The new venture studio, DeepTech, will invest in tech firms operating within Saudi Arabia.
Hedera, the team behind the Hedera hashgraph distributed ledger network, announced a five-year partnership with the Saudi Ministry of Investment Association to support local tech startups.
Announced on Feb. 6, the deal will see Hedera launch DeepTech, a $250M venture studio, to support Saudi Arabia-based firms operating with blockchain, AI, and other emerging technology sectors.
According to Zepzi, a Hedera HBAR Foundation member, Hedera committed $50M and the Ministry of Investment Association tipped $200M to support local tech startups. Only firms operating within Saudi Arabia that leverage Hedera’s hashgraph can qualify for investment from DeepTech.
“The DeepTech Venture Studio will be specially designed to empower local Saudi companies, as well as international companies interested in operating in the Kingdom,” the announcement said. “The studio will develop innovative solutions and benefit from deep technology such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics, Internet of Things, virtual reality, and quantum computing.”
The Saudi Ministry of Investment Association said the initiative will “foster innovative investment opportunities in [Saudi Arabia] through partnering locally and globally to support the entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
The partnership was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding during the Saudi-Swiss roundtable meeting in Riyadh on the same day.
Hedera’s hashgraph is an alternative distributed ledger architecture to blockchains, comprising a decentralized and open-source Proof of Stake public ledger. The project boasts a total value locked of $78M, according to DeFi Llama.
Web3 firms look to Middle Eastern states
The news follows a spate of interest in the Middle Eastern region from web3 projects.
On Dec. 12, Coinbase announced the launch of Project Diamond, an institutional-facing smart contract platform set to join the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)’s RegLab sandbox. Project Diamond completed its first pilot on Nov. 10, issuing and maturing a USDC-denominated digital debt instrument as a technical demonstration for the ADGM.
On Dec. 7, SBI Holdings, the leading Japanese financial services company, signed a memorandum of understanding with Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, to explore investing in one another’s digital asset portfolios.
On Dec. 4, Phoenix Group, a cryptocurrency mining firm, became the first digital asset firm listed on the ADX, Abu Dahbi’s stock exchange.
On Nov. 29, Iota launching its Abu-Dhabi Iota Ecosystem DLT Foundation to facilitate the migration of real-world assets on-chain within the region. On the same day, Paxos received in-principle approval to issue stablecoins in Abu Dhabi.