The inaugural edition of LEAP has set new records for a debut technology event, attracting over 100,000 registered attendees from more than 80 countries. Over 700 exhibitors including the world’s leading technology companies and over 1,500 of the most innovative start-ups, along with more than 500 international speakers joined LEAP22, which concluded yesterday in Riyadh, making it the largest ever first edition for a technology event.
LEAP22 saw more than US$6.4 billion of investments and new technology initiatives announced, with US$1 million in prizes awarded to the winners of the Rocket Fuel Start-up Competition, an international contest to find the best new business ideas.
LEAPFROGGING ENTREPRENEURS, START-UPS AND INVESTORS
LEAP22 saw the announcement of multiple investments and funds for start-ups and entrepreneurs of over US$266 million.
Among the announcements was the completion of closing of the second round of Khwarizmi Ventures fund with a value of US$69.8 million; investment into the Emkan VC fund of over US$49.8 million and the launch by Saudi Venture Investment Company of the Investment in Advanced Stage Funds, with a value of over US$134 million, to promote the growth of start-ups.
A new partnership to build start-ups between Unifonic and TheSpaceKSA, called UnifonicX, was also revealed.
Start-up deals included Nana closing an investment round led by FIM Partners and the STV Fund, worth US$50 million; and Quant closing an investment round worth US$800,000 led by VentureSouq with participation by RaedVC and Seedra, and also announced an additional round of investment. Muzn Artificial Intelligence raised an investment round of US$10.1 million, led by Raed Ventures with the participation of Shorooq Partners, VentureSouq, Sukna Ventures and others; while Taffi raised more than US$1.8 million investment, and SIFI and Tamawal closed pre-seed rounds.
ROCKET FUEL START-UP COMPETITION
Start-ups from around the world went head-to-head in the Rocket Fuel Start-up Competition, promoting their innovative business ideas to powerhouse venture capitalists and leading international investors, to win a share of the US$1 million prize fund. Seven start-ups were victorious overall, taking home cash prizes for exciting and impactful new business ideas, scored on creativity, innovation, potential, functionality and impact on people and society.
APPLE DEVELOPER ACADEMY
Apple selected Riyadh for its first Apple Developer Academy headquarters in the Middle East and North Africa region. The academy caters solely to female programmers and developers and is located at the Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. The Apple Developer Academy will play a significant role in building coding talent in Saudi Arabia and encouraging women to develop their skills and explore careers in this exciting new sector. Female participants have already enrolled at Apple’s Developer Academy in Riyadh.
Michael Champion, Regional Executive Vice President – MEA, Informa, said LEAP22 is a breakthrough success, attracting the biggest audience for a technology event in recent years, surpassing even CES, and setting a new record for most attendees to a new platform. “LEAP22 has been able to bring to Riyadh the leading names in technology with the most exciting new start-ups and creators, to present cutting-edge innovations that will reshape the world around us. We would like to thank our world-class speakers, sponsors and partners and look forward to hosting an even bigger LEAP next year,” said Champion.
The debut edition of LEAP was sponsored by stc, Ericsson, Mobily, Huawei, Cisco, SAP, Microsoft, Saudi Digital Academy, National Technology Development Program, Monsha’at and Jahez.