Archive for the ‘Saudi Arabia’ Category

ABAN Signs MoUs To Set Up Three New Business Angel Networks In MENA Region

| January 20, 2009 – 9:47 pm | comment No Comments

ABANThe Arab Business Angels Network (ABAN), established by the Young Arab Leaders (YAL) with Dubai International Capital as its founder and lead investor, recently announced the signing of three strategic memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with companies in the MENA region to collaboratively work towards establishing three new business angel networks in the region.

ABAN’s agreement with the Saudi-based Siraj Capital in Jeddah and the National Enterprise Centre (NEC-Centennial Fund) in Riyadh, as well as the Beirut-based Bader Lebanon will facilitate the creation of the Jeddah Business Angels Network, Riyadh Business Angels Network, and the Lebanese Business Angels Network respectively.

ABAN will counsel the three partner companies on various aspects of establishing and maintaining a local Business Angels Network in their respective cities. The key components of their knowledge transfer will include full technical support and skill-set training, extensive onsite training on global best practices for recruiting angel investors, screening investment opportunities, and nurturing a spirit of entrepreneurialism within the organizational structure. ABAN will also equip each of the three partner networks with a training manual on effective practices to maintain day-to-day operations.

Other than sharing the responsibility of due diligence activities such as screening potential angel investors and seeding ventures, ABAN will be invited to participate in the three new networks’ future matchmaking events, opening up a new pool of seed capital for ABAN’s network. The events will help provide an organized and professional platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their companies to potential angel investors.

3zeema, An Arab Event Organization And Invitation Service

| January 19, 2009 – 9:05 pm | comment 1 Comment

3zeema3zeema is a new Arab service that was recently launched in its beta version to make it easier for people to organize events and invite their friends and contacts to them, whether it’s a personal or professional event.

The service is free and pretty simple to use; after signing up you can directly start creating events by following three easy steps: choosing a place to hold the event, either by selecting from the list of venues already existent in the site’s database or by specifying a new venue and locating it on a map; the next step is to add the friends and contacts that you want to invite to the event, either by choosing from your lists of friends or friend groups, both of which are administrable from seperate interfaces, or by adding your invitees directly through a little form; finally the last step is to put in the details of the event, confirm the invitation and have it sent out.

Invitations are sent by sms, providing invitees with the details of the event. Invitees can also use their phone number and invitation number to login and view more details about the event and the venue.

3zeema

As an organizer, you can also choose whether you want your event to be public, and thereby viewable by all site visitors, or whether you prefer it to be private. The same goes for the venue, as some people could be hosting the event at their homes, and don’t want to make their addresses public.

If the invitation is sent a long time in advance, it is possible to specify when you want the service to send a reminder to all invitees. It is also possible to specify if the event is a recurring one, inputting its periodicity so that the service automatically sends out reminders to invitees each time.

An events page for each user shows the events that they created as well as all the events that they were invited to.

3zeema was founded by Esam Alwagait, and its beta version was released earlier this month. The service is only available in Arabic and for events in Saudi Arabia for the time being.

3zeema 

Mobile Subscribers Sector In Saudi Arabia To Expand By 27%

| November 2, 2008 – 12:24 pm | comment No Comments

Saudi ArabiaThe mobile subscribers sector in Saudi Arabia will expand by over 27 per cent in 2008, lifting the official mobile penetration rate to 144 per cent, according to Business Monitor International (BMI).

The launch of commercial services by new entrant Saudi Zain is expected to further stimulate the market.

The BMI report, made available to Khaleej Times, noted that according to the Saudi regulator, the number of mobile users in the kingdom had reached 28.4 million at the end of 2007. This was after having grown by over 44 per cent during the year. Mobile penetration at the end of 2007 stood at just over 116 per cent. By the end of March 2008, the number of Saudi mobile subscribers had estimatedly grown to 30.7 million.

“Growth in 2007 was actually stronger than in 2006, and this leads us to believe that much of the sector’s recent growth has been based on the addition of new prepaid users,” it explained.

Meanwhile, regulatory figures indicate that Saudi Arabia had 4 million operational fixed lines at the end of 2007. This is slightly less than the previous estimate of 4.129 million lines. According to the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the fixed line sector as a whole saw very little growth during 2007; combined with an expanding population, this meant that Saudi Arabia’s fixed-line penetration rate decreased from 16.8 per cent at the end of 2006 to 16.4 per cent by the end of 2007.

(more…)

Artwitter.com; An Arabic Interface For Twitter

| October 11, 2008 – 11:30 pm | comment 6 Comments

artwitter.comEven though there is an Arabic micro-blogging service called Watwet that is very similar to Twitter in functionality, a lot of Arab users have chosen to use Twitter instead, maybe because it has mostly become the international poster child for micro-blogging, or because most of their friends already use it and it’s just easier to follow the crowd. Anyway, many of these users choose to tweet in Arabic, but as the Twitter interface is in English, thus left-to-right, Arabic script which is right-to-left gets quite annoying to read through the English interface.

So Mohamed Al Rehaili, with the help of a number of other Arab bloggers and friends, launched an Arabic interface for Twitter that can be accessed at: Artwitter.com

Artwitter.com uses the functions provided by the Twitter API, to bring its main friend timeline, replies and posting functionalities through a simple right-to-left Arabic interface, without storing any user data on its server.

artwitter.com screenshot

The site is still in early beta, and it’s still not possible to view a certain user’s timeline or search for tweets, but I’m guessing these functionalities will be implemented soon enough, especially if the service finds success between Arab Twitter users.

Artwitter.com

Untiny, A Tool To Expand Shortened URLs

| September 25, 2008 – 11:20 am | comment 9 Comments

UntinyA bunch of URL shortening services have been popping up everywhere recently, made popular by the advent of micro-blogging, each offering users the base functionality to take long urls and shorten them, with some adding some small yet interesting functionalities on the side.

Untiny is a new service that does the exact opposite, giving you the possibility to take a shortened URL and expand it to retrieve the original web address behind it.

There are a number of reasons why this comes in handy, as it solves the problem of obfuscation created by shortened URLs where the person provided the link doesn’t have any way to tell where it really points, and in some countries it solves the problem of any of those URL shortening services being blocked.

The user interface is as simple as you can imagine such a service should be, you’re presented with a simple textbox where you can paste the shortened URL, click on the retrieve button, and get the original URL.

Untiny

A quicker shortcut is also provided by directly passing the shortened URL to their service in the address bar using the following syntax: http://untiny.com?url=SHORTENED URL
Untiny also provides the possibility to add the tool in the search engine textbox in Firefox to enable users to directly paste the shortened URL in and get on their way. 

An API has also been created for the service to enable developers and other services to tap into the Untiny service to expand shortened URLs.

Among the developments currently underway for Untiny are a Firefox add-on, Greasemonkey script, Mac widget and Windows widget.

Untiny was launched in public beta on September 12th from Saudi Arabia by Saleh Al-Zaid.

Untiny

Amazon Joins Taufeer.com E-Channel Retailers Program

| September 7, 2008 – 7:03 pm | comment 4 Comments

TaufeerTaufeer.com, part of Riyadh-based Taufeer Information Systems LLC, a leading e-commerce service provider, today announced that amazon.com, one of the world’s largest online retailers, has joined Taufeer.com e-channel retailers program.

By using Taufeer.com e-channel service, amazon.com will be able to present its products and offers to millions of Ready-to-buy customers in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

‘We are very excited about signing up a mega retailer such as amazon.com to our e-channel program,’ said Yasser Abdullah, Founder and CEO of Taufeer.com.

‘After careful analysis and testing by amazon.com, our advanced comparison shopping service was selected for its simplicity and ease of integration with Amazon.com infrastructure,’ he added.

Starting with consumer electronics products, amazon.com will expand its offering on Taufeer.com to cover a large selection of products targeted for the Saudi market. Amazon.com has no presence in the Arab market and this represent the first step in bringing their collection and shopping experience to Middle East.

‘This is an important milestone in our strategy to be the first destination for online shoppers in the Middle East. Our service is suitable for all retailers, regardless of their current ecommerce deployment stage. So far, the feedback has been excellent and we expect to sign up a few major retailers in Saudi Arabia very shortly.’

Taufeer.com e-Channel service is aimed to help retailers jump start the challenges and technical difficulties and proceed to achieve significant returns without significant investment. Web retailers can also benefit from Taufeer.com shopping comparison to generate qualified sales leads to their online stores.

Mafgod, A Service To Find Your Lost Or Stolen Items

| August 19, 2008 – 4:56 pm | comment No Comments

MafgodMafgod, is a really simple service from Saudi Arabia, with the aim of helping people find their lost or stolen items.

For the time being, the service is only available for users in Saudi Arabia, and only for lost or stolen mobile phones. Expansion to other types of goods and other countries should be part of future plans.

The way it works right now for mobile phones is really simple; users can sign up freely to the service, and input details about their mobile phones and include their phone’s serial number; creating an online database of mobile phones and their owners.

Owners can specify when and where they lost their mobile phone, as well as if they’ll be giving away a cash prize to whoever finds it and returns it to them.

When a mobile phone is lost and someone finds it, or when it is stolen and someone is offered to buy it, the person can go online to the website and search for that phone using its serial number to find the original owner and contact them to arrange returning it to them.

Owners can choose whether they want their identities to be public or not, and if they want to meet the person returning the phone or prefer that it be done through Mafgod; and the same goes for the person who finds the phone.

Mafgod screenshot

The interface is available in Arabic only for the time being, and is as simple and straightforward as the concept of the website itself. A mobile version is also available on mobile.mafgod.com

Mafgod was founded in Saudi Arabia by Mohamed Al Rehaili and officially launched in September 2006.
A patent covering the service’s owner property protection database concept was registered with the King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology.

Taufeer.com E-Channel Opens Online Markets To Saudi Retailers

| August 15, 2008 – 3:50 pm | comment 5 Comments

TaufeerRiyadh-based online shopping service Taufeer.com has launched their new ‘E-Channel’ service to enable retailers in Saudi Arabia to get their products online.

They aim for this new service to be a comprehensive and fully managed e-commerce service for retailers across Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

The Taufeer.com E-Channel service allows retailers to take full advantage of a range of online tools to quickly and efficiently use the internet as a sales channel. E-Channel gives retailers a single centralized interface to add products; update inventories and prices; add and manage multiple physical stores; review and manage their online orders; and provide online payment service via credit card, logistics and delivery.

Additionally, Taufeer.com E-Channel allows retailers to stay in touch with their customers through a range of tools and community networks.

As for pricing, Taufeer.com will only be charging for actual sales, with fees starting from as low as 1%.

This service puts Taufeer.com in direct competition with Maktoob’s Souq.com Stores, which has been proving a success in the UAE recently.

Info2cell Partners With Future TV To Provide Content To Mobile Phone Users In Saudi Arabia

| August 8, 2008 – 11:16 am | comment 2 Comments

Info2cellInfo2cell.com, the leading mobile application service provider in the Middle East, has recently announced the signing of a content license and distribution agreement with Lebanon-based Future TV to provide video and MMS clips of hugely popular TV programmes, ‘Rossoom Mutaharirah’, ‘La Yomal’ and ‘Abou Riad’, to mobile phone users in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Through the subscription-based service, which will be launched today, users will receive the content three times per week. Each video clip – video IVR, WAP portal, video push and video streaming – will be up to two minutes long, while the MMS content will be 30 seconds in duration.

Bashar Dahabra, Founder and CEO of Info2cell.com, said,: ‘ We are pleased to sign this important agreement with Future TV which will enable us to provide select clippings from three highly popular TV programmes on the mobile phones of subscribers. Info2cell.com is committed to offering the most innovative and exciting content to its subscribers, in line with current market trends and consumer interests, and this partnership with Future TV perfectly complements our strategy.’

Samir S. Hammoud, Chairman and General Manager of Future TV, said, ‘The viewership for our programmes has been growing steadily in recent years and we are glad that this alliance with Info2cell.com has created another vital channel for subscribers in KSA to view clippings of some of our most watched programmes.’

Last year, Info2cell.com teamed up with MBC channel in Saudi Arabia to offer subscribers, video clips, ring tones, wallpapers and Java games of hugely popular television programmes including ‘Tash Ma Tash’, ‘Beiny o Bainak’, ‘Meznah’ and ‘Stories of the Prophet’.

Sukuk.net, Online Islamic Finance Portal

| July 15, 2008 – 11:39 am | comment 1 Comment

Sukuk.netSukuk.net is a new online financial portal dedicated to “Sukuk” (Islamic Bonds), and Islamic financing, that aims to be the definitive source of information on the global Sukuk market and the premier online destination for the Sukuk industry providing investors, financial services professionals, researchers and institutions with up to date market information.

It also hopes to go one step further by providing investors with all the tools necessary to understand the market and analyse the competition and market data; and assisting firms in developing strategies, market forecasting and identifying new business and investment opportunities.

Users can track global Sukuk activity, market data and register for market tracking analysis tools. The website’s Sukuk Wire also provides an up to the minute feed of the latest news and information on global Sukuk.

The launch of this portal is in response to a growing number of investors and enterprises seeking Shariah compliant funding and general public interest in Islamic finance; The Sukuk market, in particular, is seeing rapid growth and Sukuk paper has the advantage of competitive pricing as a risk-mitigation structure.

Sukuk.net

Sukuk.net is a Dubai and Jeddah based initiative formed through a joint venture between Siraj Capital Ltd., a leading Saudi based Islamic asset management company, and alClick Ltd., a leading provider of online advertising and marketing services in the Gulf region.

# Sukuk.net

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