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Saudi’s NDF & SDB to establish gaming-industry focused venture funds

The Saudi National Development Fund (NDF), in collaboration with the Social Development Bank (SDB), has signed two agreements to establish two venture funds with a total size of $120 million, in an innovative move to bolster the gaming and Esports industry within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The announcement was made during the LEAP 2024 technology conference in Riyadh, marking a significant step towards nurturing the thriving gaming and Esports industry.

The initiative is part of the Gaming and Esports Financing Program, cooperating with the Saudi Esports Federation. Merak Capital and IMPACT 46, the entities managing the two funds, will provide development financing for gaming and Esports companies through equity investments to accelerate growth, enhance local content development, and amplify the industry’s economic and social impact to achieve the objectives of the National Gaming and Esports Strategy and the Digital Content Program (Ignite).

Merak Capital is set to manage the first investment fund, which will be $80 million. The fund will focus on establishing a gaming accelerator backed by venture investment to spur growth and cultivate local talent in the gaming industry. The goal is to position Saudi companies as leaders in this vibrant sector.

The second fund, managed by IMPACT46 and with a total value of $40 million, seeks to stimulate private sector investment in the local gaming and Esports industry. Additionally, it seeks to attract international firms and studios to establish a more substantial presence in the Kingdom, further enriching the sector’s ecosystem.

Governor of NDF, Dr. Stephen Grove, stated that, “The gaming and Esports industry has seen exponential growth globally, generating substantial revenue and job opportunities. With Saudi Arabia’s young demographic and other attractive investment components, NDF and our partners are prioritizing innovative financing solutions for this industry. We aim to ensure its financial sustainability and contribute to the Kingdom’s economic diversification and job creation efforts.”

CEO of SDB, Eng. Sultan Al-Humaidi emphasized SDB’s commitment to supporting the gaming and e-sports industry, recognizing its potential for growth within the Kingdom. “Our objective is to cultivate the industry to self-sufficiency, positioning the Kingdom as a global hub. We provide the necessary support to ensure this venture succeeds, advancing the Saudi digital economy forward as a key component of the Kingdom’s digital transformation goals aligned with Saudi Vision 2030,” Eng. Al-Humaidi added.

This comes as part of NDF’s endeavors to develop the promising Saudi sectors and enhance their contribution to the national economy. This goal can be accomplished through empowerment and financial development support to establish an environment that attracts local talent, delivers promising experiences, and targets top-tier game production and development projects.

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