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  • 31 Jan 2016 6:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Musician Invents a Way to Tune Instruments Automatically

    Bassam Jalgha’s band mates wouldn’t keep quiet at rehearsals. That led to a great idea.

    Once band mates, the partners behind Roadie developed a way to solve a nagging problem for musicians. 



    Updated Jan. 24, 2016 10:03 p.m. ET

    Bassam Jalgha was a musician long before he was an engineering student. Then he put those two parts of his life together—and became an entrepreneur.

    For years, Mr. Jalgha played the oud, a traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument, as a hobby. But “I used to struggle tuning my oud during rehearsal, so I used to spend half the time isolated or making sure my band mates were quiet so I can tune my instrument,” he says. “I thought there must be a better solution.”

    In 2006, as a third-year mechanical-engineering student at the American University of Beirut, the answer came to him. He was taking a class on developing control systems for machines, and he realized he could create a gadget that could be attached to stringed instruments and tune them automatically.

    Although he didn’t pursue it at the time, he kept the idea with him. In 2009, he took his pitch for the gadget onto a reality-TV competition in Qatar, where it won first place and a $300,000 prize.

    Later, he began developing the device full-time with his college friend and former band member, Hassane Slaibi, an engineer and flute player. The original name was Dozan—Arabic for tuning—but they eventually settled on Roadie as catchier for a global audience.

    The hand-held device, which sells for $99, attaches to a tuning peg on a stringed instrument. After the user plucks the string, Roadie analyzes the sound and automatically adjusts the tension to get the string tuned properly. An app stores profiles for different instruments and custom tunings and keeps track of the elasticity of the strings, telling the musician when new ones are needed.

    Roadie hit the market in November 2014. The company won’t release revenue figures, but it says online and retail sales have been “sustaining and growing” the firm.

    “Our mission is to make perfection accessible to musicians, and to reduce the barrier to entry for new musicians,” says Mr. Slaibi. “It’s a new dimension that technology can bring to music.”

  • 27 Jan 2016 7:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Frank Quattrone to Step Down as C.E.O. of Qatalyst


    Frank P. Quattrone, co-founder of the boutique investment bank Qatalyst Group in San Francisco.

    CreditPeter DaSilva for The New York Time


    Nearly a decade ago, Frank P. Quattrone, the star investment banker who took Amazon and Cisco Systems public in the 1990s, returned to the deal scene with a boutique investment bank catering to Silicon Valley.

    After re-emerging as a major force in the technology industry, Mr. Quattrone is now yielding day-to-day management to one of his top lieutenants.

    His firm, the Qatalyst Group, announced on Wednesday that George Boutros would take over as chief executive, overseeing overall management.

    The appointment is the first major leadership change at Qatalyst since Mr. Quattrone, 60, began the firm in March 2008, seven months after clearing his name in a bitter legal fight with the federal government.

    A veteran of Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, Mr. Quattrone became known as a banker of choice for the dot-com boom. Yet he was waylaid by charges of hindering a government investigation into initial public offerings at Credit Suisse. Those charges were dropped in 2007.

    Instead of decamping to an investment firm, Mr. Quattrone chose instead to set up a boutique investment bank. It is a niche that has gained prominence in recent years, as firms like Centerview Partners, PJT Partners and Evercore Partners have secured roles on some of the biggest deals around.

    Since 2008, Qatalyst has grown from three employees to 53, and it says it has advised on more than 90 deals, including the sales of OpenTable, Motorola Mobility and Dropcam.

    Naming Mr. Boutros, 55, chief executive is a promotion that formally recognizes the role that the banker — who has worked with Mr. Quattrone since 1992 — has been playing at Qatalyst.

    “George is one of the most experienced and accomplished M.&A. advisers on the planet,” Mr. Quattrone said in a statement. “He is very highly regarded by both our clients and team members at all levels, and I am confident that his leadership will propel Qatalyst to exciting new heights in the years ahead.”

    Mr. Quattrone will become executive chairman and focus on strategy.

    Other bankers at Qatalyst received promotions as well, including Jason DiLullo and Jonathan Turner, who have been named co-presidents.

  • 18 Jan 2016 12:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jan 14, 2016 Simon Khalaf 

    Media, Productivity & Emojis Give Mobile Another Stunning Growth Year.

    In the seven years that Flurry has been reporting on mobile app usage, we have seen nothing but growth, and this year continued the trend.

    In 2015 overall app usage grew by 58%. In this context, we define app usage as a user opening an app and recording what we call a “session.” With the exception of Games, every app category posted year-over-year growth with Personalization, News & Magazines and Productivity leading the way with triple-digit growth.

    Mobile Use Grows by 58% in 2015

    The mobile industry has matured fast. In fact, 7 years into the mobile revolution, Flurry tracks over 2.1 billion smart devices, worldwide on a monthly basis. While the growth rate has declined (58% in 2015 compared to 76% in 2014 and 103% in 2013), it remains stunning as rates like these are rare in mature industries. What was even more impressive is the majority of that growth rate came from existing users versus new users. In fact, in 2015, we estimate that 40% of the 58% total growth in sessions came from existing users, compared to 20% in 2014 and 10% in 2013. This jives well with the report we released last summer, showing a fast increase in mobile addicts.

    From a category perspective, four categories grew faster than the average.

    Personalization apps saw their sessions balloon more than 344% in 2015. These apps range from Android lock-screens to Emoji keyboards. When we looked deeper into the category, we noticed that the majority of the growth is coming from Emoji apps (mainly keyboards) giving consumers the ability to share customized correspondence in their favorite messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Line and Snapchat. It is not a surprise then to see Kim Kardashian’s app “Kimoji” skyrocket to the number 1 spot on the Apple AppStore, on its launch day.

    News and Magazine apps grew a whopping 141% in 2015. This growth validates the trend in media consumption we reported on last summer, signaling a shift in media consumption from television and PCs to smartphones in general, and phablets in particular, as we will discuss later.

    Productivity apps continued the trend that started in 2014, with 119% sessions grow in 2015. In fact, more and more consumers, especially teens and college students are using their smartphones, phablets and tablets as their primary computing device and their sole device to access email and other productivity apps, like Google Docs, Quip, Slack and the Microsoft productivity suite.

    Lifestyle and Shopping apps grew 80% in 2015, following a 174% growth in 2014. This growth rate validates reports in early 2015 that mobile commerce is “growing like a weed” and already accounts for 33% of online commerce in the US and 40% of online commerce on a worldwide basis.

    Inch by Inch, Mobile and its Apps Absorb the Media Industry

    While the overall growth rate of 58% paints an interesting picture, our analysis dug a bit deeper by looking into growth rates cut by categories and form factors, especially phablets. In the above chart we compared the year-over-year session growth rates of the News & Magazine, Sports, and Music, Media, & Entertainment categories on phablets and all devices combined.

    The growth rates of these three categories dramatically over-indexed on phablets compared to the growth rates on all devices combined. Growth in News & Magazines apps on phablets was 4.8x that of all devices, meaning phablet users are engaging in these apps at a much higher rate than the average smart device user. A similar pattern emerged for Sports and Music, Media & Entertainment apps, at 4.6x and 4x respectively. It appears that the extra inch of real estate has made the phablet the ultimate media consumption device.

    The picture got much clearer when we looked at year-over-year growth in time spent and cut that by form factor. Time spent on phablets grew 334% year-over-year (2.9 times more than the average), compared to 117% for all form factors. With time spent on mobile surpassing that on television, and phablets posting astonishing growth in media consumption, it appears that the cable industry will find in the phablet and its apps its long-awaited digital nemesis.

    The Phablet: The Unstoppable Media Consumption Device

    Once labeled a fad (even by us), Phablets have become the unstoppable media consumption device. 27% of all new devices activated for Christmas this year were phablets and 50% of all Android devices activated in the same timeframe were phablets.

    We say “unstoppable” because if the current trends hold, the phablet will become the dominant form factor by October of next year. The above chart shows our forecast for worldwide device distribution, by form factor through the middle of 2017. Also interesting to note is that small phones will be extinct by the second quarter of 2016. It’s clear consumers want their content, and they want it on a bigger screen.

    3.2 Trillion Sessions and Counting

    In 2015, Flurry tracked a mind boggling 3.2 trillion sessions. When we started 8 years ago, we never thought that our counters could reach these numbers. But, we have been fortunate enough to have a front row seat watching the mobile revolution unfold and absorb (and in some case demolish) industry after industry. On January 1st 2016, 12:01 am, our counters reset to zero and the guessing game started again. Which industry will mobile and its apps absorb in 2016?

    We will have the answer a year from now, but for now: Here’s to Emojis! 

  • 05 Dec 2015 6:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Venture Capitalist Abroad: 500 Startups Creates Middle East Tech Fund

    The $30 million fund will make small investments in startups based in the region.

     Lizette Chapman 

    December 3, 2015 — 6:00 AM PST

    Share on FacebookShare on Twitter

    Dave McClure, 500 Startups Interview

    Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

    Dave McClure wants to dispel some stereotypes about his venture capital firm's latest stomping ground: "The popular image of what's going on in the Middle East is either Isis or sheikhs with a bunch of oil, but the reality is there are millions of people who aren't rich or poor," said McClure, the Silicon Valley-based founding partner of 500 Startups.

    The venture firm, which invests small amounts of money in hundreds of young technology companies around the world, said on Thursday that it's establishing a $30 million fund in the Middle East and North Africa. 500 Startups plans to make initial investments of about $75,000 each in nascent companies in a region that McClure said is poorly understood by other tech investors.

    McClure said the area's large concentration of people under the age of 26, their high smartphone adoption rates, and the low penetration of Western tech companies makes the market attractive. "I've been there five times a year for the past three years," he said. "These are vibrant and growing economies, and as much as there are challenges there, there are opportunities."

    The new fund joins a string of similar geographic-focused microfunds started by the firm during the past few years. 500 Startups said it doubled the size of its Southeast Asia fund in October and is also seeking to invest in Nigerian startups. Additionally, the firm has standalone funds for startups in Mexico and Latin America, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Turkey, and Nordic countries. Its main global fund, which closed in September, manages $85 million.

    Although there are other tech investors in the Middle East, including accelerators Oasis500 in Jordan and Flat6Labs in Egypt, the numbers are small. Venture investors put $205 million into 33 area startups last year, according to a 2014 report by trade group MENA Private Equity Association. It's the highest amount for the region since 2008 but still a paltry sum compared with other places, such as Israel or the Nordics, let alone Silicon Valley.

    Hasan Haider, a former investment banker, serves as venture partner for the new 500 Startups fund in the Middle East and North Africa. He said the fund, which has so far gotten investor commitments for half of the $30 million goal, will back as many as 300 companies. Haider's ideal investment is a mobile and social media startup, with simple business models that aren't costly to build. He also sees opportunities in e-commerce. "Amazon and EBay don't operate here," he said.

    One such company is ShopGo, which Syrian entrepreneur Moe Ghashim created to help retailers develop an online presence. Building his business in Syria had different challenges from starting up in, say, a garage in Palo Alto, Calif. "The government started to cut electricity and Internet very randomly, which made it very difficult to work," Ghashim said.

    Ghashim moved from Aleppo, Syria, to Jordan in late 2011. Since joining the Oasis500 accelerator there and raising $3.2 million from investors, including 500 Startups, ShopGo said it has grown to a total of 32 employees and more than 300 customers. While the company now has reliable electricity, Ghashim said he faces a challenge familiar to many upstarts in a country not commonly known as a tech hub: "The next step is figuring out how to capture a bigger market."

  • 01 Dec 2015 9:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Program At Emerson College Offers Students A Path (And Funds) To Entrepreneurship

    The current golden age of entrepreneurship, as many are calling it, is leading to more and more colleges and universities offering entrepreneurial programs and start-up schools, with incubators as either part of the curriculum, or an added benefit. Top ten lists rating schools in criteria like best for partying and intramural sports used to be heavily weighted. They still are, for some. But for students like Maya Rafie and Zac DelVecchio, a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is increasingly at the top of their list.

    Rafie, a Boston-based 20-year old student, freelances as a photographer, a job that led her to co-found Bistara, the world’s first college freelance marketplace. The opportunity to start her own business came about organically, as she and co-founder, Zac DelVecchio, a student who builds musical gear, struggled to connect with peers who would pay for their services. They realized the need for a platform matching skilled freelancers with clients at the college level was not unique to them. The proposition, DelVecchio explains, is simple.

    “At first we just wanted to connect students between two schools and then we realized it’s a wider problem – not only do students nationwide want to connect to get better rates and skills matched, but the outside community was interested as well because it allows people to hire freelancers for less money, and students to get good experience.”

    Maya Rafie and Zac Del Vecchio, Students and Co-founders Credit: Ryan Watanabe

    Maya Rafie and Zac Del Vecchio, Students and Co-founders
    Credit: Ryan Watanabe

    The duo were convinced their commission-based model was a good one, and their business has been propelled by a new accelerator program at Emerson College. Through the school’s E3 program, students can minor in Entrepreneurial Studies. The accelerator is a recent addition. (Full disclosure: I attended Emerson College, which was recently ranked among the top 10 best colleges and universities for start-ups by Forbes.)

    “What we’ve done in a year and a half, would have taken us much longer without the accelerator. Not only do we learn from the mentors but we also learn from our peers. We have weekly meetings learning what the other teams are doing, what challenges they’re dealing with and help each other test platforms,” Rafie explains.

    She chose Emerson for its non-traditional approach to academics – less about by- the-book lectures, and more about practical application. The college has a reputation, and a history for embracing creativity, independence, and flexibility. It’s also known for getting students out into their fields of study early on in their education. For Rafie, working towards a marketing and communications degree means working on social media and web analytics for an actual client, which boosts her skills in promoting her own business.

    “I’m not really into studying to study. I’m really into hands on projects. In marketing and social media, we work with clients closely. It’s not a case of – okay, now apply it to the real world when you graduate; it’s a case, of okay, apply it to the client now. My team does social media marketing for Tech Hub. We consult with them in weekly meetings. It’s not for credit or payment, it’s just great experience and it’s working.”

    Del Vecchio is a student at nearby Berklee College of Music, and says his school too has an accelerator, but not all are equal. He understands why Emerson was rated so highly.

    “What I like about the Emerson program is that they work individually with us. There are no set rules. They partner us with mentors. At Berklee, it’s structured and more like a class with an entrepreneurial vibe. Teachers come and incubate your idea, but Emerson is based more on what you need, rather than a core set of classics. It reflects Emerson’s ecosystem in general. It’s not that organized, it’s very creative.”

    The program is creative, but does have some basic rules ensuring students keep things small and simple to start. Start-ups can have no more than two leaders and no more than four total members. But, teams, like Rafie and DelVecchio, can be made up of students from other colleges, as long as the non-Emerson member possesses a skill not easily found at Emerson.

    These days accelerators are more common at schools with a science, tech or engineering focus, but Emerson, with its film school and heavy emphasis on the arts and communication is providing skills that complement start-ups. Public speaking and articulation classes have long been a cornerstone of Emerson’s curriculum across all majors, giving students the confidence to make an elevator pitch, for example. And the investment in entrepreneurship comes from the top. President Lee Pelton set out a plan three years ago to establish an innovative lab supporting student development of new ideas and products to complement the college’s E3 program. Confined by a belabored admin process slowing plans for the lab, Pelton hired two Emersonians to design the program. Want something done quickly? Ask students with a start-up mentality. Within a month, Pelton says, they had a winning design and structure for the accelerator.

    “They pitched it to our trustees and many wrote checks on the spot to get it launched.”

    Start-ups receive funding from a pool of $6,000 per semester and retain full ownership of their businesses. Pelton says an ‘age of entrepreneurship’ fuelled by new technology and a do-it-yourself economy made the program an easy sell to trustees.

    “I can’t recall another moment in American history that duplicates the entrepreneurial excitement that we live in today. The spirit that emerged after the recession and the new create your own business economy, has led to an attitude towards building a career that doesn’t rely on traditional ways of doing business.”

    The two-year program launched in the spring of 2014. Students pitch their ideas to an Executive Board made up of three alumni, a mix of entrepreneurs and VC’s. Once admitted, they’re given workspace, funding, mentorship and the ability to establish their businesses well before they graduate, but startups must re-apply to qualify for the second year. It’s the fail fast model – ensuring entrepreneurs are progressing and allowing for a revamp of plans if necessary. 

    Three start-ups were accepted originally. Just two of the inaugural teams were invited into the second year. There are now a total of five teams in the program.

    Class of ’87 grad, Joshua Wachs is among the panelists. Wachsfounded his own successful business, providing web strategy and development.

    “The team has to have passion, but they have to have passion about a great idea that hasn’t been done. We’re not necessarily seeing people who want to make a lot of money, but they want to change something or solve some problem they personally have had.”

    Emerson’s alumni network, Wachs points out, dominate the fields of media, PR, marketing and film, creating a complementary internal and external network that’s so tight, it’s jokingly referred to as the Emerson Mafia. I know, because I’m one of them.

    The involvement with a new generation of entrepreneurs is personal for Wachs.

    “I spent a year studying business and I hated it, but being really hands on with creative people attracted me and I built a really successful company out of that.”

    Rafie and DelVecchio launched their business a year ago. In just their first semester of a trial run, they doubled the amount they received in seed money. That they’re a success is no question, but Del Vecchio says, insights they’re gaining from the accelerator program are crucial for sustainability.

    “It’s about learning how to grow a business, not just set one up and earning when to take money, seeing where else you can get money from.”

    With a business that’s profitable so quickly, DelVecchio explains scaling smartly is crucial to future success.

    “We’ve been getting amazing attention. It’s made us realize we’re onto something big here.”

  • 23 Nov 2015 10:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is an honor to announce that all 3,000 tickets for Banque du Liban Accelerate 2015 have sold out. This, in addition to our 1,000 pre-issued tickets, puts our total registrations as of today at over 4,000. Having exceeded our original target by 33%, we’ve adjusted production to accommodate yet another 1,000 attendees for a grand total of 5,000. This exceptional extra batch of tickets is available as of now at this link:

    Using Eventbrite’s geolocation stats, I am proud to announce that attendees will be flying in to Beirut from 50 countries across 6 continents. The majority are from Europe, USA, Southeast Asia, Caucasus, and MENA, with a handful from China, South Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The breakdown of registrants provides for a diverse set of profiles distributed organically for an ideal mix of entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, mentors, academics, public servants and professionals. For every 10 entrepreneurs attending, there will be approximately 2 investors, 3 advisors & mentors, 1 academic, 1 public servant, and 15 professionals.

    Our Startup Competitions & Exhibition attracted hundreds of applications from dozens of countries. 30 top-tier startups from around the world have been selected for our Early Stage Startup Competition; they will be listed on the website shortly. The winner takes home an impressive 10,000 US$ in cash, but more importantly, will peak the interest of the 200+ investors with over 500 million US$ to invest. Investors are not limited to locals, with some flying over 10,000 kilometers to participate in Banque du Liban Accelerate 2015.

    Separately, our Wearables Hackathon and Web & Mobile Hackathon are now accepting applications. Each is awarding 6,000 US$ of cash prizes, which should make for worthy challenges to test the best. Click her to apply for the Wearables and here to apply for the Web & Mobile.

    For this reason, we are doubling down on production with the generous support of our sponsors:
    •    Berytech is sponsoring the 750sqm Dealmakers Lounge, featuring Dunkin’ Donuts serving coffee and Socrate Catering serving breakfast and amuse-bouche.
    •    Chivas’ The Venture is sponsoring the Early Stage Startup Competition, ensuring that participating startups will have international recognition and reach.
    •    DNY Group is sponsoring the Wearables Hackathon, providing components (electronics), a whole bunch of sensors, a wearable sleeve, 3D printing capabilities, and more, alongside onsite training and guidance so that participants can dream up and hack together wearables to enhance lifestyle or sports.
    •    MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab and WDS have recruited 5 hackathon gurus from Paris to run the Web & Mobile Hackathon; we are flying them in to ensure a world class activity within the Conference.
    •    Roadster DinerAl BaladZaatar W ZeitFrank Wurst, and KB Doner are sponsoring the International Food Hall, featuring Lebanese, American, German, and Turkish foods served daily at lunchtime.
    •    LEAP Ventures is sponsoring the Investing Space for workshops about fundraising, pitching, term sheets, and more.
    •    The historical Phoenicia Hotel, one of the leading InterContinental hotels around the world, will be hosting all our international speakers, and is offering all Banque du Liban Accelerate 2015 special rates. Click here to reserve now. Separately, within walking distance of Phoenicia, Radisson Blu Martinez is offering reduced rates with this Promo Code: LBACCE.
    •    Backing all of this up are MEVP and Sodetel as Gold Sponsors; Kafalat and Firehorse as Silver Sponsors; andMIT Technology Review Pan Arab as Media Sponsor.

    Finally, and in light of the recent unfortunate events around the world, I would like to reassure you that Beirut is very safe, and considered by many as on par with New York, London, and Paris in terms of personal safety and risk profile in the business and downtown districts. Furthermore, security at Banque du Liban Accelerate 2015 will be tight, with free valet parking responsible for all cars, metal detectors at all entrances, security personnel inside the venue, and police outside.


    Marianne Hoayek
    Founder & Organizer
    Banque du Liban Accelerate

    Executive Director
    Head of the Governor's Executive Office
    Banque du Liban

  • 23 Nov 2015 10:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)'s Logo

    LFE and IDAL are pleased to announce the publishing of their report on ICT subsectors in Lebanon following two years of research, in collaboration with MEVP and senior staff from the Ministry of Telecom and the Office of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

    The study – a first of its kind in Lebanon – involves a competitive analysis of 18 ICT subsectors, and identifies those that Lebanon could have a higher potential to thrive in. The report's recommendations could serve as a basis for the direction of resources and incentives to the subsectors that have displayed the strongest competitive advantages. 


    While several prior reports have addressed the competitiveness of various Lebanese industry sectors relative to each other, the present study is the first to analyze the Lebanese ICT sector with a high degree of granularity. The study covers the following ICT subsectors: ad tech, consumer Internet, e-commerce, e-government, e-learning, financial and e-payment solutions, enterprise software, gaming, healthcare, biotech, infrastructure, media streaming, semiconductors, small hardware products, telecom services, telemarketing and call centers, and value-added services.


    The report is divided into four sections:


    Section 1 is an overview of the global and regional market trends in ICT.

    Section 2 outlines the factors that enable the success of the various subsectors. Factors considered are education and skills, infrastructure, legal framework, capital, and synergies with other markets and industries.

    Section 3 presents Lebanon's current capabilities along several key dimensions, including the enabling factors listed in Section 2.

    Section 4 culminates with recommendations regarding the strategic ICT subsectors that could provide Lebanon with a competitive advantage.


    The report is available for download from LFE’s website here.


  • 16 Nov 2015 10:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear TechWadi Board and friends, 

    Hope you are all well. 

    I wanted to share some news and thank you all for being role models, supporters, champions, mentors and friends for me over the years. I am grateful.  

    Last week, I was awarded the Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Award for Technology for our work on emotion sensing tech and digital empathy (which we really really need more of in our world!). Every year, the awards honor 12 people across nine categories, including technology, performing arts, visual arts, natural sciences, physical sciences, education, history, social progress and youth achievement. The selection process is quite intense and super selective. 

    The awards ceremony was last Thursday at the National Portrait Gallery, DC. It was like the Oscars for Geeks ;) The venue is the first home to all of the US patents and also where Lincoln had his 2nd inauguration speech. The event included an INSPIRING roster of people, including Megan Smith, CTO of the US Gov, Bill Nye and Adam Steltzner, who led NASA's Curiosity mission to MARS as well as Bill Haidar of SNL and others. 

    My mom was able to attend all the way from Abu Dhabi, as well as my kids Jana and Adam - who had a blast taking selfies with all the celebrities! 

    For my acceptance speech, I was asked to talk about being an Arab, Muslim woman immigrant and my experience going from academia to business in the US. 

    I hope this is a bright example of what we as Arabs and/or Muslims stand for - and combats the unfortunate image that extremists portray of our region of the world. 


    Smithsonian Magazine feature article



    Inline image 1Inline image 2

  • 05 Nov 2015 12:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) Announces Second Close of Middle East Venture Fund II (MEVF II) at more than US$30 Million

    (Left to Right: Walid Hanna, Managing Partner – Ihsan Jawad, Managing Partner)
    • With this latest fundraising, MEVP’s total AUM has increased to US$120 Million, establishing the firm as the largest independent VC in MENA
    • MEVF II offers regional start-ups Series A funding between US$500 Thousand and US$3 Million
    • The Fund focuses on early stage web and mobile businesses in the region
    • The Fund’s valuable investor base includes a regional bank, blue chip GCC-based investors, media people as well as a regional telecom operator
    • MEVF II is already operational and has executed nine ventures across the GCC and wider MENA region
    November 4, 2015 – Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) announced today the second close of Middle East Venture Fund II (MEVF II) at more than US$30 Million. MEVF II is a venture capital fund that invests in the region’s early stage technology and mobile businesses. The Fund is MEVP’s fourth venture capital (VC) fund, increasing the firm’s total Assets Under Management (AUM) to US$120 Million, and establishing the firm as one of the largest institutional VC investors in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.
    MEVP has successfully achieved its US$30 Million fundraising target for MEVFII. The Fund is currently oversubscribed but MEVFII might accept further subscriptions in the upcoming two weeks. The Fund, already operational with nine ventures executed across the region, will pursue its investment strategy in the GCC and wider MENA region, with a particular focus on technology ventures in the UAE.
    Walid Hanna, Managing Partner of MEVP said:
    “With the high growth of smartphone users and e-commerce, the GCC and wider MENA region has become a breeding ground for technology start-ups that require early-stage investments toallow them to grow, succeed and create sustainable businesses. We are particularly excited by transactions in the web, mobile, and digital marketplaces across the region.” 
    Ihsan Jawad, Managing Partner of MEVP added:
    “Collectively, the principals of MEVP bring a wide experience from the financial and technology sectors. We are active investors and entrepreneurs who have years of both investment and operational experience, in creating, building and exiting successful companies.” 
    Middle East Venture Fund II (MEVF II) is leveraging MEVP’s extensive regional network to generate a flow of high quality deals and accelerate the value creation of the portfolio companies by assisting them in hiring the right talent and acquiring the needed resources to reach their full potential.  
    Since inception, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) has invested in 28 companies – most of which are MENA market leaders, and has created more than 900 jobs in the region. MEVP completed its first exit in December 2014 when its portfolio company, the region’s leading user-generated Arab food recipes website/app, was acquired by the billion-dollar publicly-traded Japanese firm Cookpad in a transaction that yielded a 130% IRR.
    - Ends –
    For further enquires contact: 
    Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)
    Walid Hanna
    +971 (0) 50 876 6230
    FTI Consulting
    Manash Bhuyan
    +971 (0) 50 841 9631
    Notes to Editors:
    About Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)
    MEVP is a regionally focused venture capital firm that invests in the early and growth stages of innovative companies run by talented entrepreneurs primarily in the GCC and MENA Region.
    With offices in Beirut, Dubai and Silicon Valley, and with Assets Under Management of US$120 Million in 4 funds, 28 portfolio companies, and a staff of 16 professionals, MEVP is the pioneer, most established and one of the largest and most active venture capital firm in the MENA region.
    MEVP has a unique combination of backgrounds and expertise that allows it to partner with innovative entrepreneurs and help them grow and develop, especially in their early stages. For more information about MEVP, please visit
    About Middle East Venture Fund II (MEVF II)
    Middle East Venture Fund II (MEVF II) is a $30M+ venture capital fund which invests in the region’s technology and mobile businesses across the GCC and wider MENA region, with a particular focus on the UAE. The Fund is already operational and has executed investments in the following nine ventures:
    • Anghami ( The leading entertainment platform -web and mobile- in the MENA region  
    • The Luxury Closet ( Fast growing online marketplace that sells pre‐owned luxury items  
    • Lamsa ( Lamsa is an interactive Arabic digital library tailored for children aged 3 to 7  
    • Online marketplace specialising in digital gift cards in the Middle East  
    • Altibbi ( The Middle East’s leading digital medical content platform 
    • RoundMenu ( The only Arabic web and mobile restaurant discovery platform with restaurant delivery services  
    • Shedul ( Shedul is a SaaS management platform and marketplace for the beauty and health industry  
    • FishFishMe ( Online marketplace for water activities (fishing, boat cruises, etc.)  
    • MENACommerce ( MENACommerce is a big data analytics platform for the retail market
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