Saudi Arabia

Saudi Money Flows Into Silicon Valley—and With It Qualms

10/16/18
from The Wall Street Journal,
10/16/18:

The kingdom is now the largest single investor for U.S. startups, an unsettling fact for Silicon Valley.

As international backlash grows over Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in the possible murder of a journalist, Silicon Valley faces a potentially unsettling fact: The kingdom is now the largest single funding source for U.S. startups. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has directed at least $11 billion of Saudi money into U.S. startups since mid-2016, either directly or through SoftBank Group Corp.’s $92 billion tech-focused Vision Fund, to which the Saudis committed $45 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal estimate of data from research firm PitchBook. The total invested by the kingdom so far in U.S. startups is far bigger than the total raised by any single venture-capital fund. Some of tech’s most prominent young companies have welcomed Saudi money, including Uber Technologies Inc., office-sharing company WeWork Cos. and augmented-reality device maker Magic Leap Inc. For Uber, the situation could be particularly dicey: A prominent Saudi official sits on its board.

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