both outdoors and in large buildings such as convention halls, airports and hospitals.

The company plans to use the latest funding, Wa’ed’s second since 2019, to expand its presence in the European market. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

“Getting the attention and funding they deserve is not easy for Saudi tech startups and Wa’ed is playing a vital role in bridging that void and promoting the corporate culture in the kingdom,” said Yusuf Sabadia, co-founder and CEO of Averos.

Sabadia started Averos in 2016 together with Shaharyar Ali Anis, Dr. Saleh Basalamah and Dr. Anas Basalamah.

They all have ties to Umm Al-Qura University in Mecca, a center for Saudi research on location-based indoor technology.

The kingdom is becoming a leader in this sector, partly because of its work to improve the safety of the millions of pilgrims who perform the annual Hajj rituals in Mecca and Medina.

Averos recently received an order to supply an indoor monitoring system to a Swiss epilepsy clinic. There is also a pilot project with Intel, the US chip maker.

“Averos is an example of a technology that has grown in Saudi Arabia and has a global reach,” said Wassim Basrawi, Managing Director of Wa’ed. “At Wa’ed, we are committed to helping the next generation of Saudi entrepreneurs realize their business dreams internationally and make the kingdom competitive on the global stage.”

Last month, Wa’ed reported that the amount of money lent to startups in the kingdom tripled in 2020.

The Dhahran-based initiative made 12 loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, up from four in 2019, with the total value increasing from SR 10 million in 2019 to SR 31 million (US $ 8.27 million).