Saudi Aramco arm Wa’ed bets on SaaS startup Fathom Solutions

 Saudi Aramco arm Wa’ed bets on SaaS startup Fathom Solutions

Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Saudi Arabian oil and gas behemoth Aramco, has backed local software-as-a-service startup Fathom Solutions, with an undisclosed amount of investment.

Fathom was founded in 2018 by Ibrahim Al-Baloud. The company began operating in the oil and gas industry but has since expanded its solutions to address all related areas in the industrial market. It provides custom-made enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to deliver intelligent application suites at scale to achieve business agility.

Headquartered in Dhahran, Fathom is now expanding its operations to cover Oslo, Kyiv, and Warsaw.

The transaction adds to the busy pace of dealmaking for Wa’ed this year. Last month, it had backed Dubai-based ecommerce company Joi Gifts, which raised $2.5 million in a Series A round led by venture capital firm Knuru Capital.

Wa’ed made at least four investments in June. It invested $1.5 million in blockchain startup IR4LAB and invested $500,000 in drone operator FalconViz, five years after first backing the company. It also made a follow-on investment in digital mapping and navigation startup NearMotion and agritech startup Red Sea Farms.

In February, Wa’ed Ventures had invested for a second time in Hazen.ai, a startup focussed on artificial intelligence-based traffic analytics and monitoring software.

Aramco had set up Wa’ed, which offers entrepreneurs loan financing, in 2011. Wa’ed also has a venture capital arm that manages investments in excess of $200 million in more than 30 companies in the kingdom.

In April, Wa’ed had signed a preliminary pact with the Falak Investment Hub to increase venture capital investment for early- and growth-stage Saudi startups.

The alliance with Falak was the fifth since December last year following similar agreements with Oqal, Taiba Valley Companies, and Namaa Almunawara, among others.

Wa’ed, through its VC arm Wa’ed Ventures, is the largest and most active VC investor focused on Saudi Arabia-based startups. Through its loan financing arm, it is the kingdom’s only no-collateral lender to startups.

Wa’ed’s other investments include Golden Scent, a Saudi beauty e-commerce platform, and Ynmo, the Middle East’s first Arabic-language instructional software for children with autism and other special educational needs.

Aman Malik

The Capital Quest