How much money do you need for your startup? [Poll Results]

| Feb 12, 2009 | comment 7 Comments

In the latest poll on StartUpArabia, the question to the readers was: 

How much money do you need for your startup?

The result of reader voting came out as follows:  

How much money do you need for your startup?


Out of 230 readers who responded to the poll:
37.83% of them say they’d need only between $10,000 and $50,000
17.83% say they need $100,000 to $250,000 
14.78% only need $50,000 to $100,000
- 11.74% said they need $250,000 to $1,000,000 
7.83% need more than $1,000,000
- and the remaining 10% don’t need any money at all

I think the results of this poll are very interesting, because they highlight a number of really important issues:

- The evident gap we have in angel and seed funding that covers the lower startup budgets that make up the biggest percentage of startup needs, as confirmed by the numbers above.

- Are the region’s VC firms being realistic with the investment sizes they’re looking for in the online and technology startups area?

- Are entrepreneurs being realistic with the amounts of money they think they need? Are they asking for too much or too little? Are they taking into consideration all the costs they need to get their startup on its feet, or are they just looking at what it costs for them to get a prototype out the door? 

These are all important issues to think about, and that I’ll be exploring in more detail in future articles.
If you have any ideas or thoughts about this, or if you would like to help in writing the articles about these points, please do drop a comment.

ArabCrunch DEMO 09 – Amman, Jordan (February 23rd 2009)

| Feb 11, 2009 | comment 4 Comments

ArabCrunch Demo 09ArabCrunch and DART, the student entrepreneurship society at Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT), which is one of the major programs at the of Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship (QRCE), are organizing the 1st ArabCrunch DEMO event in Amman, Jordan on February 23rd at the Friendship auditorium of Princess Sumaya University for Technology.

The event, which the organizers hope to make into a regular one, aims to be a launchpad for emerging technologies in the Arab world. The event will also include keynotes from top regional and world class technology and e-marketing experts, and will be followed by a networking reception. 

This edition of the event will give the chance to five Arab startups to present their products and services:

  • Ishki, a Web 2.0 portal that aims to be the first Arab complaints platform. (Jordan)
  • MailPacks, an auto responder system. (Jordan)
  • Adhere, from Citex Software, an open-source mobile advertising platform. (Egypt)
  • weNear, from eSpace, a location-based framework that connects people’s Interest. (Egypt)
  • Al-Khawarizmy, who have developed new Arabic search algorithms and solutions. (Egypt)

The keynote speakers at the event will be:

  • Sumaya Kazi, Senior Social Media Manager at Sun Microsystems and founder of The CulturalConnect. 
  • Khaled Jabasini, the Founder and CEO of E-Marketing MENA, a leading digital Media consultancy in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Herve Cuviliez, the Managing Director of KuvCapital, a leading Pan-Arab and European seed investment venture capital firm.

Attendance will be free of charge, with previous preapproval. Registration can be done online by visiting the event’s website: ArabCrunch Demo 09

Du Launches Full Track ‘Music on Demand’ Service In The UAE

| Feb 9, 2009 | comment 4 Comments

duDu, the integrated telecom operator in the UAE, just announced the availability of Music on Demand, an online music service which allows du customers to download full track music content.

The initial launch of Music on Demand features over 2000 songs from Rotana’s leading Arabic artists, such as Husain Al Jassmi, Amr Diab, Elissa, Najwa Karam, Shireen and many more, made available for du customers to download on their mobile handsets or personal computers. All du customers who register for Music on Demand will receive free full track music downloads worth AED18.

du plan to grow their full track music library soon, to allow customers to download music from other genres and regions of the world through partnering with leading content providers.

Rotana, the leading provider of Arabic entertainment content in the region, signed an exclusive agreement with du in 2008 to offer all content from its library to du’s customers in the UAE. For as little as AED 6, du customers can purchase full music tracks via 3 new exciting channels – a web portal, a Mobile client, or a PC application. Once songs are purchased, customers can download the same song on any of these 3 channels mentioned above, making this an industry leading “Music on Demand” offering.

All the customer needs to do is to register at the website to get access to the service and start downloading music, streaming audio and video from Rotana channels and have access to the latest buzz and gossip in the Arabic entertainment world.

IV Holdings Invests In Media & Advertising Company MediaScope

| Feb 8, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

MediaScopeInteractive Ventures Holding Company (“IV Holdings”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Accelerator Technology Holdings (“ATH”), has become a strategic financial investor in MediaScope Ltd, a pioneering digital marketing and publishing company based in Jordan with operations across the Middle East.

Founded in 1994 by Jordanian entrepreneur Zeid Nasser, MediaScope holds a leadership position in media and advertising consultancy and publishing in its home market, and has recently expanded its business model to cater to online publishing, digital marketing and sales services.

“With global online adspend expected to reach over US$60 billion in 2011, MediaScope holds the potential of driving the growth of this industry within our region, especially as Internet penetration, entrepreneurial start-ups, and market confidence in online communications continue to grow across the Arab World”, said Fawaz H. Zu’bi, Chairman of IV Holdings. “With this investment, MediaScope will be able to leverage its acquired digital sales and marketing expertise to emerge as a leading regional digital media network.“

One of MediaScope’s most prominent products is, the Middle East’s first and leading user-generated portal for advertising and media professionals, which boasts over 4,500 registered professionals, with influence in key advertising markets in the Arabian Gulf and Levant.

Commenting on the partnership, Zeid Nasser, Founder and CEO of MediaScope, added that “We are proud to join this fraternity of forward-looking media and technology businesses, under the IV Holdings banner. We were looking for more than just funding, and we have found the industry-specific understanding and daily involvement we were seeking.”

“This year could be a defining one for the online advertising industry across the world, but particularly in the Middle East, as digital media could flourish through its cost effectiveness and unparalleled reach, amidst a slowdown in other forms of media expenditure. We at MediaScope, through our digital media products and services, will be championing an industry shift towards digital and serving the market from a new base in the Gulf, in addition to our home base in the Levant,” concluded Mr. Nasser.

Social Entrepreneur of the Year Competition 2009 – Middle East & North Africa

| Feb 7, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

Schwab Foundation for Social EntrepreneurshipThe Schwab Foundation is running a competition, looking for the Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2009 from the different regions of the world.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a not-for-profit, independent and neutral organization, founded in 1998, with the purpose to advance social entrepreneurship and to foster social entrepreneurs as an important catalyst for societal innovation and progress.

The most important criteria to be considered a finalist are:

  • An innovative product or service
  • An idea that has been sustained through a successful infrastructure
  • The implemented idea has a direct social impact
  • You were able to reach beyond the initial context
  • Your idea is applicable to other situations, regions and countries

The winners will be included in the Schwab Foundation network of social entrepreneurs. This includes access to a peer network of social entrepreneurs, special benefits such as pro-bono consulting services and scholarships to executive education courses at world-class institutions such as Harvard Business School, Stanford University and INSEAD.

The winners will also be invited to one regional meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Excellent finalists or winners under 40 will also be nominated to the Young Global Leaders network of the World Economic Forum. Worldclass social entrepreneurs will be invited to join the global social entrepreneur community, which includes the possibility to be invited to the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos and to contribute to the Global Agenda Councils of the Forum.

For more information on the competition and the detailed criteria to join, you can check out the competition site.

The deadline for submissions from the Middle East and North Africa is February 16th 2009, and you can apply online here.

Middle East Online Ad Spend Set To Grow By Up To 35% In 2009

| Feb 1, 2009 | comment 5 Comments

Regional spending on online advertising is expected to grow by 25-35 percent as a result of the downturn, as we witness a greater shift from print to online advertising, according to a study titled “Game Not Over”, that was recently released by global management consultant firm, Booz & Company.

According to Gabriel Chahine, a partner at Booz & Company, “Online advertising is cheaper compared to other mediums such as television and print and is far more targeted. It offers better investment and a better return.”

The report says that around 90 percent of marketers are focused on campaigns that are cross-platform and inclusive of digital media while 80 percent believe insights into consumer’s digital behaviour will become more important to their brands.

Online advertising spending in the GCC-Levant countries remains below 1 percent of the total globally, according to a recent study by Madar Research

Chahine thinks that growth of online advertising is hampered in the Middle East by a lack of supply of regional products and that companies head to Google, Yahoo and Facebook for online advertising because of a lack of compelling offerings from the Arab world.

On the other hand the report states that just 25 percent of marketers consider themselves savvy enough to capitalise on opportunities in online advertising, which I think is the bigger reason why online advertising hasn’t taken off in the region.

The report says that marketers’ key concerns include the efficacy of digital metrics, the need for greater education and new models so they can build a more effective advertising presence online.

[Source: Arabian Business]

RIP Fadi Francis Dababneh, Founder & CEO of

| Jan 30, 2009 | comment 20 Comments

Fadi Francis DababnehFadi Francis Dababneh, founder & CEO of SouqElArab, has passed away.

I only met Fadi a couple of times in person, but we got to talk many times and know each other over the internet, and something I admired about him was that he was a true entrepreneur; very passionate about his work, a hard worker, a true believer, a risk taker and strongly determined to succeed, sticking to his objectives through the hard and good times.

Fadi, as you can read in this profile that he wrote himself, was an academic lecturer at the German-Jordanian University, an entrepreneur behind businesses like Fast Print and, and a highly qualified e-commerce professional. 

The Arab entrepreneur community has lost a great entrepreneur and a very helpful and kind person.

Fadi, God bless you and may you rest in peace.

My deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences go out to Fadi’s wife, family and loved ones.

Tunisia: Number Of Internet Users Reaches 2.8 Million

| Jan 29, 2009 | comment 2 Comments

TunisiaThe number of internet users has reached nearly 2,8 Million and the ADSL networking rate stands at 11,1 Gigabits per second, said Mrs Lamia Chaffai Sghaier, the Secretary of State in charge of computers and free software at the opening of the first edition of “2009 Technology Days on information systems” (JTSI 2009), which began at the El Ghazala technological park a couple of days ago.

The aim of the event is to offer a space of exchange and reflection to the many economic stakeholders involved in ICT. JTSI 2009 presents a number of case studies, discussion panels and workshops.

The Secretary of State talked about the government’s push to boost ICT among industrial units with a view of increasing their competitiveness and creating employment opportunities; as well as the development of the ADSL basic infrastructure services, through the use of optic fibres, to cover 300 industrial areas.

She also said that the government has launched a program aimed at generalizing the use of the internet within the administration through the creation of specialized computer centres.
The setup of an integrated administrative network is currently underway, she said.

[Source: Tunisia Online News]

DemoCamp Dubai 4 – Live Coverage

| Jan 28, 2009 | comment 4 Comments

Partnership Agreement Signed between QRCE and Al-Ahli Holding Group

| Jan 27, 2009 | comment 1 Comment

Press Release: Partnership Agreement Signed between QRCE and Al-Ahli Holding Grp.
AMMAN, Jordan – (Jan. 2009)

Under the patronage of Dr. Adel Al-Twaysi – Chairman of the founding committee of El-Hassan Science City – the Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship (QRCE) held a press conference to announce partnership with Al-Ahli Holding Group-UAE through which it will provide technical support to the 2nd round of the “Global Economic Opportunities” program. Mr. Mohammad Khammas –the CEO of the Al-Ahli Holding Group was present, while QRCE was represented by Mr. Mohammad Khawaja –the Deputy Director.

QRCE - Al AhliThe “Global Economic Opportunities” program was launched last year aiming at expanding Arab youth capacity to work with peers from various countries and cultures in developing successful world-class ventures, as well as establishing newly-born companies that supply global markets with products and services of high economic value. A group of Arab youth and participants from Argentina took place in the program’s first trial, in which they underwent specialized courses in business development, which helped them acquire the entrepreneurial skills needed for venture success.

This year, the program is going to include participants from Jordan, South Africa, Brazil, UAE and Argentina. In addition to the specialized training courses, QRCE will provide seasoned mentors from leading companies around the world to support participating teams in enhancing their business plans and honing their abilities to seize global economic opportunities, as well as building successful global companies. The program will also include field visits to major companies and factories in hosting countries in order to expand the participants’ knowledge and increase their understanding of work environment in different countries, as well as understanding each country’s specificity, both culturally and socially.

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