The State General Reserve Fund, Oman Oil Company SAOC, The Research Council and Oman Telecommunications SAOG have announced the first equity-based venture capital firm in the Sultanate, Innovation Development Oman Holding SAOC (IDO) with initial capitalisation of OMR 50 million. IDO will invest equity capital in world class start-ups.
IDO, majority owned by SGRF with 60% of the shares, will be used to invest and nurture start-ups that will benefit the broader Omani economy. IDO will capitalise on its highly experienced team to provide guidance, experience, market knowledge, business development, and staged funding through the venture development and growth stages until maturity.
Commenting on the occasion of the inauguration of IDO, H.E Abdulsalam bin Mohammed Al-Murshidi, Chief Executive Officer of SGRF said: "The knowledge-based economy is considered one of the goals that will progress the socio-economic level of the Sultanate, and will support the diversification of the national economy. IDO will represent the technological investment arm of the government and take part in developing innovative startups in accordance with an integrated system combining everything such companies need starting from the concept stage to the application, and then to the stage of commercialization". He added: "IDO will put Oman on the map of international technology investment, creating benefits in terms of greater international interest in the Omani economy.
"The national efforts to support innovation and develop research will not be whole without a commercialisation arm that transforms the intellectual creativity of Omani talent into productive economic value. We acknowledge that entrepreneurship combined with technological innovation has been a powerful force to drive nations to diversified economic prosperity and higher value jobs. Therefore, IDO will identify technologies and innovative ideas with business models that can potentially succeed regionally and globally," said H.E. Dr. Hilal bin Ali Al-Hinai, Secretary General of The Research Council.
"Whether working in Oman or overseas, we encourage Omani academia to turn their research into beneficial solutions that serves our people and reflect positively on their lives. There is no limit to innovation, it is about being a creativity-driven person that owns a clear vision on how to actively contribute to the society," H.E. added.
"IDO can become a visionary organisation that has a profound impact on the creation of new innovative businesses in the Sultanate," said Eng. Isam bin Saud Al Zadjali, Chief Executive Officer of OOC.
"Oman has the potential to transform itself from a consumer of technology, goods and services into a knowledge-generating society. Continuous innovation will become a renewable source of employment through the creation and development of new ideas and inventions. Contribution to national development objectives by identifying and creating opportunities for local talent is one of OOC's key strategic objectives, and therefore, we set up IDO to be a catalyst for further economic diversification and serve as a dedicated platform to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs," Al Zadjali added.
Omantel CEO Talal Al Mamari noted, "We are pleased to join hands with The State General Reserve Fund, Oman Oil Company SAOC and The Research Council to bring to life Innovation Development Oman, an organisation unlike any other in the Sultanate. IDO is a unique vehicle that will back real innovation, both in Oman and beyond and in doing so, will support the continued diversification of our national economy, a pressing issue according to the Oman Economic Vision 2040. IDO will fundamentally help to shape the development of the knowledge economy in Oman, an agile economy based on human creativity rather than raw commodities. This new partnership aligns perfectly with our innovative 3.0 growth strategy which aims to enable the digital society to flourish and grow across all sectors in Oman. At Omantel, we appreciate the continual evolution and fast-paced nature of technology innovations and through the IDO we are excited to support ambitious start-up ventures to bring to life technologies that will transform a variety of sectors and services locally, regionally and across the globe."
IDO will also act as a late stage commercialisation vehicle for start-up companies and will assist them with the expansion of their business within the region and globally. Venture capital investments are key to assist start-ups with their growth and development.
The investment sectors IDO will focus on include: Energy, , Healthcare, Food, and related industries and Services.
Any business looking for investment which fits the investment criteria of IDO should apply directly on the IDO website: www.ido.om.