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KSA’s Savola Group Launches CVC Fund to Invest in Tech-Enabled Food & Retail Startups

The decades-old conglomerate is looking to the new wave of innovation, particularly in the food and retail sectors.

A giant in food and retail in Saudi Arabia, Savola Group has announced the launch of a new corporate venture capital fund and wasted no time in seeking some of the most innovative tech startups. The conglomerate has already closed its first two investments, the first a Series B funding round for UAE-based last-mile delivery startup, Lyve, and the second a full acquisition of Saudi-based Panda Retail Company’s e-grocery service, PandaClick.

While no figures have been disclosed, the two deals signal Savola Group’s intent on backing disruptive, tech-enabled startups regionally and even internationally, with a focus on Series A and B investments. It’s also hoped that, through the fund, its existing portfolio can also stand to benefit from the increasing wave of entrepreneurship sweeping across the region.

“These investments are important pivot plays for us as a group,” said Waleed Khalid Fatani, Savola Group CEO, said of their maiden investments. “The programme’s focus is to offer opportunities for our operating portfolio companies to benefit from innovative business models to maintain their edge while allowing the Group some capital allocation directly or indirectly in digital and new innovative models in our core sectors.”

Founded in 1979 as Saudi Vegetable Oils and Ghee Co., Savola Group initially came to make a name for itself by importing and refining edible oil. Over the decades, the Jeddah-headquartered company expanded into sugar, fresh dairy products and fast food restaurants, with some often referring to it as the ‘Nestle of the Middle East’.

Learn more about Savola Group here.




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