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

| Jun 16, 2010 | 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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Arabize, slap an Arabic funky name on it n’ you got yourself a new startup

| Jun 15, 2010 | comment 9 Comments

So if you skipped the class where your math teacher introduced Equivalence, you haven’t missed much. You can easily learn it while checking up some of the Arabia’s start-ups with some of the online services that you usually use. Mind you some will confuse you with Equality.

While this could be a degrading statement, there are very functional and online industry evolutionary reasons behind that. Simply it’s not our copycat genes that make us race for developing an Arabic version of the next big thing. Facebook? hah, we can make one in Arabic. Twitter? now that’s easy to make, let’s do that.

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Welcome, Saleh Esmaeili

| Jun 15, 2010 | comment 5 Comments

Saleh EsmaeiliI’m really glad to announce that over the coming days and weeks, you will start seeing another new byline on StartUpArabia.

Saleh Esmaeili, a fellow web aficionado and interactive/web producer based in the UAE, who has been in the business of building websites for about ten years now, will be joining in to write on StartUpArabia, to share his views and reviews of the Arab web industry.

Those of you who are based in the UAE and who have been to some of the web-oriented events in Dubai or Abu Dhabi (Twestival, DemoCamp, …etc.) will most probably have met and maybe even chatted with Saleh at at least one of them.

I’ve been a fan of Saleh’s own blog for a while now, and have enjoyed reading his opinions on that blog and even in the comments here, and I can’t wait to read more as he tackles stories and topics relating to Arab startups.

So please everyone join me in welcoming Saleh on StartUpArabia; and make sure you follow his writings here.

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

| Jun 14, 2010 | 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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Ras2Ras Social Rating Platform Acquired By Qatari Investor

| Jun 13, 2010 | comment 14 Comments

ras2rasRas2Ras, the Yemen-based online social rating and comparison platform, that was previously covered here, has been acquired by Qatari investor Ahmed Alaji.

Ras2Ras, which was founded by Amad Almsaodi in 2008, was built around a very simple yet really interesting idea: putting any two comparable things against each other, and letting people vote on which they like best.

Now, even though the tool’s idea is very simple in principle, it could be used for a number of research and user engagement purposes by businesses, with the potential to be a source of some really interesting and useful insights and information.

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Quirkat Launches Fantasy Football Game On Facebook

| Jun 12, 2010 | comment 1 Comment

Quirkat Fantasy FootballQuirkat, the Middle Eastern game development studio has announced the launch of a new online ‘Fantasy Football’ game just in time for the South Africa 2010 World Cup.  The game was developed exclusively for the Facebook platform and can be played in Arabic, English or French.

The game offers players the range of features they’d come to expect out of a fantasy football game. They’ve also featured all 736 players from the 32 teams participating in this summer’s World Cup in South Africa in a visual playing environment.

As users play on in the game, their teams are ranked against a number of real-world player events, such as scoring, successful defending, and bonus points for Man of the Match stature.

The game also allows users to create their own leagues in which they can compete head to head against selected friends.

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Music Video Service Vevo Plans To Launch In The Middle East

| Jun 10, 2010 | 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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GoNabit, An Online Group-Buying Platform For The Region

| Jun 9, 2010 | 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

| Jun 8, 2010 | 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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Global Entrepreneurship Forum – Lebanon – June 23rd 2010

| Jun 8, 2010 | comment 1 Comment

Following TechWadi‘s entrepreneurship conferences in Silicon Valley in March and Washington DC in April, they’re organizing their first Global Entrepreneurship Forum in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 23 2010 at the AUB Olayan School of Business.

The goal of the conference is to build the necessary bridges between business leaders in the US and the MENA region, acting as a platform for cross-border partnerships to accelerate the development of entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Forum will bring together regional investors, executives, entrepreneurs and policymakers who all have interest in creating a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Arab world, as well as a delegation led by the US State Department including prominent investors and entrepreneurs seeking to expand cross-border ties with the MENA region.

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