Watheeq in Saudi Arabia Launches $ 26.7 Million PropTech Venture Fund for Mena Investments
Watheeq Financial Services, a Saudi Arabia-based investment management and financial advisory firm, launches venture capital fund worth 100 million Saudi Riyals ($ 26.7 million) that will invest in start-ups real estate technology ups in the kingdom and in the region.
The Watheeq PropTech VC Fund is a closed-end, Sharia-compliant venture capital fund, the company said in a statement on Sunday.
The Saudi Arabian Capital Markets Authority-approved fund is expected to reach initial close in the third quarter of this year.
“We are investing in fast growing start-ups… potential market leaders who are disrupting traditional real estate markets and stimulating environmentally friendly lifestyles,” said Khaled Zaidan, Managing Partner of the Fund and Head of Alternative Investments at Watheeq.
“Venture capitalists are getting into PropTech and we are delighted to be pioneering this transformation from Saudi Arabia to the region.”
Investors have increasingly invested in PropTech after the coronavirus pandemic forced companies, including those in the real estate industry, to digitize to ensure business continuity. Last month, Aldar Properties, Abu Dhabi’s largest real estate developer, announced its partnership with US venture capital firm Fifth Wall to invest in a fund focused on supporting PropTech start-ups in Europe. The Abu Dhabi-based company also launched an accelerator in May to support PropTech start-ups in the region.
The Watheeq PropTech VC Fund will select companies that use technology to solve problems in the real estate industry, while meeting Sharia-compliant investment standards. It will help bridge the gap between the Middle East and North African markets and the rest of the world by opening up new market opportunities.
At least 50% of the portfolio companies chosen by the investment fund operate in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, the company said.
Smart cities, smart buildings, real estate analytics, blockchain and online visualization technology are some of the focus areas for PropTech companies looking to disrupt the traditional market through digital solutions for the whole. of the real estate value chain.
In addition to the pandemic, climate concerns and rapid population growth have all helped accelerate the adoption of technology in the real estate and construction sectors and their allied industries.
“However, real estate has not yet reached its technological potential. Even though the real estate industry is the largest investment asset class in the world… it is still underutilizing technology, ”Zaidan said.