Tag Archives: mena

Google names new Managing Director for MENA region

Google has revealed that Lino Cattaruzzi has been designated as Managing Director for the Middle East and North Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in the tech industry. Formerly he commanded the Google business in Mexico as Country Director. Beforehand he did that in Argentina too. He also led the global sales strategy team for online media solutions at Google’s headquarters in California, and was responsible for the online sales in Germany, Switzerland and Austria while based out of Dublin.

In his new role in Dubai office, Lino Cattaruzzi will carry on the efforts to let local business partners scale growth online and involve with consumers, as well as support broader digital ecosystem via scalable programs and initiatives. Since Google set up its presence in MENA region 8 years ago, a momentous strains went in successfully enhancing the broad adoption of digital throughout large and small businesses in the Middle East and North Africa.

MENA startups you need to know

Recently in Bahrain took place the MENA Angel Investor Summit 2016, which is one of the largest meetings of venture capitalists, angel investors, accelerators, angel investment organizations and entrepreneurs. The event’s purpose is to build a strong supportive and sustainable start-up ecosystem and grow the angel investment community in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Since the first Summit in 2010, over 1000 regional and international investors have been able to connect with around 150 high-potential innovative entrepreneurs from the region. This has resulted in USD 6 million investments. This year gave a chance to over 30 promising start-ups. Most of them had a competitive edge with regional and global appeal. Below we present 5 most interesting ones.

GetBaqala – It comes from Bahrain. It aims to make grocery shopping fast, simple and convenient. It is an m-commerce platform, which enables people to purchase daily needs and groceries from their neighborhood magazines and then brings the products to their doorstep within 2 hours. The goal is to make local shopping experience easy and pleasant for buyers thanks to connecting them to their trusted merchants from their neighborhood via a mobile app. The startup plans to reach 300 orders daily by December 2017.

myU – It comes from Kuwait. It is an app for school communication. In each school it works as intranet social network of pupils, faculty members, clubs and organizations. The tool makes it easy to communicate in real-time with anyone in the school community. It can be used if a teacher wants to announce something to his pupils, or when a school organization wants to promote its events and activities, or when a pupil wants to ask about an exam date. The startup has more than 60,000 users and over 1,000 educators. In 2016 it reached revenues of $75,000.

Masmoo3 – It comes from Jordan. It is an online platform, which produces and publishes Arabic Audiobooks. It offers Arabic speakers a digital library of Arabic audiobooks. They are accessible using the internet download and smartphones apps. The aim is to provide Arabic speakers with luxury of listening to books while practicing everyday activities like driving, walking, playing sports, and relaxing.

Elmuda– It comes from Jordan. It is the Middle East’s premier online luxury fashion store. The online platform connects modern women with more than 150 brands around the world, where they can buy unique products from London to LA, Berlin to Bucharest, Paris to Milan.

Kotobna – It comes from Egypt. It is the first online self-publishing platform in Arab world. The startup enables young Arab authors to publish, promote and monetize their work via website and mobile app. In half a year there were published 200 e-books, which were downloaded 11,000 times.

European accelerator Startupbootcamp opens in Istanbul for MENA region

With the latest news in January, we have a valuable addition coming from the west to the east – EarlyBird, the known venture capital from Berlin directed $130 million to support startups from Central and Eastern Europe. This will be done through the opening of Startupbootcamp Istanbul.

This already formal accelerator will be working on a 3 month program in which it mentors, funds, houses and showcases early startups. The applications are officially open until the end of March, and teams can apply no matter where are they from.

If chosen, startups start their program in June and for only 8% of their equity they are funded by €15,000, 4 months office space and a mentorship program valued at over €250k.

Startupbootcamp Istanbul will also work on a more coworking concept model, by spanning over two floors, open office space and a coffee shop at the lobby.

With this very important investment in startups Turkey will become one of the key areas in the SEEMEA region.