Yamli’s Habib Haddad On World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders 2009 List

| Feb 25, 2009 | comment 15 Comments

World Economic ForumThe World Economic Forum has announced the Young Global Leaders (YGL) 2009. The honour, bestowed each year by the Forum, recognizes and acknowledges between 200 and 300 outstanding young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.

The Forum has nominated Young Global Leaders from 71 countries, including business leaders, as well as leaders from government, academia, non-profit organizations, media and society. The new class represents all regions: East Asia (54), Europe (58), the Middle East and North Africa (12), North America (45), South Asia (24), sub-Saharan Africa (20) and Latin America (17). For a list of YGLs honoured in 2009, click here.

Habib HaddadOn this list we find one of our very own: Habib Haddad, co-founder of Yamli. Habib is behind the original idea behind Yamli, and today drives Yamli’s vision of empowering the Arabic language and users on the web. His responsibilities span from product strategy and design to business development.

Habib often speaks about early stage development and entrepreneurship, and has spoken at venues such as the Harvard Business School, Boston College and the American University of Beirut. He currently sits on the advisory board of Meedan, a non-profit startup that aims to enable cross-cultural dialogs online.

Commenting on the nomination, Habib said: ”I am honored to be selected as a Young Global Leader and I am eager to engage with the YGL community. I have always been passionate about entrepreneurship and hope that along with fellow YGLs, we will be able to help foster entrepreneurship activities in the Middle East and North Africa. I am also excited to continue to promote the Arabic web, which I believe has a bright future lying ahead.”

Drawn from a pool of almost 5,000 candidates, the Young Global Leaders 2009 were chosen by a selection committee, chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, comprising 31 eminent international media leaders. 

The 2009 honourees will become part of the broader Forum of Young Global Leaders that currently comprises 480 outstanding individuals. The YGLs convene at biannual summits, as well as Forum events and meetings throughout the year, and collaborate on initiatives to tackle some of the key challenges of our generation.

Big congratulations to Habib Haddad for this honour; it’s very well deserved.

ShooFeeTV Launches Newly Designed Bilingual Version

| Feb 24, 2009 | comment Leave a comment


ShooFeeTV, the free online Arabic television guide, is officially launching a new bilingual version of their website a bit later today, at a launch party held in their Amman offices.

The new version comes in both Arabic and English, with a new more simplistic design, as well as a more powerful search engine, allowing users to find whatever they’re looking for faster. 

Among the other new features and additions that were introduced with this new version are:

- The possibility to search either by theme or by type through the 100,000 database entries and the listings detailing the times and programming for the Arab world’s most popular satellite channels. (“Drama”, “Comedy” or television series, films, sports events and other types.)

- The introduction of tagging and tag clouds to better organize the content and help users find what they’re looking for.

- The use of optimized high-quality, high-resolution images on the home page.


Submit, The Conference For Middle Eastern Internet Entrepreneurs & Professionals (April 8-9th, 2009)

| Feb 23, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

Submit Conference

Among all the different conferences and events happening in the Middle East, there are rarely any at all that are dedicated to internet entrepreneurs and professionals; Submit is here to change that.

Submit is a gathering taking place in Dubai’s Habtoor Grand Hotel, on the 8th & 9th of April 2009, for entrepreneurs and professionals involved in the Internet industry in the Middle East.

If you’re involved in running an internet startup, web site, web application or are a professional in the Internet space, this event caters to you. 

The goal of Submit is to kick-start a yearly gathering to get people with a common interest in the internet, building web applications, entrepreneurship, technology, marketing, and design together in one place, in an attempt to share the latest innovations and developments taking place in the Internet industry across the region and the globe.

A number of experts from the International & Middle-East Internet scene will be speaking at the event.

The event is being organized by SpinBits and Argaam; with StartUpArabia as a media partner.

For more information about the event, the speakers and the topics that will be covered; you can check out the official event website here: Submit Conference.

How will the current economic crisis affect Arab online startups?

| Feb 22, 2009 | comment 6 Comments

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

Ever since the current economic crisis began, opinions have been divided on what kind of effect it will have on online startups in the Arab world; from some arguing it will be positive as the crisis should drive online advertising, to others thinking it will take them down like it’s doing to many other types of businesses, and then there are the ones who think it will have no effect whatsoever.

And so this poll is simple and straightforward; asking the following question:

How will the current economic crisis affect Arab online startups?

So what do you think? In what way will it affect them?

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

Intel To Invest In Three UAE Based Technology Companies

| Feb 19, 2009 | comment 2 Comments

IntelIntel, the world’s largest maker of computer chips, announced it will be investing in three UAE-based technology companies.

The funding will come from the $50 million Intel Capital Middle East and Turkey Fund, and is aimed to assist the companies in pursuing regional growth and development plans in addition to extending their product offerings. 

The three companies that will be benefiting from Intel Capital’s investment are as follows:

  • Conservus International FZ-LLC: An IT/Media marketing company that is responsible for the conceptualization, design and development of a revolutionary digital targeted advertising medium known as MyConservus Portal. (Conservus is also an IV Holdings portfolio company)
  • Pulse Technologies FZ-LLC: A leading manufacturer of building automation systems, specifically catering to property and hotel developers across the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe.
  • Vertex Animation Studio FZ-LLC: A cutting edge technology firm focused on providing world-class services in the field of animation, virtual reality applications and 3D multiplatform games via a multitude of technological platforms.

The size of the investments was not disclosed.

Under the Intel Capital program, Intel plans to continue supporting local entrepreneurship in the Middle East through its investments in education, digital accessibility and specialized technical competencies.

“We have a strong pipeline for future investments in the region,” Feroz Sanaulla, director of Intel Capital’s Middle East, Turkey and Africa division, said during a press conference. “Several hundred million dollars have been deployed in the region, and you will see more in the next few months.”

Content Syndicate Announces Investment By IV Holdings

| Feb 18, 2009 | comment 2 Comments
Content Syndicate
IV Holdings

Content Syndicate has officially announced that it has received strategic investment from Interactive Ventures Holding Company (“IV Holdings”), a leading venture capital firm, focused on internet and interactive companies, and based out of Amman, Jordan.

The funding will be used to support Content Syndicate’s rapid growth and development of its content services platform.

“In its private beta alone, Content Syndicate, with its unique and disruptive business model, as well as its dynamic management track record, impressed us. More importantly, the strong validation the company has received from major customers and publishers, combined with our investment strategy focused on the development of content syndication in our region, made Content Syndicate a great fit. Very few early-stage companies have this kind of amazing traction and robust business model,” said Fawaz H. Zu’bi, Chairman of IV Holdings.

Content Syndicate’s patent-pending platform helps publishers to commission, buy, sell, syndicate content in more than 200 languages. With no entry-level costs, coupled with its ‘pay for performance’ model, Content Syndicate helps publishers to monetize their content further and minimizing the inefficiency, thereby generating additional revenues and cutting costs. The company intends to extend its service to support other media – audio, video and mobile content in 2009.

Continue reading »

Viva To Launch Mobile Payment Solution In Kuwait

| Feb 18, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

VivaSTC’s Kuwaiti subsidiary Viva announced that it will be launching a new mobile payment solution in Kuwait, using a platform provided by Irish firm Macalla.

Viva, the third mobile operator in Kuwait, which launched services in December of last year, will provide payment services in Arabic and English directly to Viva subscribers and also via its dealer and agent network.

Rollout of the project will be done through a number of phases, and service channels will include mobile, kiosks and online, with supporting payments done by mobile wallet, cash, debit or credit card.

STC operates telecom networks in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa and Malaysia, and will launch a mobile network in Bahrain, but has not stated yet whether it will extend the same mobile commerce service to its other subsidiaries.

[Source: Comm.]

Cyber Gear Launches DIYads For Self Serve Advertising

| Feb 17, 2009 | comment 4 Comments


Cyber Gear, a UAE based web design and online marketing firm, has just launched DIYadsonline.com, a new “do it yourself” online ad creation, placement and performance analysis service for the Middle East.

The service is targeted at advertisers who are on a budget, and need to cheaply put together an online display ad, and get it out there as quickly and easily as possible. At DIYadsonline.com prices start at US$ 99/month for up to 5,000 banner impressions.

Currently, online campaigns created through the service can be run on DubaiCityGuide.com, another service by Cyber Gear, with the company aiming to add new sites to the DIYads publishers network in the coming weeks.

Sharad Agarwal, CEO of Cyber Gear, said in the company’s press release that “Self serve display ads are the ‘killer app’ of Web advertising. We have developed a proprietary real time ad customization tool and intuitive web-based interface that deploys XML Feed to create more engaging display ads using Flash technology. The new tool will enable advertisers select from a number of ad targeting factors such as geographic, demographic and various user interest categories.” 


The new service comes at a time when many companies are cutting down their advertising budgets, and many people are expecting a bigger push towards online advertising; so it should be interesting to see how well it does.

I wouldn’t expect the system to create some really awesome or ultra creative banner ads, but it still could be enough for someone making an entrance to online advertising, with a limited budget, and wanting to test the waters.

Ikbis Introduce New Direct Webcam Upload Feature

| Feb 16, 2009 | comment 4 Comments


Ikbis, popular Arab video and photo sharing website, has launched a new feature enabling users to upload videos directly from their webcams.

This means that users who have a webcam and microphone connected to their computers can directly click on ‘Webcam upload’ to access a new interface where they can start recording their messages after enabling the integrated flash player/recorder to access their webcam and microphone.

After recording the video, the user is presented with three options: the possibility to re-record, overwriting the video and recording a new one; a preview option, to check the video before publishing it; and the choice to publish it directly among the user’s videos and shots, after filling in all details about the video (title, description, tags).

Ikbis Webcam Upload

This new development makes it a lot easier and faster for users to get their videos on the service, and opens the door for video bloggers who want to get up and running quickly with their podcasts.

Questler Launches Mobile Information Channels With Orange

| Feb 13, 2009 | comment Leave a comment


Questler, the informal online learning network, just announced the launch of a couple of mobile information channels in Jordan with Orange, through the help of Beecell, a mobile value added services and solutions provider.

Two mobile channels have been launced, one in Arabic and the other in English. Subscribers to any of the channels will get the Quest of the day on their mobiles.

Questler are hoping to widen their reach with these mobile channels, by extending their service to more Jordanian users through mobile.

The launch of these channels is also the first monetization move by Questler ever since the service was launched in November 2007.

It’ll be interesting to see how well these mobile channels do, and how much they help Questler expand their reach and start generating revenue.

More information on how to subscribe to these channels can be found at: http://questler.com/sms

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