Start-Ups Ask, ‘Are We Making Money for Saudi Arabia?’

The lack of required disclosures makes following the money difficult. When reached for this article, many of the top firms in Silicon Valley, including Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Accel, Lightspeed, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock, Benchmark and New Enterprise Associates, declined to publicly discuss their limited partners.

But Saudi Arabia has been a big investor in tech. The kingdom’s Public Investment Fund has made investments directly in some start-ups, like Uber and Magic Leap, an augmented-reality headset company. Neither company has given any indication that it would return the money.

The kingdom has also invested in top venture firms. It sometimes strikes these deals through other entities, like the endowment fund of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a Saudi research university that bears the name of the former ruler who created it. Only the largest and most powerful start-up investor, SoftBank, which raised $45 billion from

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