Riyadh Valley Company, the VC investment arm of King Saud University of Saudi Arabia, has acquired stake at Solexel, a US-based producer of high-performance solar PV technology in a $70 million round.
Solexel which is based in California, has developed the world’s highest-performance thin wafer silicon solar PV modules. It is backed by venture investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and DAG Ventures as well as GAF, the largest roofing materials manufacturer in North America. Established to help transform Saudi Arabia’s oil-based economy into a more diversified knowledge-based economy, Riyadh Valley Company is one of the Kingdom’s largest initiatives, developed to help adopt innovation culture and foster entrepreneurship.
Riyadh Valley Company is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code SIJ54.
More details follows:
Solexel, a leading US-based producer of high-performance solar PV technology, has successfully finalised a round of financing that included Riyadh Valley Company, the venture capital investment arm of King Saud University of Saudi Arabia. Through investor introduction services provided by naseba, the investment will be used to help transition Solexel into revenue. Solexel's innovative high performance, lightweight solar PV panels deliver low cost energy.
The Middle East is the most liquid region in the world today and investors based there are keen to adopt innovation, as well as foster entrepreneurship. The region is fast becoming an expansion hub as GCC investors are aggressively looking into investment opportunities from around the world.
To avoid the time, expense and cultural pitfalls of trying to go it alone, Solexel chose Dubai-based deal facilitation firm, naseba, to assist them in finding new investors. Giving an insight into his experience in the Kingdom, Mark Kerstens, CFO of Solexel, said: "Every investor that we met had a clear intention to invest, along with the availability of capital. The money that we have raised will be used to finance our expansion plans. We would like to thank naseba for introducing us to numerous Middle Eastern investors from their network who were looking for opportunities like ours." Commenting on the successful deal, Fabien Faure, Managing Director of naseba, said: "Saudi investors have an appetite for investing in innovative companies that have the potential to disrupt their industries. Our clients from Solexel travelled 8,000 km to find their venture capital partner and they chose Riyadh Valley Company, as they can help them immensely with their expertise. They also clearly demonstrated their orientation to long-term success and sustainability. They were looking for an international investment opportunity within the alternative energy sector, and I believe these two parties are a perfect fit."
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