One of Saudi Arabia’s largest venture capital firms, STV, has acquired the help of a Google employee to help boost their startups into unicorns. A unicorn is a privately held startup that has a value of over $1 billion, not to be confused with the mythical creature bearing one horn.
Ivan Jakovljevic will be joining STV as their chief development officer as reported by Bloomberg. He oversaw Google’s markets in the Middle East and Northern Africa prior to accepting the position with STV.
Jakovlijevic is in good company though, the CEO of STV is also a former Google employee. Abdulrahman Tarabzouni used to work for Google, however, after joining STV he feels it is a vital time for Saudi Arabia and two or three of their startups have the potential of reaching unicorn status in a few years.
STV is known for backing the rideshare service named Careem, which was based in Dubai but was later sold to Uber. Uber was able to increase its presence in the region and ward off rivals in the area.
STV also sold Souq.com in 2017 to Amazon. This was soon rebranded to Amazon.ae, which allowed Amazon to plant its foot in the Middle East selling products and even those from Amazon in the United States.
STV believes that Saudi Arabia venture capital investments are growing rapidly and the region is soon to catch on and realize the potential in it.
The firms that Jakovlijevic will be helping STV include Trukker, which is a land freight digital hub and Mrsool, which has become a more popular delivery service than Uber in the region.
Trukker is responsible for bringing in one of the largest funding rounds for a startup in the area. STV is hopeful that they may raise more than $500 million in their second-round funding after their initial backing by Saudi Telecom Company.
Tarabzouni is hopeful that with the help of Jakovlijevic STV has the potential to raise more than one unicorn startup, which is an amazing feat. Unicorn startups are rare, which is why they are classified with the name of a mythical creature.