Raiven Capital, a global early-stage technology venture fund, arrived in Riyadh to judge a $600,000 startup competition for LEAP, a 61,000 attendee, three-day tech conference that begins today.
The inaugural conference involves more than 400 speakers, 80 countries, and 1,000 startups. It is part of Saudi Vision 2030, the plan to diversify from fossil fuels and develop other sectors, especially its digital technology-based economies. A major part of this plan is to nurture its future entrepreneurial society.
Ninety startups are competing in the Rocket Fuel Startup Competition, with a cash prize of $600,000. Startups will be judged on creativity, innovation, potential, functionality, and impact on people and society. There are four awards, with prizes ranging from $100,000 to $200,000.
“Raiven is excited to be here, to judge the most innovative startups from around the world, lead panel discussions, and meet investors and entrepreneurs. Nurturing early-stage companies is critical to growing the region into the future,” said Supreet Manchanda, General Partner of Raiven Capital.
“There is tremendous potential here and in the rest of the region,” noted Raiven Limited Partner Björn Öste, co-founder of Oatly, which raised $1.4 billion last year during its $10 billion IPO. “It is inspiring to see so many great innovations and the commitment to see the tech and food sectors grow,” he said.
The LEAP conference is part of a larger Mideast tour for Raiven, including Oman and Dubai, where Raiven is meeting with investors, their stealth portfolio company, and finalizing plans for its license and eventual Mideast hub.