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KAUST startup Sadeem secures $2.6 million investment from Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures Fund

(Pictured from left to right, front row): Mustafa Mousa, CEO, Sadeem; Wassim Basrawi, managing director, Wa’ed Ventures; Kevin Cullen, VP Innovation & Economic Development, KAUST. (Pictured from left to right, back row): Tamer Osman, head, Investment Fund, KAUST; Salman Jaffrey, investment director, Wa’ed Ventures. Photo by Khulud Muath.

Sadeem, a wireless environmental sensing systems spinout company from KAUST and the world's first multi-patented sensor solution for flood, traffic, weather and air quality monitoring, has secured $2.6 million of co-investment from the KAUST Innovation Fund and Saudi Aramco's Wa'ed Ventures Fund.

This joint funding round will support Sadeem in pioneering crucial sensor technology that helps to solve the growing global problems of natural disasters—and specifically those with a developmental benefit to Saudi Arabia.

KAUST I&ED Vice President Kevin Cullen said of the partnership: "We are thrilled to be co-investing with Wa'ed Ventures in Sadeem, one of the Kingdom's leading deep tech startups. What started as idea between KAUST students is now a fast-growing company with a strong IP position, R&D and a talented local team. Wa'ed is a great investment partner for Sadeem and will support them as they continue expanding globally."

Sadeem colleagues Marlon Diaz (right) and Ahmed Al-Hadi (left) work on installing one of the company's smart city sensor devices. File photo.

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Wassim Basrawi, managing director of Wa'ed Ventures, echoed these sentiments and shared: "Sadeem is a great example of a diverse Saudi-based startup that is transforming collaborative research efforts into commercial solutions and addressing environmental challenges through sensible smart city applications."

Basrawi also highlighted that, "[a]long with our Chief Investment Officer, Salman T. Jaffrey, we are looking forward to seeing Sadeem gain further business opportunities and support the Kingdom's road and environmental response infrastructure."

In the last five years, both KAUST and Wa'ed Ventures have been contributing to the emerging venture ecosystem in Saudi Arabia by actively investing in technology startups and early stage companies.

The Innovation Fund is the venture capital arm of KAUST and invests in deep tech startup projects and companies working to find solutions to some of the world's most pressing scientific and technological challenges. Wa'ed Ventures is the entrepreneurial venture capital arm of Saudi Aramco that invests in innovative and impactful early stage startups with high growth potential to promote economic development in Saudi Arabia.

The investment from the KAUST Innovation Fund and Wa'ed Ventures will be used by Sadeem for product updates to the existing Equa and Aura sensors, development of new technologies (for monitoring ice, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes), business development and new customer acquisition.

(Pictured from left to right): Sadeem co-founders Mustafa Mousa, Ahmad Dehwah and Esteban Canepa began their startup during their KAUST Ph.D. studies. Photo by Khulud Muath.

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"Early on as doctoral students at KAUST, we realized that there was a critical lack of information about flooding and air quality—and not just in Saudi Arabia but around the world," said Mustafa Mousa, co-founder & CEO of Sadeem. "We are proud to be playing a key role in solving this global problem and excited to continue our startup journey with an investment powerhouse like Aramco's Wa'ed Ventures Fund."

Sadeem's unique technology is non-invasive, scalable and easy to deploy. Currently, the Equa is being used in eight cities as far away as Mexico City and Texas in the United States. Sadeem is looking to introduce solutions into cities in Spain, Canada and the U.K.

Sadeem is a member of the UN Disaster Management Community; was ranked 13th Most Promising KSA Startup in Forbes Magazine 2016; and has been recognized with Best Global Startup from GITEX 2017 and Best IP-Based Startup KAUST 2016.

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