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Saudi Arabia Plans $40 Billion AI Investment Fund, Eyes Partnership with Silicon Valley’s Andreessen Horowitz

The Saudi Arabian government is actively considering the establishment of a massive $40 billion investment fund dedicated to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI).

This strategic move, expected to unfold in the latter half of the year, aims to position Saudi Arabia as a leading player in the AI domain.

This initiative is being spearheaded by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which is reportedly in talks with the Silicon Valley-based venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) to manage the AI investments, according to a March 19 report by The New York Times, which cited three individuals familiar with the discussions.

The collaboration might not only bring additional venture capital firms into the fold but could also lead to a16z establishing a presence in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

Ben Horowitz, a co-founder of a16z, shares a personal connection with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi fund, highlighting the close ties between the venture capital firm and the Saudi initiative.

With the proposed $40 billion investment, Saudi Arabia is set to eclipse other major players in the AI investment space, including Microsoft, which has invested $13 billion into OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.

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The funding for Saudi Arabia’s ambitious AI project will be sourced from its $900 billion sovereign wealth fund, with investments targeting chip manufacturers and large data centers capable of supporting AI technologies.

The Kingdom is also exploring the possibility of launching its own AI companies.

These discussions between Saudi Arabia and a16z have been ongoing since at least April 2023.

Horowitz has lauded Saudi Arabia as a burgeoning “startup country,” contrasting it with what he perceives as a slowdown in the United States’ startup ecosystem.

The backdrop to these developments includes recent actions by U.S. President Joe Biden, who, in October last year, issued an executive order establishing new AI safety standards.

This initiative has garnered support from 15 leading AI firms and involves measures such as the invocation of the Defense Production Act to ensure AI companies report crucial information, including safety test results, to the Department of Commerce.

This comes in a context where OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, sought a staggering $7 trillion investment from the United Arab Emirates, a neighbor to Saudi Arabia, for the development of more advanced semiconductor chips.

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Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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