Venture capital takes center stage at Future Investment Initiative

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed singles out smart money, discusses market cash flow

For the sixth edition of the Future Investment Initiative, global venture capitalists participated in a plenary stage conversation around venture capital’s relevance in today’s economic conditions. The panel, “Venture Capital: Economic Rocket Launchers”, aimed to address how VCs catalyze economic growth, and determine whether investors had changed trajectory given the challenging fiscal climate.

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, founder and CEO of KBW Ventures, joined Hani Enaya, Chief Investment Officer, Sanabil Investments, Christine Tsai, CEO and Founding Partner, 500 Global, Dr. Klaus Hommels, Founder and CEO, Lakestar, Saleh Romeih, Managing Partner, Head of EMEA, SoftBank Investment Advisers, and GV Ravishankar, Managing Director, Sequoia India, for the spirited discussion moderated by Fadi Ghandour, Executive Chairman, Wamda Capital.

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed and Fadi Ghandour at FII 2022 discussing venture capital’s relevance in driving innovation

Points raised included the fact that VCs must take responsibility for instilling the ‘growth at all costs’ mindset in founders, perpetuating burn and less-considered spending. One of the strongest takeaways from the lively session was Prince Khaled’s declaration that we will now be seeing “quality capital deployed into quality companies,” referring to smart money and solid business models, as a shift away from the ‘everyone gets funded’ era.

Ghandour agreed strongly with the panelists’ “cut your burn” declarations, and asked whether VCs have taught founders to spend unwisely. He further questioned whether startups have the skills to make it through a cash-constricted market, echoing Prince Khaled’s sentiments on the need for more conservative burn.

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed during the venture capital panel at FII 2022

Emphasizing that venture capital is the precursor of all web3 developments, blockchain, and other technologies in the same realm, Prince Khaled said that “venture capital is the root of everything innovation – more money was given to VCs by LPs through the first three quarters of 2022 than in any prior full year.”

Prince Khaled added that economic downturns are time for investment movement as opposed to investment slowdown, and affirmed that “so long as there is innovation, there will be VC.”

Biotech Startups competition judging panel at FII 2022

Earlier in the three-day conference on October 25, Prince Khaled was part of the finalist judging panel for the Biotech Startups competition staged by Dammam Valley.

More than 130 startups from 15 countries competed over a six-month period for the challenge. Alongside Prince Khaled, the finalist judging panel included Ministers HE Eng. Khaled Al-Falih and HE Eng. Bandar Al-Khorayef, and business luminary Ms. Lubna Al-Olayan.

The judges, competitors and stakeholders at the conclusion of the pitching at FII

The winning companies will receive grants totaling up to US$500,000, with the total investment raised for startups during the program amounting to $12 million. Organized by Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Olayan and Dammam Valley, Saudi Aramco was the initiative’s Strategic Sponsor, with the Ministry of Investment, Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, Future Investment Initiative, and Sadara Petrochemical Company, serving as program partners.

Related: Khaled bin Alwaleed joins sector experts as judge for UAE FoodTech Challenge