Archive for the ‘Startups’ Category

Video: The Question Company Presents SMS Based Q&A Service At DemoCamp Dubai

| June 26, 2010 – 11:58 am | comment No Comments

The Question CompanyThe Question Company is a UAE based company that provides a question and answer sms-based service, that enables users in the UAE to sms any question to them and get an answer back in a few minutes time.

The guidelines to use the service are really simple, you basically just think of a question, text it to the number 4644 and then wait for them to send you the reply back. The target on their side is to have replies sent out in less than 10 minutes, and they say their current average is 6.55 minutes.

The service is available for both Etisalat and Du subscribers and costs 3 Dirhams per question, answering all types of questions, but refraining from providing any legal, financial or medical advice.

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Video: O-Minds Presents FlashFirebug At DemoCamp Dubai

| June 24, 2010 – 3:27 pm | comment 1 Comment

O-MindsO-Minds is a Jordan-based IT company with a focus on open source and web development. They’re active participants in the Drupal community, and work on advanced Adobe Flash development.

Ashraf Amayreh from O-Minds was the first startup person to present at the DemoCamp Dubai event that was held on June 23rd at Dubai Knowledge Village’s Auditorium, and the main focus of the demo and presentation was a tool called FlashFirebug that the company built to help Web and Flash developers.

FlashFirebug is inspired from the highly popular Firebug add-on for Firefox that enables developers to go under the hood of their web pages and debug them straight from the browser; However Firebug hits a wall when it comes to Flash, and that’s where FlashFirebug comes in.

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Revisiting Arabic Social Bookmarking And Content Discovery

| June 23, 2010 – 12:00 pm | comment 2 Comments

Social BookmarkingA bit over two years ago, I wrote a post about the Arab social bookmarking services out there, listing the existing options, how good they looked and how well they seemed to be doing, identifying the top ones at that time.

If anyone were to pull up that same list today and go check on each one of the sites, they’d find that some have shut down, others have become useless and spam ridden, some others have become pretty much inactive, and only one or two are still holding on. What’s clear though is that these social bookmarking services never caught on with Arab web users, and never achieved their founders’ initial dreams for them.

However there are some new kids on the block, who are here to take another stab at social bookmarking and facilitating content discovery for users in the Arab world.

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Tweet To Email, Share Your Tweets With Your Friends Via Email

| June 14, 2010 – 12:59 pm | comment 1 Comment

Tweet to EmailTweet to Email is a service that was recently launched from the UAE, that aims to make it easy for twitter users to share tweets of their choice directly with groups of their friends, who aren’t on twitter yet, through one of the oldest and most established sharing mediums online: email.

The concept is very simple and the tool is as simple and easy to use; the user signs up to Tweet to Email, inputting their twitter username while doing it, and then they get to create groups in which they can add their friends and contacts who they want to share with.

They get to choose a hash tag for each group they create (currently pre-defined and limited to five options), and when tweeting they can use that hash tag in their tweets if they want it sent to the people in that group, directly to their email inboxes.

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GoNabit, An Online Group-Buying Platform For The Region

| June 9, 2010 – 2:52 pm | comment 4 Comments

GoNabitGoNabit is a new online group-buying platform, that was recently launched for the region from Dubai, and that helps people come together to save and discover locally with some really interesting deals.

Each day GoNabit features one huge deal per city; People sign-up online to receive the deals, and if they wish to participate in the deal they do so using their credit card. Once the minimum number of buyers is reached the deal tips, the credit card gets charged, and GoNabit sends the buyer their voucher. Buyers then print their voucher and redeem it with the local merchant.

Each deal is only available for a limited time, and if the minimum number of buys is not reached before the deal closes, no one is charged, but no one gets the deal either.

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Loomni, A Knowledge Sharing & Educational Platform

| June 8, 2010 – 1:00 pm | comment 2 Comments

LoomniLoomni is a new service that’s being launched today for the region that promises to reshape and transform continuing education, making it more accessible and affordable to everyone.

The problem Loomni is trying to solve is that of education outside of public schools and universities being out of reach for most people as it takes the form of limited, relatively long and expensive courses offered up by training institutions.

The idea of the startup is to fill the existing gap and provide learning opportunities for people who can’t afford expensive courses, nor have the time to spend locked up for long hours in a training venue somewhere. It aims to do this by providing focused practical courses delivered in 90 minutes, at a fraction of the price available in the market.

To be able to provide these lower prices, Loomni goes after another profile of instructors, mainly experts on certain fields who can share their knowledge and experience, educating people about their areas of expertise, but also helping market themselves and their services along the way.

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Loomn.it, A New Quick Online Sharing Service

| June 6, 2010 – 3:00 pm | comment No Comments

loomnitLoomn.it (pronounced Loomnit) is a new easy to use, online sharing service that will be launching today and aims to provide users with a simple way to share anything with anyone; whether it be links, email addresses, images, videos, documents or any other digital content.

Through a very simplistic interface, users will be able to input the link for what they need to share or upload it directly to the cloud and then start sharing it with their friends on Facebook, twitter, google buzz or anywhere else on the web.

Users do not need to register for an account on the site to be able to use it, and don’t have any usage limits or quotas they have to keep within. They can start sharing right away and have their shared items live for 14 days to pass among their friends.

Once a person opens up a loomn.it link (e.g. http://loomn.it/c8); the shared page, text, image or file is displayed in a framed page with the top loomn.it frame providing stats on how many times the shared item was viewed, as well as options to share the item with others.

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Zoofs, The Most Talked About YouTube Videos On Twitter

| May 3, 2010 – 1:14 pm | comment 1 Comment

ZoofsZoofs is a new simple and pretty fun service, offering users a destination where they can start to discover the YouTube videos that are proving popular with people on Twitter. So basically what the service does is scour twitter to find the most tweeted videos, ranks them according to popularity, and serves them up for users to enjoy.

The project is yet a new offering from TootCorp, the Jordan based company that brought us the video-sharing portal Ikbis and micro-blogging service Watwet in the past.

Visitors to the site can browse through videos by category, and also filter videos to show only the freshest (ones that were uploaded to YouTube in the past 72 hours only). The Zoofs team also mark some of the videos they really like as “Zoofs Picks” to highlight them for users.

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AqarMap.com A New Take At Real Estate eMarketplaces

| April 28, 2010 – 12:25 pm | comment 5 Comments

AqarMapWhile Real Estate owners continue to struggle to overcome the results of the financial crisis that hit them the hardest, and find themselves working harder to sell or rent their properties in today’s economy; you’d think that this wouldn’t really be the best time for someone to go ahead and launch a real estate portal.

However, I’m sure the founders of AqarMap would disagree, and would argue that it is at times like these that opportunities are created; I know because I had this discussion a few months ago with the CEO of AqarMap, Amad Almsaodi, who has been driving this effort.

The idea is that as things are currently quite tight for real estate companies and owners, and their marketing budgets aren’t what they used to be, they need more affordable and efficient marketing channels; and that is the spot AqarMap wants to establish itself in, launching to specifically target this demand with a new platform that tries to take a different and more innovative approach to matching sellers and buyers based on location.

What AqarMap aims to do is tackle the weakness in the regional addressing system by allowing real estate owners to precisely identify their properties using satellite maps; enabling buyers and renters to search the market by browsing an interactive map instead of using keywords.

Amad Almsaodi, CEO of AqarMap.com, says: “We built our marketplace by capitalizing on the Real Estate golden rule: Location, Location, Location. The price of a property is irrelevant if it is not in the customers preferred location. Customers can now search by location and find the nearby points of interest, such as: parks, schools, public transportation, …etc.”

AqarMap

Property owners can post their listings on AqarMap.com for free, and for a small fee they can promote their listings to gain higher visibility on the map, also enabling geo-targeting of potential clients to increase click-throughs.

AqarMap.com also uses a number of different technologies and services to empower its users; Google maps for location, YouTube for videos of properties, Twitter and Facebook to help share listings in social circles, as well as other services to translate content and convert numbers and currencies.

AqarMap is a service based out of Yemen, is currently available in both Arabic and English, and has already taken part in several regional competitions over the past period and won a number of awards.

Wajhy, Create Your Own Arab Avatar

| February 16, 2010 – 12:38 pm | comment No Comments

WajhyOver the past years, every now and then a new avatar creation tool would pop up from somewhere, to let internet users create avatars of theirs in the form of South Park characters, Lego men and women, and the list continues; each time people would flock to the new service, create their avatars, and they’d spread them like fire across social networks and all sorts of other online services.

A new tool called Wajhy has been launched, in Arabic, for Arab users, that allows them to create avatars that actually look a bit more like them, and that they can dress in traditional dress too.

The user can choose whether they want to create a male or female avatar, then go in and start setting the options one by one, from shape of face, ears and nose, to what they’re wearing, what their head dress is, and the accessories they’re sporting.

The main differences between Wajhy,which means ‘My face’ in Arabic, and other such services are in the choices of clothing available for men and women, their head dress, the facial hair options for men, and such small details that give a small Arab touch to the avatar.

Wajhy

The service was launched by Remal IT (Saudi Arabia) and SOCOOOL Entertainment (United Arab Emirates), and is still in Beta, but is quite stable and smooth to use.

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