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10 February 2020

Saudi VC fund hires former Google executive to build tech unicorns

Interest in the Middle East’s nascent technology industry has been picking up after Uber last year agreed to acquire Careem and’s takeover of in 2017

Start-ups with a market value of $1 billion are typically referred to as unicorns/Bloomberg

by Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s STV, one of the Middle East’s largest venture capital funds has hired Ivan Jakovljevic from Google to help transform its portfolio of start-ups into so-called unicorns.

Jakovljevic will join Saudi Arabia’s STV—which backed Dubai-based ride-hailing firm Careem before its sale to Uber—as Chief Development Officer in March.

In a statement, STV said that Jakovljevic was previously Head of New Markets for Google in the Middle East and North Africa.

Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, STV Chief Executive Officer, said, “Saudi start-ups are at an inflection point and the fund is nurturing what could become another two-to-three unicorns over the next few years.”

Start-ups with a market value of $1 billion are typically referred to as unicorns. According to a MAGNiTT report, almost 600 start-ups received more than $700 million in funding last year.

Jakovljevic, who has an MBA from Stanford University, will help grow firms like Trukker, a digital marketplace for land freight that raised one of the largest initial rounds of capital for a start-up in the region and Mrsool, a delivery app that is more popular than Uber and Facebook in Saudi Arabia.

STV started operations in 2017 with funding from Saudi Telecom. In October 2019, Tarabzouni said that the digital firm is considering raising a second fund of at least $500 million.

RELATED STORIES: STV Ivan Jakovljevic Google Careem Uber





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