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Saudi Arabia’s Bold Move: Investing in Indian Start-ups and Establishing Sovereign Wealth Fund Office

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To facilitate investments in India, Saudi Arabia is considering setting up an office of its sovereign wealth fund (SWF) in the country, as well as investing in Indian startups through venture capital.

Khalid A. Al Falih, the country’s Investment Minister, announced on Monday that a delegation will travel to India in the next few weeks to explore the opportunity.

We are talking about bi-directional (facilitation) as Al Falih said, “I will match your offer and commit today to opening an office in India to facilitate investments.”

This was announced at the India-Saudi Arabia Investment Forum, where India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was also present.

Using venture capital funds-sovereign wealth fund the Saudi Minister expressed interest in investing in Indian start-ups that serve the Saudi market.

With the signing of a new agreement, the startup ecosystems in Saudi Arabia and India are poised to grow significantly.

We hope to create a joint venture capital agreement between our venture capital fund and its counterpart in India in the next few weeks so that venture capital and funding can be channeled to startups that can benefit from both markets, according to the Investment Minister.

Between April 2000 and June 2023, Saudi government-owned Public Investment Fund (PIF) invested $3.22 billion in Indian companies that are beyond startup stage.

In a business-to-government agreement, we ensured that all startup ecosystems in India, along with those in Saudi Arabia, such as eVision and Invest Saudi, would come together,” said Agarwalla, who is also the G20 Young Entrepreneur Alliance sherpa for India.

Further propelling the sector, the Confederation of Indian Industry entered into agreements with entities such as the Saudi Investment Fund and eVision Co.

Indian Commerce and Industry Minister suggested that India will set up an office in Riyadh partnered with FICCI, Invest India, and some officials of the commerce and industry ministry after hearing the Saudi Minister’s interest in India.

GIFT City has invited PIF, other SWFs, and investors, and Khalid Bhai and I are both committed to establishing offices there. Within 6 months, we will put both into action,” said the Indian Minister.

Gujarat’s GIFT City is a multi-purpose special economic zone.

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