Corporate venture deal for Scottish firm ZiLift takes VC backers to seven

ZiLift has become the latest Aberdeen-based business to secure venture capital backing, this time from the corporate venturing arm of Saudi Aramco.

Artificial life company ZiLift has netted an undisclosed investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV).

The backing follows a year after the business, which provides services to the oil and gas industry, secured equity capital from six European venture capital firms through a £4 million deal.

ZiLift was set up in May 2009 to develop and market permanent magenta technologies for artificial life applications.

It now has the backing of Energy Ventures, Chevron Technology Ventures, Viking Venture, Jebsen Asset Management and Investinor, lead partner Energy Technology Ventures and now SAEV.

Other Aberdeen-based businesses to recently secure venture capital backing include Business Growth Fund portfolio company Petrotechnics, Growth Capital Partners investment Scopus Engineering and oil and gas services company Aubin.

Ian Maclean, CEO of ZiLift, comments, ‘Artificial lift has a long established history of technical development, however, significant step changes are infrequent.

‘There is a great deal of support for our technologies. This additional investment from SAEV, as well as the ongoing support form existing investors […], provides us with the resources to forge ahead with product development to achieve commercialisation.’

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New backer SAEV is the corporate venturing subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Oil Company. Based in Dhahran, and with offices in North America and Europe, the investment arm invests globally in start-ups and high-growth companies with technologies of ‘strategic importance’ to its parent company.

SAEV CEO Ibrahim Buainain, adds, ‘Reliable and easily deployable artificial lift systems are a priority area of technology for Saudi Aramco.

‘We believe that ZiLift’s technologies offer potential for substantial time and cost savings in artificial life deployment and the potential for subsidiary enhancing the output from large numbers of producing wells. We are delighted to become an investor in the company.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.