Ziyad Al Ashaikh
Head of Saudi Arabia
How did your career in banking and investing start?
I was always drawn to the dynamism and constant change of banking. I studied financial management in college, which led me to pursue jobs focused on finance, money markets, debt capital, and equity capital markets. After spending several years at various institutions, I joined SoftBank Investment Advisers. My current role is to help the Vision Fund’s portfolio companies enter the Saudi Arabian market.
I believe these new technologies will help drive a more inclusive society—one that individuals feel they’re able to contribute to and help shape.
What are some opportunities that technology brings to Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia is committed to growing its health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism spaces with a development plan called Vision 2030. I’m thrilled that Vision Fund portfolio companies will help broaden those sectors through technological advancements. I believe our investments, specifically in artificial intelligence, will give women and men more access to educational and professional opportunities. I believe these new technologies will help drive a more inclusive society—one that individuals feel they’re able to contribute to and help shape. There’s a lot of personal fulfillment that comes with that contribution.
On the flip side, what are the opportunities that the Saudi Arabian market offers founders?
There’s a massive opportunity for disruption across a range of industries in Saudi Arabia. SBIA has invested in a lot of companies that I believe are well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity, and we’re helping them do so. We’re well equipped with resources and a deep understanding of this market, which we leverage to help introduce new and disruptive companies. It’s been exciting to watch companies flourish in this region.
What are some core principles that have helped you succeed?
I believe the most important principles are a strong moral character, teamwork, and genuine relationships. It’s also important to always do the right thing. I think the team I work with fosters a culture of trust, credibility, and integrity.