Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Win Free Incorporation & Online Advertising With Falcons’ Lair Business Competition

| October 10, 2010 – 11:23 am | comment 1 Comment

Virtuzone, a virtual UAE-based free zone, in partnership with Dubizzle, the UAE’s leading online classifieds service, have launched a new business competition under the name of ‘The Falcons’ Lair’, offering entrepreneurs an opportunity to make their business dreams a reality.

Entrepreneurs whose ideas are chosen at the end will get an offer from Virtuzone to set up their company for free, including all the costs for the first year of incorporation; and they’ll get the equivalent value of that in online advertising on Dubizzle for free. The competition’s official site claims this amounts to an accumulated value of over AED 100,000.

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Free Booths For Startups At TiE GITEX 2010 Start-up Showcase

| October 9, 2010 – 10:35 am | comment 4 Comments

Dubai’s yearly GITEX Technology Week is just around the corner, taking place from October 17th to 21st in the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Plans for this year’s event are even bigger than previous years, and include a new really interesting track titled ‘GITEX Mobile Apps & Content World‘, which is focused on the sector of mobile applications and content, and aims to provide a high profile, dynamic framework for the mobile applications and entertainment market.

With a market worth an estimated US$30 billion, opportunities are immense, and there’s so much going on in this space as mobile operators and manufacturers scramble to open up their own apps stores as popular demand for apps to buy and download increases.

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MEVP Announces First Investments In Three Lebanese Companies

| October 8, 2010 – 1:03 am | comment 2 Comments

Middle East Venture PartnersMiddle East Venture Partners (MEVP), has announced their three first investments in Lebanese-based companies: Pin-Pay, iLevel, and Multilane.

This round of funding from MEVP is meant as a growth investment in these companies to assist them in pursuing regional growth and development plans in addition to extending their product offerings.

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US Commits $455 Million For Five MENA Startup Investment Funds

| July 4, 2010 – 10:54 am | comment 4 Comments

OPICThe Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), an agency of the US government that invests in businesses in emerging markets, has approved a total of $455 million in financing to support the establishment of five private equity investment funds designed to invest in companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), in response to an announcement made by President Obama last year. The five funds combined could potentially catalyze more than $2 billion of investment in the MENA region.

At a speech in Cairo in June 2009, President Obama announced that the United States would launch an investment fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries. OPIC responded last October by issuing a call for proposals to manage a Global Technology and Innovation Fund, intended to catalyze private sector investments that promote technological growth in OPIC-eligible countries Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The five funds approved were among 87 responses to the call.

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Skype Confirms Plan For Regional Headquarters In Bahrain

| June 28, 2010 – 10:48 pm | comment 3 Comments

SkypeSkype, the internet telephony company has confirmed it will be setting up its Middle East headquarters in Bahraini capital Manama, to better target internet users in the Middle East and Africa.

Skype said Bahrain’s liberal and advanced ICT infrastructure and policies and its geographic position providing unparalleled access to the Gulf’s trillion dollar market were key reasons for establishing a regional office in the kingdom.

Skype, which allows users to make voice and video calls over the internet for free or at a fraction of the usual price, is actually illegal in a number of Gulf countries like the UAE, Kuwait and Oman, to protect telcos’ lucrative monopoly over international calls.

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ITIDA And Vodafone Egypt Launch MobileAppsAcademy For Egyptian Mobile Developers

| June 19, 2010 – 3:45 pm | comment 1 Comment

MobileAppsAcademyEgypt’s Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) is partnering up with Vodafone Egypt to launch MobileAppsAcademy, a contest and a program for sponsoring developers of mobile programs and applications in Egypt.

The initiative aims at preparing a generation of talented developers and helping them generate innovative ideas conforming to the needs of the Egyptian and Middle Eastern market.

Another purpose of this initiative is to highlight Egypt as a regional hub for projects and ideas and to encourage the creation of high-quality mobile applications. It aims to work on raising the local production through encouraging and sponsoring the skills of local developers, offering opportunities for talented Egyptians and turning their ideas into real projects that can contribute to the development of the ICT sector.

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Mdinar, A Tunisian Mobile Payment & M-Wallet Service

| June 17, 2010 – 11:00 am | comment No Comments

mdinarMdinar is a new mobile payment and m-wallet service that was recently launched in beta in Tunisia through a partnership between the BIAT Bank (Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie), Tunisiana (Mobile phone operator), ENDA (a microfinance institution) and Viamobile (a service provider); powered by Creova’s mobile payment technology.

The Mdinar service offers P2P, top-up, and loan payment services directly from a user’s mobile phone. It also offers multiple features, including the ability to view account balances, history of transactions, and the possibility to save and use the list of people frequently receiving payments from the user. It also allows the user to send a request for money to another person.

Using the service requires a subscription that translates into the opening of a BIAT Light bank account. To open an Mdinar account, the user must have a Tunisian ID card and a Tunisiana mobile line, and they can either register online (option not launched yet) or at any of the affiliate branches that display the Mdinar sign. Registration should be quick and the user’s account is activated immediately. Once registered, the user receives a notification by sms with their PIN.

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Middle East Venture Partners Closes US$10 Million Of New Fund

| June 16, 2010 – 9:39 am | comment 1 Comment

Middle East Venture PartnersMiddle East Venture Partners (MEVP), a Middle East focused venture capital firm that was launched last year with the goal of covering the early and growth stage funding space in the region, just announced the first close of US$10 million of their new fund, Middle East Venture Fund L.P. (MEVF).

MEVP’s fundraising goal is to exceed US$20 Million in total funds under management, with their mission being to focus on funding and building world-class companies with innovative products and services.

They aim to accomplish this by working closely with entrepreneurs, adding value through their wide network of relationships, providing business strategy and corporate finance advice, adhering to corporate governance best-practices, and building synergies between their portfolio companies and professional services partners.

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Music Video Service Vevo Plans To Launch In The Middle East

| June 10, 2010 – 9:23 pm | comment 1 Comment

VEVOVevo, the music video service, that was founded by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), has plans to launch the service in the Middle East in the first quarter of 2011, according to The National.

Vevo was launched in the US in December 2009, and now ranks fourth in terms of the number of viewers watching videos, behind Google, Yahoo! and Fox Interactive Media, attracting 43.6 million viewers in April, according to comScore.

The version to be launched in the region, which is provisionally being called Vevo Arabia, will most probably have broader content than the US version, including Arabic, Bollywood, Filipino and Chinese music to appeal to the different tastes of consumers in the region.

Vevo is estimated to have 85% of all music videos on its platform, largely because of its position as a Web platform for music giants Sony, Universal and EMI, who provide the website with licensed videos of their artists.

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AppsArabia, An Arabic Mobile Applications Development Fund

| June 7, 2010 – 11:33 am | comment 11 Comments

appsarabiaAbu Dhabi’s twofour54 has recently announced it will be launching a new investment fund called ‘AppsArabia‘, which promotes and supports mobile app development throughout the Middle East and North Africa using the Software Development Kits (SDKs) of all the major mobile and online platforms (e.g. Android (Google), iPhone OS (Apple), BlackBerry, Facebook, OpenSocial and Ovi (Nokia)).

The fund will be offered by twofour54 ibtikar, which provides funding and support to start-up and early stage Arabic content initiatives.

AppsArabia is led by David Ashford, and the plan for it is to invest in the best ideas for apps from entrepreneurs, app developers and businesses, and provide commercial guidance, resources and marketing support to make these apps successful.

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