Umm Al-Qura University

Umm Al-Qura University

Wadi Makkah Ventures Co. Invests in the Pavegen Startup Company

Wadi Makkah Ventures Co., a subsidiary of Wadi Makkah Technology Company owned by Umm Al-Qura University, has announced the signing of a preliminary investment agreement with the startup company Pavegen on its first investment round (SERIES A), with a number of international investors.

Pavegen is a UK-based clean energy technology company which specializes in the development and installation of kinetic slabs that convert human footfall into energy and personal data. The generated energy is used to run many applications, such as lighting, or is stored in batteries for later use. Pavegen's patented flooring technology relies on the use of triangular panels, which create a continuous articulated surface to avoid dead spots, allowing power generation with each footfall. Through the sensors below the panels, which use Bluetooth signals, data are collected and analyzed (Big Data), enabling them to connect with pedestrian smartphones and then to the company's servers to analyze the input data.

Pavegen has implemented more than 200 projects in 36 countries around the world, from the USA to Hong Kong, and from the United Arab Emirates to China. Among these projects is the implementation of Pavegen flooring technology at the Summer Olympic Games in London in 2012, in Abu Dhabi Airport, and in a public football field in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has also been activated in 4 cities on the West Coast, USA. One of the potential projects for Pavegen in the coming period is the implementation and transfer of technology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the NEOM project, as well as the project of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital. The parties are currently working on providing the ideas and studies needed to implement the projects.

His Excellency Eng. Khalid Abdul-Ghani Sulaimani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wadi Makkah Ventures Co. and Chairman of the Investment Committee, stated that the company has discussed with the Pavegen team the study of the possibility of applying the flooring technology and data collecting in certain areas in the Holy City of Makkah. This will in turn contribute to the process of providing clean energy and collecting the necessary data needed in facilitating crowd management, for example, and other operations.

He added that Wadi Makkah Ventures Co. aims to invest in local and international startups which provide services and technologies that improve and develop the quality of the services of the Hajj and Umrah sector. This is performed in an effort to make Makkah a smart city, and make the Hajj and Umrah journey easier and smoother. Such an effort requires attracting international startups, investing in them, and enabling them to enter the Saudi market, to achieve the Saudi Vision 2030 and support the local economy by exchanging experiences and transferring knowledge to the Saudi youth.

"We are very excited to work with Wadi Makkah Ventures Co., along with the company's current contracts that were recently signed in the local market. Wadi Makkah Company will provide us with invaluable support due to the increase in the number of our operations in this region," said Laurence Kemball-Cook, CEO of Pavegen.

Wadi Makkah Ventures Co. is the investment arm of Wadi Makkah Technology Company, which is wholly owned by Umm Al-Qura University. The company has three investment portfolios, the third of these portfolios is the investment portfolio concerned with the company's investments in startups in the advanced stages (Series A), whose activity is centered in areas and technologies specialized in improving the Hajj and Umrah system. Investment in Pavegen will be carried out under this portfolio.

Pavegen is a leading global company specializing in converting human footfall into clean energy and data, implementing both permanent and temporary projects. The Pavegen technology generates between 2 and 4 joules of electrical energy from a footstep of approximately 5 watts. The Bluetooth signals installed on the panels connect with smartphones of passersby to calculate the number of steps as inputs that can be used in the data analysis process.

Among the objectives of Pavegen is the implementation of smart city projects, retail stores, sports stadiums, and educational institutions in Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Pavegen clients include Abu Dhabi International Airport, BNP Paribas, Ellandi, Google, Siemens, the Transport and Urban Planning Authority in London and Hong Kong. Pavegen received the Smart City Innovation Award for the year 2017 in its third season, the UKPropTech Award for Social Impact for the year 2018, and the Sustainable Technology Award for the year 2019 from Estates Gazette. Pavegen's headquarters are located in King’s Cross, London, and it also has a research and development facility in Cambridge, UK.