Twitvid.com, A Service to Tweet Videos Quickly And Easily

| May 24, 2009 | comment 2 Comments

twitvid

EatLime, the online video and file sharing service that was previously reviewed here, has gone on and released a new service call Twitvid.com that presents users with an easy way to post their videos to Twitter.

The service doesn’t just post a link to a video when the user tweets, but it uses the patent-pending EatLime technology to upload and stream the video in real time, in a way that a person’s followers on Twitter can start watching the video immediately while it’s still uploading, making it pretty much a live stream.

Users can upload their videos to the service either through the web interface, through their mobile phones (by sending an email or MMS), or through the service’s API.

Just as with other services like twitpic, the user can just login with their Twitter username and password and start uploading and tweeting their videos. Upon logging in, each user also gets an email address that they can use to email their videos directly from their mobile.

The system’s API also helps open it up, making it easy for other companies and developers to integrate the service into their own services and products.

twitvid

Among future plans is the ability to resume uploading if the connection is lost, enabling users to resume uploading from the exact point where it stopped.

EatLime, the company behind Twitvid.com, is a 5 person San Francisco based company, founded by Mohammad Al Adham from Jordan and Adil Lalani from Pakistan.

What do Arab startups need the most? [Poll]

| May 23, 2009 | comment 5 Comments

A new poll went live on StartUpArabia, you can find it on the sidebar on the right or vote straight from this post.

This poll asks a pretty straightforward question in a little quest to find out what people think Arab startups need the most at this point in time to be able to make it and succeed.

So without any further ado:

What do you think Arab startups need the most?

Feel free to further expand on your response in the comments section of this post.

Jordanian Government To Launch Two Venture Capital Funds

| May 21, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO)The Government of Jordan, represented by Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation (JEDCO), has launched a Call for Proposals to pre-select one or two fund managers to provide services in relation to the establishment and management of the up-coming Early Stage and Capital for Growth funds in Jordan.

The Funds are part of the Jordan Enterprise Venture Capital Programme 2009 aiming at developing the emerging venture capital service industry in Jordan and at improving access to equity and quasi-equity financing for SMEs in Jordan.

The Funds will have minimum sizes of EUR5M/US$6.9M (Early Stage) and EUR20M/US$27.5M (Capital for Growth), of which 60% and 35% respectively have been committed in-principle by anchor investors.

The Funds will be managed by the private sector with the anchor investors being treated on a pari passu basis with private sector investors, in terms of risks and rewards. Selection of Fund Manager(s) will be determined on a competitive basis.

Bidding for the management of these funds is open to Venture Capital fund management companies, consortia, new management teams or promoters in a position to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Formulate investment strategies matching the Funds’ investment policies;
  • Mobilise a management team with relevant track-record;
  • Raise additional funds from private and institutional investors;
  • Source deals and actively manage the portfolio to create value.

The guidelines for submitting applications are available under the Venture Capital section on the JEDCO website: http://www.jedco.gov.jo.
The final closing date for receipt of proposals is on 15 June 2009 at 15:00 hrs. GMT + 3.

This is a great move by the Jordanian government to try to help build and enrich a professional VC industry in the country. A move worth following closely, and we’ll make sure to keep an eye on it and bring you any updates and news on how things develop.

[Source: Economist]
[Via: Sindibad

The 10 Finalists Of MIT Arab Business Plan Competition 08-09

| May 20, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

MIT Arab Business Plan CompetitionThe MIT Arab Business Plan Competition is a competition designed to encourage all entrepreneurs in the Arab world to start their own company and, ultimately, create a nest of leading firms in the Arab world.

The current version of the competition officially started on November 10th 2008, by opening up registrations. Now, after two rounds of selection, the following 10 finalists from around the Arab world have made it to the final round of the competition (in alphabetical order):

  • AqarMap.com: Amad Almsaodi, Mohamed Hareth, Redwan Mohamed (Yemen)
  • Blog Souq: Ahmad Takatkah, Adey Salamin, Ammar Ibrahim (Jordan)
  • Digital Security Innovations: Adel Bouhoula, Seifeddine Aloui, Amine Ben Khalifa, Mohamed Abid (Tunisia)
  • EnglEasy: AbdulAziz Ahmed Al-Sulaima, Ahmed Siddiqui, Ayman Makki Hoho (Saudi Arabia)
  • HAYATI Healthcare LLC: Michael Matly, Tariq El-Titi, David Matly (United Arab Emirates)
  • Rice Straw Fertilizer Company: Ibrahim Khater Youssef, Ahmed El Dorghamy, Mohamed Abdel Raouf (Egypt)
  • Syphir (GFMail): Husain Al-Mohssen, Courtland Allen, Ghassan Fayad, Faisal Alibrahim (Saudi Arabia)
  • Transterra Media: Irina Prentice, Hassan Ibrahim, Eli Andrews, Jonathan Giesen, Raya Mamarbachi (Egypt)
  • Vaxeal Therapeutics: Ahmed Bouzidi, Bernard Maillere, Giampietro Corradin, Wassim Chehadeh, Mohammed Bouziane, Francois Spertini (United Arab Emirates)
  • White Smile Whitening Boutique: Jomana Musmar, Lamis Maddur, Nigah M. Ajaj, Saoussen Besrour (United Arab Emirates)

The final round consists of oral presentations of the finalists’ business plans to the jury panel in Dubai, on June 11th 2009. The awards ceremony will take place the following day in Dubai, on June 12th 2009.

The winner of the competition will receive prize money of USD 50,000. The check will be issued in the name of the company. The members of the winning team will also be given the opportunity to attend the MIT Global Startup Workshop (GSW)

The first and second runner-ups will receive a check of USD 10,000 and USD 5000 respectively. 

Besides the financial reward, the winning teams will be provided with coaching/mentoring from the members and network of the MIT Enterprise Forum who will also help the winners get their businesses up and explore further funding opportunities by introducing them to business development centers, financing institutions, and similar organizations. 

Watwet’s New Version With Twitter Link, Channels And Better Language Support

| May 20, 2009 | comment 8 Comments

WatwetWatwet, the Arab social networking and micro-blogging platform, has released a new version of their web application code named ‘Suzie’, and with it come a bunch of really interesting new features.

With the recent migration to the Rails 2.2 framework, they’ve worked on better language support on Watwet, which translates into better handling of Arabic in this version, but also opens the door for other languages like French, Farsi, Turkish and Swahili, that are in their future plans.

Something interesting they’ve also gone and opened up is the possibility for anyone to create a channel of their own, without having to go through the Watwet team like they used to in the past.
It should be interesting to see how many people and businesses start using this feature; and when/if we’ll start seeing the concept of sponsored channels.
Complementing this move, the public timeline of Watwet now also shows the watwets coming from channels too, along with the watwets coming from the users.

Another good move with this version is the possibility to link a Watwet account to a Twitter account, in a way that anything posted to Watwet gets automatically posted to Twitter and vice versa. A simple settings page available under ‘Twitter Link’ turns this on for the user.
This makes it easier and more efficient for people who mainly use one of the services, but also want to try out the other, or who want to streamline their status and lifestreaming activities across both platforms.
I expect more focus will be put on the integration with Twitter in the future to try and lure more Twitter users to play around with Watwet, growing their user base and activity level through it to make the service even more interesting to use.

Other than these mentioned points, they’ve also worked on some design and layout tweaks for the interface, as well as on browser compatibility issues.

Some really exciting moves in this release by Watwet, paving the way for some pretty interesting possibilities in the future and for some other features they seem to have hidden up their sleeves.

Launch Of Global Business Opportunities Program’s 2nd Version

| May 19, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

QRCE

The second version of the Global Business Opportunities program was officially launched yesterday by the Al-Ahli Holding Group in partnership with the Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship (QRCE), in a ceremony presided over by HRH Princess Sumaya Bint El-Hassan.

The program aims to train a group of young entrepreneurs of various nationalities in order to prepare them for the launch of global companies. The opening ceremony was attended by a number of prominent figures, businesspeople, ambassadors and participating delegations from Jordan, Argentina and South Africa.

The Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship and Al-Ahli Holding Group signed an agreement earlier this year to cooperate on this version of the Global Business Opportunities program; and this launch is a step forward in the frame of that cooperation.

Joi Ito, the CEO of Creative Commons, who was present at the launch ceremony, gave a motivational speech for participants, in which he emphasized the role of entrepreneurship in achieving comprehensive development and the significance of creativity in the success of companies starting up and increasing their ability to compete in global markets.

Husni Khuffash, Google’s UAE Country Manager, went over the different challenges facing entrepreneurs in their endeavors to establish global corporations, and offered solutions for these challenges.

There are 25 young men and women participating in this program from Jordan, Argentina and South Africa. They will be undergoing intensive training for three weeks, during which they will be introduced to administrative, marketing, financing, financial and human resources skills, along with others, presented by the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institute at the Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship.

Participants will then be divided into a number of groups made up of people from different nationalities to work on a complete business project, using the skills and ideas acquired throughout the program.

The first version of the program took place in Argentina with the participation of 20 young men and women from the United Arab Emirates and Argentina. Preparations are underway to implement the program in Brazil and South Africa in an expanded capacity and with a larger participation of youth.

IIT Forum 6: The Arab World’s Top 10 Investment Ready Startups

| May 19, 2009 | comment 8 Comments

Investing in Technology ForumThe 6th Investing In Technology Forum; an event that aims to be a networking opportunity for entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, regional corporate CEOs, and all technology leaders in the region to get together to share experiences, develop relationships and explore business opportunities; took place in Cairo, Egypt, last week.

One of the items on the event’s agenda was a series of pitches by Arab technology startups to a panel of the region’s most prominent angel investors and venture capitalists, in hopes to be selected among the top 10 investment ready startups in the Arab world.

There were 33 startups from around the region who pitched their businesses, and the panel evaluated each startup and gave them a score, rating them by their potential and readiness for investment.

The following ten startups came out on top: 

  • Droubi: A company that has invented and patented a new method of dental surgery.
  • Glocalizer: A company that provides free wireless and technology advertising based products.
  • Applied Research Institute: A company that works on new technologies for water treatment and organic food.
  • eSpace: For WeNear, their framework for location based mobile services.
  • MobiLaps: A company that develops network applications for internet service providers.
  • Talasim: An online social network and photo gallery for comedy/funny content.
  • Aboker: A company that works on technology to produce biofuel and silicon carbon from environmental waste.
  • Vertex: A company that builds customised three-dimensional virtual worlds for education, real estate …etc.
  • SilMinds: A company that provides hardware acceleration technology thats speeds up intensive computing processes.
  • Kindisoft: A company that helps businesses to better protect their Rich Internet Applications based on Adobe Flash.

Quite an interesting mix of startups covering different fields, some who were only recently launched, and some that date back to the late 80′s, early 90′s (Droubi: 1989, Applied Research Institute: 1990).

After the selection happened, a number of the top startups were approached by some of the present investors who were interested in their businesses.

A list of these top 10 startups and their full descriptions can be downloaded in PDF format here. (Courtesy of Beep Beep.)

[Via: Beep Beep]

G.ho.st Launches API To Enable Third-Party Web Applications

| May 18, 2009 | comment 6 Comments

G.ho.stG.ho.st, the free open web based operating system / virtual computer, has launched an API aimed at allowing third party application developers to add any web-based application to G.ho.st easily and with a tight integration to the system’s data and preferences.

The API allows the following specific functions (all subject to appropriate user consent)

  • Allow a user to launch a third-party web application visually integrated in a window on the G.ho.st Desktop
  • Allow the third-party to rely on G.ho.st authentication to effect single sign-on
  • Allow a file to be passed to the web application for viewing/editing and to be saved back to G.ho.st Drive
  • Provide a full file system to the web application by offering full read/write access to the user’s G.ho.st Drive using Webdav
  • Pass user preferences like language, font, etc. from G.ho.st to the third-party application

The API is designed to be very light weight with a simple convenient approach to launching third-party applications by a URL and passing data as parameters to that URL.

The API was also built to be completely technology agnostic; accepting any web application with any backend as long as it is launched in a web page through a URL.

These web applications have to be hosted at the web application developer’s own expense on any server or platform of their choice, as G.ho.st currently don’t provide any hosting for these third party applications. A special case exists for applications that can be compiled into a single file.

For more details on the API, check the G.ho.st API Page.

Intel Capital Invests In Two Jordanian Companies Jeeran And ShooFeeTV

| May 17, 2009 | comment 2 Comments
Intel
Jeeran
ShooFeeTV

In a joint press conference today in Amman, Jordan, Intel Capital‘s latest investments in the Arab internet scene were announced.

These new investments from Intel Capital are in Jordanian internet companies Jeeran, one of the leading user generated content portals in the Arab world, and ShooFeeTV, a free online Arabic television guide. Both companies are also IV Holdings portfolio companies.

This comes among Intel Capital’s ongoing push in the region, supporting local entrepreneurship in the Middle East and funding companies in the internet and technology sectors through its $50 million Intel Capital Middle East and Turkey Fund, which is aimed to assist the companies in pursuing regional growth and development plans in addition to extending their product offerings.

Under the umbrella of this fund, Intel continues to increase its investment in four key areas: local entrepreneurship, education, digital accessibility and specialized technical competencies, to help promote technology skills, knowledge transfer and jobs creation.

As has become custom for most such investments in the Arab world, the size of these investments has not been disclosed.

H2O New Media Announces SODA CMS With Support For Location Based Services

| May 16, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

H2O New MediaH2O New Media has just announced the availability of the SODA Content Management System which they describe as the first Web 2.0 Content Management system to support location based services.

These location based services should allow members of any social community built on the SODA content management system to send its users emails, SMS messages and alerts based on a users physical location.

Steve Vaile, CEO of H2O New Media, says that “The SODA CMS allows any community member to receive notifications either by SMS, MMS, Video or by email to their mobile phone based on their location. The development will enable our publishing and corporate customers to offer innovative new services and applications to their customers and internal based on location and vicinity on their mobile phone. Social communities should operate seamlessly between both web PC & mobile handsets, and with SODA taking advantage of location based services its really one of the first social media technology platforms to create a bridge between the online and the physical world.”

He continues to say that “with SODA a customer can deploy a social media platform that will allow its users not only to communicate with each other but to know where each other are, based on their preferences of course. For example if you are a member of a social community you can receive an SMS text when you are close to your friends, marketers can use it to message users are close to a store that has a promotional offer.”

H2O New Media provides social media applications based on software as a service (SaaS) model to corporate companies in the Middle East. H2O New Media clients include United Business Media, Sian Events, Channels Exhibitions, CSM, G2 Publishing and many other leading events and media companies.

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