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Top 10 Accelerators in KSA: Fueling Startup Growth

by Dr. Isma Amin
Fueling Startup Growth

In Saudi Arabia, accelerators are an essential part of the entrepreneurial scene since they foster innovation and rapid business growth. These organizations help entrepreneurs get faster from concept to market-ready firms by providing them with crucial tools, guidance, and frequent initial money. The entrepreneurial landscape in Saudi Arabia is flourishing and has changed quickly in the last several years.

Startup Growth

Let’s explore the top ten accelerators feuling startup growth in KSA:

1.       Flat6Labs

Flat6Labs Saudi Arabia’s Flat6Labs Riyadh is an accelerator program for entrepreneurs in its early stages. It is a collaborative effort between the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Flat6Labs, a top startup accelerator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) area. Startups can participate in a four-month intensive program of training, financing, and mentorship through the Flat6Labs Riyadh Seed Program.

Founding year 2011
Location Riyadh
Key focus areas Early-stage startups in all industries
Notable success stories Trukker, Yaoota, Foodics

2.       Misk Accelerator

misk accelerator

The goal of the 12-week Misk Accelerator program in Saudi Arabia is to assist early-stage, high-growth potential technological firms. The program’s objectives are to assist new entrepreneurs in developing their goods and services, validating their business models, and effectively launching their ventures.

Founding year 2017

 

Key focus areas Early-stage startups in all industries
Notable success stories ·         Halan, Tamara, Snoonu

 

3.       The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator

The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator

A 13-week program called the Riyadh Techstars Accelerator assists early-stage firms in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) area with the development and expansion of their enterprises. The program’s objectives are to assist new entrepreneurs in developing their goods and services, validating their business models, and effectively launching their ventures.

Founding year 2018
Key focus areas Early-stage startups in all industries

 

Notable success stories Lean Technologies, Tamara, Snoonu

4.       KAUST innovation Fund

KAUST

The KAUST Innovation Fund is a venture capital fund that makes strategic long-term investments in high-tech firms ranging from seed (less than $200,000) to early-stage (up to $2 million). King Abdullah University of Science and Technology’s (KAUST) innovation and economic development division, KAUST Innovation Ventures, is in charge of managing the fund.

Founding year 2010

 

Key focus areas Deep-tech startups in energy, water, food, ICT, and healthcare
Notable success stories Swvl, Fetchr, Careem

5.       BIAC Innovation Center

BIAC Innovation Center

The BIAC Innovation Centre is a vibrant centre for technical innovation and creativity devoted to promoting innovation across a range of businesses. Fundamentally, the BIAC Innovation Centre is a cooperative setting where researchers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries convene to share ideas, create state-of-the-art technology, and convert innovative concepts into practical solutions.

Founding year 2013
Key focus areas Early-stage startups in all industries
Notable success stories Haraj, Mrsool, Jadwa Investment

6.       TAQADAM

TAQADAM

Supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), TAQADAM is a 12-week accelerator program for Saudi Arabia’s early-stage entrepreneurs.

Founding year 2015
Key focus areas Early-stage startups in all industries
Notable success stories Yajny, Sary, Tamara

7.       OXAGON Accelerator

Oxagon

An innovative 12-week program called the OXAGON Accelerator is designed for early-stage businesses that are creating solutions to practical supply chain and logistics issues. The future metropolis of NEOM, which is being constructed in Saudi Arabia, provides support for the program and is driven by Brinc.

Founding year 2019
Key focus areas Early-stage startups in all industries
Notable success stories Pylon, YallaCompare, Foodics

8.       Falak

Falak

An intense 4-month program called Falak Accelerator is available to early-stage tech businesses in Egypt. Egypt Ventures, the venture capital division of the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation, powers it. The goal of Falak Accelerator is to identify bright and driven seed stage tech company founders and support their growth in the quickly evolving business environment in the area.

Founding year 2022
Key focus areas Early-stage startups in all industries
Notable success stories TBA

9.      Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator

Sanabil 500 MENA Seed AcceleratorA 12-week program called the Sanabil 500 MENA Seed Accelerator was created to assist early-stage technology businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) area with the development and introduction of their goods and services. The program is a collaboration between Saudi Arabian investment firm Sanabil Investments and international venture capital and startup accelerator 500 Startups.

Founding year 2017
Key focus areas Early-stage startups in all industries
Notable success stories Yajny, Tamara, Snoonu

 

10.   HASSAD

hassad

Established in 2009, HASSAD is an agricultural investment firm based in Saudi Arabia. The Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund, is the company’s owner. The goals of HASSAD are to provide food security in Saudi Arabia and to grow the agricultural industry in that nation.

Founding year 2019
Key focus areas Agtech startups
Notable success stories Nandi, VeggyBox, Agrilution

 

What is the Definition of Accelerator

Accelerators are organized initiatives created to accelerate the development of new businesses rapidly. Through a mix of tools, coaching, and initial money, these programs help businesses develop their ideas, improve their business models, and get into the market more quickly.

What are the selection criteria for the accelerator

Carefully chosen selection criteria are used to determine which Saudi Arabian accelerators are the best, taking into account both their efficacy and value to the country’s startup community. These criteria cover a wide range of elements, such as the accelerator’s track record of producing success stories, the caliber and scope of mentorship offered to participating startups, the volume of funding opportunities facilitated, and the quantifiable influence these programs have had on the expansion of participating startups as well as the larger entrepreneurial scene.

What are the key criteria and factors used to identify the top accelerators in Saudi Arabia

The selection of the best accelerators in Saudi Arabia is based on a number of important criteria and considerations. These include the accelerator’s track record of success in terms of the startups it has developed and launched, the caliber and scope of the mentorship and support it offers to startups, the amount of money and investment opportunities it facilitates, and the quantifiable effects these initiatives have had on the expansion of startups and the larger entrepreneurial ecosystem.

How have accelerators contributed to the growth of the startup ecosystem in KSA

Accelerators have played a vital role in the development of the startup ecosystem in Saudi Arabia by furnishing companies with crucial resources and assistance. They provide cash, networking opportunities, and mentorship, all of which are essential for early-stage entrepreneurs. Accelerators improve the viability and competitiveness of these firms by mentoring founders, improving their business models, and assisting them in obtaining capital. Additionally, accelerators’ structured programs encourage speedy learning, which helps firms overcome obstacles and change quickly.

Startup Fundraising

What role does mentorship play in the success of these accelerators

The success of accelerators is greatly influenced by mentoring, which offers specialized advice, industry expertise, and individualized assistance to entrepreneurs. Experienced mentors provide entrepreneurs with essential insights to help them improve their plans, overcome obstacles, and make wise decisions. The mentorship program proves to be particularly advantageous in augmenting the business acumen of entrepreneurs who might have limited prior entrepreneurial experience. In addition, mentors frequently lend their broad networks, which helps create beneficial relationships with possible investors, partners, and clients.

How do these accelerators typically provide funding and resources to startups

Typically, accelerators use a variety of techniques to give businesses resources and capital. In return for equity, they frequently provide a predetermined seed investment or grant, which aids entrepreneurs with their early funding requirements. Accelerators also assist companies in refining their business strategy and pitch in order to acquire outside investment by connecting them with possible investors.

Accelerators provide co-working spaces, access to technological infrastructure, legal and financial advice, and a collaborative atmosphere that encourages invention as resources. They also provide entrepreneurs access to a network of mentors, advisers, and industry experts who are willing to share their expertise and provide help.

Are there any specific sectors or industries that these accelerators focus on

Yes, as a reflection of the nation’s aspirations to diversify its economy, accelerators in Saudi Arabia frequently concentrate on a broad variety of sectors and businesses. A few frequent areas of interest for accelerators are technology and software development, renewable energy, healthcare and biotechnology, education technology, fintech, and e-commerce, however, the precise topics may differ across them.

These industries show the country’s dedication to promoting innovation and entrepreneurship across a range of industries and are in keeping with the Kingdom’s objectives for economic diversification, as stated in Vision 2030.

What are the statistics on the impact of these accelerators on the number of successful startups in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, accelerators have been instrumental in the expansion of the startup scene. A Magnitt research states that in 2022, venture capital financing for Saudi Arabian companies exceeded $1 billion, with over 40% of the funds flowing to startups that had taken part in accelerator programs.

What are some of the challenges that accelerators face in the Saudi Arabian startup ecosystem

Following are some of the challenges the accelerators face in the Saudi Arabian startup ecosystem:

Challenges that accelerators face in the Saudi Arabian startup ecosystem

  • Limited access to funding
  • Lack of entrepreneurial talent
  • Regulatory hurdles
  • Cultural barriers

Examples

  • One accelerator reported that it had to turn down over 2,000 applications in 2022 due to a lack of funding.
  • Another accelerator reported that it had difficulty finding qualified mentors and coaches for its startups.
  • One startup reported that it took over a year to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to launch its product.
  • Another startup reported that it had difficulty raising funding from female investors.

How have these accelerators adapted to the changing landscape of entrepreneurship in KSA, especially in the post-pandemic era

Saudi Arabian accelerators have responded in a variety of ways to the evolving business scene, particularly in the aftermath of the epidemic. They have introduced new initiatives to assist later-stage businesses, broadened their focus to target sectors, intensified their emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and raised their attention on virtual programming.

In the present context, several adjustments have been required to fulfill the demands of startups. Startups are increasingly searching for industry-specific help as well as virtual support. Accelerators are also realizing how important it is to assist companies from a variety of backgrounds. Accelerators are playing an increasingly important role in fostering a more dynamic and encouraging startup environment in Saudi Arabia by adjusting to the rapidly evolving landscape of entrepreneurship.

What is the outlook for the future of accelerators in Saudi Arabia, and how do they plan to support even more startups in the coming years

  • Expanding their reach to underserved communities
  • Offering more specialized programs for different industries and stages of growth
  • Providing more support to startups in terms of funding, mentorship, and networking opportunities
  • Collaborating with other accelerators and ecosystem players to create a more supportive environment for startups

Conclusion

In Saudi Arabia, accelerators are essential to the expansion and advancement of the nation’s startup scene. Accelerators are contributing to the development of a more dynamic and entrepreneurial atmosphere in Saudi Arabia by giving companies the tools, assistance, and mentoring they require to flourish. Accelerators have responded to the evolving nature of entrepreneurship by introducing new programs to assist later-stage firms, increasing the amount of virtual programming they give, narrowing their focus to certain industries, and putting a stronger emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

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