Unifonic selected for Saudi Unicorns Program, strives to emerge as region’s software unicorn
The startups, who will receive assistance and empowerment to become unicorn enterprises under the Unicorn Support Program, were announced during LEAP 2023
February 15, 2023: Unifonic, the leading communications platform and Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) provider in the Middle East, has been selected to be a part of the Saudi Unicorns Program that aims to support regional start-ups to achieve billion-dollar market value in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Unifonic’s selection was announced during LEAP 2023, cementing its position as a leader in providing innovative products and services in a competitive technology ecosystem in the Kingdom. Founders and executives of the 34 start-ups, besides representatives of the Saudi Unicorns Program, were presented at the leading global technology event organised by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones between February 6 and 9, 2023 in Riyadh.
During the event, Unifonic showcased innovative products and services that uphold the highest standards of technological advancements and facilitate reliable customer engagement services. The startup participated in the exhibition to help accelerate digital transformation initiatives for public and private sectors in the Kingdom in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and Smart Government Strategy objectives.
Ahmed Hamdan, CEO and Co-Founder of Unifonic, said: "Being chosen for the Saudi Unicorns Program is an honour, and we are eager to embark on the next leg of our adventure. This latest feat further solidifies our position as the leader in the sector and acknowledges our efforts to provide an affordable enterprise-grade multilingual, seamless omnichannel communications platform throughout the Middle East. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all our team members, clients, partners, and governments for their constant support and commitment in helping us become a market leader in the CPaaS sector worldwide.”
“This program will significantly improve the standing of regional businesses in the global tech sector and give them the resources they require to successfully compete with industry behemoths. We believe that it is important to create an ecosystem that fosters innovation and encourages a steady stream of ideas in order to pave the way to a sustainable future. Initiatives like the Saudi Unicorns Program are steps in the right direction,” he added.
Venture capital funding for start-ups in Saudi Arabia grew by 72 per cent annually to $987 million, from 144 deals in 2022. Furthermore, the Kingdom is projected to spend $34.6 billion on information and communications technology in 2023, making it the top-spending nation for the category in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.
Nine funds worth a combined $2.4 billion will support the growth of start-ups in the Kingdom, where two of its largest lenders, Banque Saudi Fransi and Riyad Bank, have each pledged $1 billion to boost the information and communications technology industry, during the exhibition. Meanwhile, Riyadh-based investment firm Merak Capital is providing $53 million while the National Technology Development Program (NTDP) will launch six new supportive and enabling products for the Kingdom's digital entrepreneurship and technology companies, in addition to attracting global technology companies with the support of $430 million.
Since its inception in 2006, Unifonic has consistently developed its product line and its markets to provide an affordable enterprise-grade multilingual, seamless omnichannel communications platform throughout the Middle East. The company raised over $21 million in a Series A round led by STV with the participation of Riyad TAQNIA Fund, Endeavor Catalyst, ELM, and Raed Ventures. It is the largest-ever financing round raised by a Saudi startup in 2018. In the Series B round, the startup raised a staggering $125 million led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Sanabil.
The startup has assisted numerous clients in implementing omnichannel customer experiences as part of their digital transformation, changing the way these brands interact with their target audiences and assisting them in exceeding their expectations for frictionless digital experiences. Unifonic has enabled contemporary, dependable, and effective business messaging across industries with its no-code, automation, and orchestration platform. The acquisition of Sestek's AI-powered conversational suite in 2022 enhanced the company's AI solution offering, and the customer interaction platform now automates end-to-end personalized omnichannel customer experiences. Sestek's industry-leading speech recognition technology equips companies to provide excellent customer service and expand the line of Unifonic products.