Saudi Arabia invests in nearly 40 US venture capital firms

Saudi Arabia invests in nearly 40 US venture capital firms, including those focused on crypto and Web3-related investments

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has invested in nearly 40 US venture capital firms, including some with a focus on crypto, blockchain, and Web3-related investments. Sanabil, the venture arm of the PIF, commits around $2 billion each year to support novel business models through multiple funding rounds. Among the firms that have received investment are Andreessen Horowitz, KKR, Coatue Management, and Valar Ventures, which is backed by Peter Thiel.

The portfolio also includes several blockchain and Web3-related funds such as Polychain Capital, ICONIQ Capital, and 9Yards. The exact investments and details on contributions and dates for each fund have not been disclosed.

Sanabil allocates 50% of its assets to venture capital, 30% to private equity, and 20% to a liquid portfolio. Although the fund has backed crypto-friendly venture capital firms, it remains unclear whether its liquid portfolio includes digital assets.

Since 2016, Saudi Arabia has been working to diversify its economy beyond reliance on oil exports. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been leading the charge to transform the Saudi economy into a “global investment powerhouse” and reduce dependence on crude by 2020. The prince has also outlined a vision for 2030, which includes transforming the PIF into the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.

Saudi Arabia plans to build a virtual version of its futuristic city Neom in the metaverse, although it is not clear whether it will utilize blockchain or crypto. However, the government has signed a memorandum of understanding with The Sandbox to collaborate on metaverse projects in the future.

VCs have been cautious about their links to Saudi Arabia following the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi consulate.

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