What is the NEOM Investment Fund?

Posted on 10/24/2023

Saudi-based NEOM revealed its strategic investment arm called the NEOM Investment Fund (NIF). NEOM is the regional development project in northwest Saudi Arabia. NEOM is a project of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which owns 100% of a closed joint- stock company named Neom Company. NIF is NEOM’s wholly owned subsidiary which is set up to support the buildout and development of NEOM’s 14 priority sectors and deliver long-term value while enabling creation of jobs in NEOM. In January 2021, details about “The Line” were disclosed, which is a proposed 170 km-long, 200 meter-wide linear city, surrounded by mirrors.

NIF will invest globally through mergers & acquisitions and venture capital in technology startups, with a clear focus on pioneering growth companies and next-generation industries. NIF will also develop joint ventures and partnerships with large multinationals, institutional investors, and “innovators” within NEOM.

As part of its inauguration, NIF is announcing new investments in companies including Pony.ai, Inc., Regent, Boom Technology, Inc., San Diego-based BlueNalu, Inc. (involved in aquaculture), and Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands Corporation Ltd.. BlueNalu is involved in lab-grown sea food. These investments, which add to those NIF has led to date, illustrate its role working alongside NEOM sectors to support their strategies for growth, enabling new technologies, establishing businesses, and creating a thriving economy in NEOM. The NIF strategy is designed to align NEOM’s development objectives with those of innovators and institutional investors, de-risking opportunities for them to participate in creating core global growth businesses and a thriving economy in NEOM. To date, NIF has invested in several technology companies within the 14 priority sectors of NEOM that will accelerate technologies critical to the NEOM project and have a major impact on the future of living and sustainability. It is also interesting to note that financial sector and fintech companies are not mentioned.

NIF actively seeks deep partnerships with likeminded investors and entrepreneurs working on the world’s most complex problems that are in line with NEOM’s vision.

As part of its mandate, NIF will also be assuming the role of portfolio manager for NEOM’s sector assets and companies.

Health, Helicopters, Oh My!
On September 18, 2023, ZeroAvia announced that Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, and NEOM have co-led the company’s latest financing round. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures, and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund have also participated in the investment. ZeroAvia is pursuing hydrogen-electric propulsion systems. On December 8, 2022, NEOM Company invested in Boston-based Sonde Health, a health technology company committed to bringing accessible health monitoring to everyone. Sonde Health raised a US$ 19.25 million Series B investment round led by Partners Investment, with participation from NEOM Company, KT Corporation, and existing investors, including co-founder PureTech Health and M Ventures.

In 2022, NEOM revealed a US$ 175 million Series E investment in Volocopter.

Interestingly, there is no mention of SoftBank’s Vision Fund on the website page of the NEOM Investment Fund.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.

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