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Issue no 7. Winter 2015

The Power of The Industrial Internet Optimization Through Big Data

The State of Tech Investment in MENA

The Islamic Digital Economy Massive Opportunities to Look Out For

Social Customer Service Best Practices and Tips


letter from the editor

A Silver Lining I still remember the day I received the email congratulating my two friends and I for being selected for round 2 of the MITEF Arab Business Plan Competition. It was on the eve of February 2, 2012. We did not have a startup. We did not have a proof of concept. We weren’t even entrepreneurs. All we had was an idea, good writing skills, and good analysis. Being selected was the least thing we expected, and for the next week, we were grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Lara Chaaya Managing Editor

@ChaayaLara lara@arabnet.me

We travelled to the UAE for the workshop and met with the other 49 contestants. It was my first encounter with key players of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. I was amazed by the caliber of the entrepreneurs and the impressive startups they have launched. Hind Hobeika of Instabeat – back then it was called Butterfleye—and Mustafa Nabulsi of Acadox are among the few names who soon after the competition made headlines with their successful fund raising. During the workshop, I met with one entrepreneur whose eyes did not sparkle with anticipation and aggressiveness like the other contestants. I soon learned he was not part of the competition, but was attending the workshop for self-improvement. He told me his story and how hard his life has been living as an entrepreneur while being a father of two little girls. He said there were times when he had less than $15 USD to survive the rest of the week. He launched an e-learning company a few years back, and although his startup had clients and a competent product, finding investors was taking a toll on his life and his pocket. “You’re more likely to win the lottery,” he said with a disappointed shrug. Back then, there were less than 25 known investors and thousands of starving entrepreneurs. Fast forward to 2015. I was waiting for a call from my friend to tell me the news. For the past month, he has been having one investor after the next come visit his office in Saudi Arabia. And today, he was meeting with one of these investors to seal the deal. My phone rings, and I shriek with happiness. They have an agreement. What finally turned the table for my friend was not an internal change. It was very much external—the supply has increased, from 25 to 51. If you want to know how this translates into dollar values, flip to page 40 and check out our new report on the state of tech investment in MENA. The numbers are impressive. The region is exhausted from the political turmoil ravaging its economies, but there is a silver lining. Governments are stepping in, and so are private sector corporations, to help the laborious Arab entrepreneurs make a change. The winter issue of The Quarterly sheds light on this changing force and the massive opportunity in the region. It also explores the new digitized resources available for our use. Find out how industrial internet can boost productivity, how social media can help you attract and retain customers when used as a customer service tool, and much more. Enjoy the last issue of 2015!


CONTENT issue 7 Useful Apps for Transportation A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA Industry stories

4

Industry News

BUSINESS

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The Roadmap to Smart Dubai

TECHNOLOGY

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16

2

24 Integrated Industrial Internet Solutions for Optimization and Innovation

A Closer Look at How GE Uses Industrial Internet to Create Value

The QuarteRly Winter 2015

Opportunities in the Global Islamic Digital Economy

Understanding Key Sectors, Players, and Consumer Trends


ENTREPRENEURSHIP

DIGITAL MEDIA

30

38

42 The State of Tech

Social Media as a Powerful Customer Service Tool

Investment in MENA

Great Tips from Leaders in the Industry

An Overview of MENA Health Apps

The Real Value of Digital Investments

58

We Ask the Entrepreneurs Arab Startups Grab Opportunities What Is Your in the Healthcare Sector

Advice for Successful Business Development?

What Is Your Advice for Successful Business Development?

We Ask the Entrepreneurs

62

New Middle East Startups that Should Be on Your Radar

NEW

MIDDLE EAST STARTUPS that should be on your radar

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Industry stories

Useful Apps for Transportation

Industry News

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

Washmen Digital Laundry Service Gets $400,000 Investment Washmen, a UAE-based laundry and dry cleaning app, has received $400,000 in seed funding from Ali Dayekh, a Saudi angel investor. The service picks up and delivers laundry to customers’ door, at their convenience. The startup is a graduate of Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi. After it launched its app in September 2015, it has been seeing consistent double digit growth week-on-week, with a 90% customer return rate. Washmen plans to use the investment to further develop its service. In 2015, 2 other digital laundry services were launched in the UAE: GetLaundry and Washplus. Both these services operate based on a similar model to Washmen, and Washplus offers its customers the possibility of tracking their laundry. The first such business in the UAE was Laundrybox, established in 2012. So far, the startup has raised $1.3 million from private investors, and another $1.4 million from Al Zarooni Emirates Investments (ZEI). Laundrybox proposes smart lockers for laundry pickups and dropoffs, and currently serves 7,000 customers.

Uber Invests $250M to Expand in MENA...

... And Careem Continues Growth with $60M Investment

Uber is investing $250 million to expand in new cities in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and enter Pakistan. The Investment will serve to hire drivers, increase staff headcount, and enhance the Uber app. Uber currently has a valuation of more than $50 billion. The service launched its MENA operations 2 years ago, and now covers 9 countries via its Dubai regional office: Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco, and the UAE. According to a spokesperson from Uber, the region has some of the fastest-growing markets for the service. Since May 2015, the number of drivers in Cairo (Egypt) has multiplied by six – around 40% of the new drivers were previously unemployed, according to Uber sources. In Saudi Arabia, where women aren’t allowed to drive, women make up more than 70% of passengers. The company also plans to introduce the “UberPool” service in the region, which would allow passengers to share a car to the same destination. In Q3 2015, the San Francisco-based company began a pilot project allowing cash payments in Riyadh and Jeddah, responding to user requests for more options beyond credit cards.

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Careem has raised $60 million in a Series C investment led by the Abraaj Group. The car service will use the investment to accelerate market expansion and innovation in the MENA and Pakistan. In December 2014, Careem had raised $11.7 million from Al Tayyar Travel Group, STC Ventures, Beco Capital, Impulse (a subsidiary of Kuwait Investment Authority), Lumia Capital, Wamda Capital, and other investors. Founded in Dubai in 2012, Careem currently operates in more MENA cities than Uber (20 cities from Morocco to Pakistan). In the past three years, the company witnessed 30% growth monthon-month in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. It recently acquired the Taxiii cab company in Morocco, and the home delivery service, Enwani, in Saudi Arabia. Since credit card penetration in the region is still low, Careem is also working on “Careem Cash”, an alternative to credit cards and COD.


Industry stories

Useful Apps for Transportation mrUsta Secures $350K Seed Investment, Next Stop KSA

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

mrUsta, the UAE’s marketplace for home services (maintenance services related to plumbing, electricity, HVAC, painting, masonry, cleaning, etc.), received a seed funding of $350,000 through a round led by VC investor Amjad Ahmad (former CEO of NBK Capital Partners). Finding service providers that respond quickly and efficiently can be difficult in the UAE, especially for expats who are not familiar with the local businesses and their practices. mrUsta makes finding service providers in the UAE faster and more efficient “by providing a marketplace that is easy to use, highly transparent, and effective,” said Ibrahim Colak, founder and CEO. With less than 15% of SMEs in the UAE online, mrUsta also gives these service providers more exposure and a higher probability of attracting clients. For now, the platform is free to use for both clients and service providers, but it could eventually charge a nominal fee for every customer conversion. Since it was launched in January 2014, mrUsta has reached 10,000 monthly client, and includes over 4,000 service providers, covering around 200 categories (including plumbing, cleaning, electronic repairs, and more). mrUsta is currently working on an Arabic version of its website, while increasing spending on marketing and on growing its database and traffic. Colak said they will use the investment to improve their service and expand in Saudi Arabia. The company is also planning to introduce Apple and Android apps soon, since more than 2/3 of the calls it receives are via mobile.

Yaoota Leads Egyptian Startups’ Race for VC Funding

Egypt’s price comparison site, Yaoota. com, has received a Series A investment worth $2.7 million from the UAE-based Khalifa bin Butti Bin Omeir (KBBO) private investment group – the largest foreign investment to date in an Egyptian startup. KBBO Group plans to invest $2 billion in key sectors of the Egyptian economy. Additional investments are expected by year-end as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have pledged $12 billion of investments and central bank deposits for Egypt, and private foreign investors are also finding their way back to Cairo. Yaoota.com will use the investment to scale its technology and grow its database. Expansion into the UAE is also a possibility. Launched in June 2014, the site currently has 100,000 visitors per month, and is witnessing growing interest from merchants who could benefit from its valuable analytics.

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Mini Exchange Goes “Maxi” with $1M Investment

Mini Exchange, the award-winning online marketplace for kids’ clothing and accessories, and one of ArabNet’s favorite startups, has just raised $1 million in seed funding from angel investors in the Middle East and Europe. Initially, Mini Exchange was addressed to individual users only, and started off with as few as 500 secondhand items on sale. However, boutiques soon expressed a strong interest in having their items featured on the site as well. Today, the site offers more than 30,000 items from over 250 international retailers. The marketplace provides a strong online presence for MENA retailers in the e-commerce market expected to be worth $10 billion by 2020. On the other hand, it gives international retailers a specialized foothold in the UAE market, introducing previously unavailable brands to customers in the region. Mini Exchange had won third place in the Startup Demo Competition at the ArabNet Beirut 2014 conference. The marketplace’s founder, Sarah Jones, was also named Small Business CEO of the Year at the 2014 CEO Middle East Awards. In January this year, Mini Exchange was selected as the GCCbased startup for the 10th edition of the Google Blackbox Connect program in Silicon Valley.


Industry stories

Useful Apps for Transportation BECO Capital Publishes List of MENA VCs, Predicts Mega Exits in 2019

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

BECO Capital has published a list of the 109 players in the MENA’s VC ecosystem, arranging them in a format based on the periodic table of elements (a table of chemical elements arranged by order of their atomic number). VC players include regional and international firms, VC businesses by regional conglomerates, tech acquirers, angel investors, incubators/accelerators, angel groups, and micro VCs. According to Dany Farha, CEO of BECO Capital, the region will start to reap the benefits of these long-term investments by 2019 and start witnessing mega exits, including the region’s first “unicorns” (tech companies expected to break the $1 billion valuation ceiling). Currently, VC players are seeking to deploy the $150 million remaining from the $250 million they raised over the past 3 years.

Saudi Royal Family Invests in JetSmarter, the “Uber for Private Jets JetSmarter, a mobile marketplace for travelers to book private jet flights, has raised $20 million from a group of influential investors including members of the Saudi Royal Family, a London-based private equity fund, and a group of high-net-worth Individuals and family offices, including top C-level executives from companies such as Goldman Sachs and Twitter. The company will use the investment to support expansion plans and technology upgrades. The “appification” of the service has streamlined it and made it more accessible, allowing users to book their flight themselves easily and rapidly. Members also benefit from free daily flights (up to 4,000 free flights each month), wholesale charter pricing, access to exclusive events, and concierge service. Since its launch in 2013, JetSmarter has seen 15%-20% growth each month. The app has been downloaded +300,000 times to date. In 2014, the company’s revenues grew by over 1,000%. It is currently partnered with Deutsche Bank and 800 air carriers, with a capacity of around 3,200 jets. The company had first raised $1 million in a seed round in 2012, followed by $5.2 million in a Series A round from the Saudi Royal Family and international investors.

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15 Startups Fly to London with UK Lebanon Tech Hub

Silicon Valley Meets 8 Promising Startups from MENA, Turkey

UK Lebanon Tech Hub has announced the 15 finalists of its first International Accelerator Program. The startups will undergo training and mentoring for 6 months in London, and will benefit from financial support to develop their businesses or ideas. They will also be introduced to an international network of partners and investors to apply for additional funding. The finalists included: hardware startups like CardioDiagnostics (a heart monitoring device), Sensio Air (a detector of harmful particles in air), Slighter (a device that helps smokers reduce smoking), and Roadie Tuner (a mobile-supported tuner for string instruments); online marketplaces like Brate, Thatsoyoo, and SLIDR; game development studios like Game Cooks; software solutions like Infosysta and Skoolee (administrative tools for law firms and schools, respectively), and Markelligent (a client communication solution for businesses); social platforms like Tourist Tube and Parentville; Transterra Media (a digital news marketplace); and Keeward, an accelerator for technology and media projects. UK Lebanon Tech Hub is a joint initiative by the UK government’s Trade and Investment department and the Lebanese Central Bank (BDL).

8 handpicked companies from the region (7 from the Arab World and 1 guest company from Turkey) took part in the second edition of the “Arab World Meets Silicon Valley” program in San Francisco,, organized by MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) – Pan Arab region. The startups included: Alotech (Turkey), a cloud-based call center service; Altibbi ( Jordan), the Arab world’s largest medical reference portal; CashBasha ( Jordan), a COD payment service integrated with Amazon; Kamkalima (Lebanon), an Arabic platform for educational technology tools; ScreenDY (Morocco), a code-free app creation solution; Skyjunxion (Lebanon), a cloud-based business travel management system for enterprises; UTURN Entertainment (Saudi Arabia), a publisher of Arabic video content; Reveel (Egypt), a patentpending analytics tool. The startups explored strategic partnerships, fundraising opportunities, and possible expansion in US markets. Participants were also featured in the Arab Pavilion at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, and participated in the TechWadi Annual Forum.

Digital Self-Ordering Kiosks Come to McDonald’s UAE

MacDonald’s branches in the UAE now propose a new service that gives customers the possibility of designing their own burgers, via digital, in-branch stations. The fast food chain had started introducing the “Create Your Taste” concept in different locations worldwide this summer. Contrary to what one might think, this does not evoke a vending machine service. Instead, combining fast food and digitalization aims at effectively enhancing patrons’ experience. All items on the menu are basically the same, but customers can design their own burger with a wider choice of bun, toppings, and sauces, by tapping on a tablet-like interface. It’s like ordering a sandwich from Subway, but with a digital twist. Afterwards, a staff member delivers customers’ orders directly to their table, using a GPS-supported locator. In addition, orders are branded entirely differently from regular over-the-counter meal trays: burgers are presented open-faced on a wooden tray, and fries come in a stainless wire basket. ”Create Your Taste” was first introduced in McDonald’s Ghurair Centre branch, and will be rolled out in selected other branches gradually. Faced with growing competition, the fast food chain is introducing innovations in different markets. For instance, its Swedish franchise is has started taking reservations and providing table service at dinner time.

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Industry stories

Useful Apps for Transportation BECO Capital Makes First E-Commerce Investment: A Round-Up $4M of in JadoPado Taxi-Booking Apps

Private Chef Booking Platform Adds

for Residents Beirut to Its Global in MENA Locations

Regional VC firm BECO Capital has bought a minority equity stake (14.8%) in the Dubai-based marketplace platform JadoPado for $4 million, placing the platform at a post-money valuation of $28 million. JadoPado had received a first investment of $4 million from Al Bogari Holding in 2012. The platform features over 2,500 sellers from around the world, with more than 60,000 products for sale. JadoPado will use the investment to grow and expand in the Middle East and other emerging markets, particularly in Saudi Arabia (its second largest source of traffic after the UAE). Omar Kassem, CEO at JadoPado, said they aim to have 20,000 sellers and 200,000-250,000 products within 18 months. He added that the marketplace will also start offering COD payment options. E-commerce constitutes less than 1% of the GCC retail market (estimated at $250-$275 billion) but Kassem expects this to grow to 8%-10% by 2020. JadoPado helps retailers become global e-stores rapidly and easily, enabling them to promote items and track sales.

ChefXChange, an innovative platform that allows foodies to book private chefs, launched its Lebanese chapter in October 2015. The service is already present in Dubai, followed by Washington DC and London. Over 300 chefs have signed up for the platform (including 15 Lebanese ones), proposing different cuisines: European, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, etc. The platform also hosts a food and nutrition blog. Last year, co-founders Karl Naïm and Marc Washington bootstrapped the platform with approximately $40,000 each. After graduating from the DIG EAT ALL’s food-and-technology accelerator program in Spain, they closed a $500,000 Seed round from private and angel investors in December 2014. The startup has been growing steadily and had more business in September 2015 than in the previous two months combined. To date, 700 meals were booked through the platform, with Dubai accounting for 80% of all bookings. ChefXChange aims to raise around $2 million in a Series A round, and is contemplating expansion in the Far East or Latin America.

World’s Largest Medical Travel Platform Comes to UAE Medigo, a Berlin-based global platform that connects patients to high-quality medical care worldwide, will open an office in Dubai by end-2015. The company already serves local users since end-2014, connecting them to care centers in the MENA and overseas. It also connects international patients to medical care in the region. According to COO Pawel Cebula, the decision was prompted by the growing volume of patients. The platform’s hospital and clinic network in the MENA currently comprises 20 facilities in the UAE, and is expected to include 40-50 new facilities in the coming months. MEDIGO is the largest full-service, online, one-stop-shop platform with over 500 international clinics and hospitals, offering patients more than 900 procedures in 35 medical specialties. It also provides comprehensive medical travel coordination and management for both individual patients and organizations anywhere in the world. In December 2014, the company secured $6.2 million in a Series A investment round led by Accel Partners, which included other prominent investors such as LVMH, a global luxury conglomerate. The website has 60,000 unique monthly visitors, and is growing at a monthly rate of about 15%. Patient volumes have been consistently doubling quarter-on-quarter. MEDIGO has already connected over 15,000 patients from 178 countries with hospitals or clinics. The company has also generated interest amongst various corporate and governmental organizations that manage healthcare for large groups of patients.

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TECHNOLOGY

Useful Apps for Transportation A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

T

he Industrial Internet already has a firm foothold in many heavy industries, even though most companies do not call it by its name yet. For now, industries are probably more familiar with terms like Automation, Big Data, the Internet of Things, and Analytics. An estimated 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years, and the amount of information created by businesses is doubling every 1.2 years. In parallel, the dropping cost of hardware and connectivity tools means that devices and people will be more connected than ever. The seamless integration of hardware, software, people, and data will introduce enterprise-wide – and industry-wide – systems for optimizing processes (increased efficiency and reduced costs) and targeting new markets with innovation and competitiveness. Conservative forecasts by Wikibon

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estimate that worldwide spending on the Industrial Internet could reach $500 billion by 2020, and possibly represent $15 trillion of global GDP by 2030. Read on to find out what the hype around the Industrial Internet is all about:

The Ingredients for Optimization and Innovation The Industrial Internet’s evolution is being driven by advances in both hardware and software, promising momentous shifts over the next 10 years. The ingredients of Industrial Internet are as follows: 1. Big Data: Big Data analytics is the foundation of the Industrial Internet. It is the ability to add sensors and data collection mechanisms to industrial equipment. Increasing digitization creates more data. This data can be used for decision-making and holds more

potential business value than other types of Big Data associated with social media, consumer Internet, and other sources. 2. The Internet of Things (IoT): Smaller, cheaper, and smarter sensors are being introduced– in homes, clothes and accessories, cities, transport and energy networks, as well as manufacturing processes. The Internet of Things supplies even more data about equipment, products, factories, supply chains, etc. 3. Computing, communications, and storage: Increased storage capacity, coupled with the continued rapid decline in the size and cost of computing and connectivity technologies is driving an exponential growth in the potential to access and leverage the internet. 4. Analytics: The growing ability to mine and analyze data will provide better


insights into the status of equipment and the need for maintenance, i.e. Asset Performance Management (APM). The sum total of these components produces the Industrial Internet. In other words, the Industrial Internet integrates the physical and digital worlds. It enables companies to use sensors, software, machine-to-machine learning, and other technologies to gather and analyze data from physical objects or other large data streams. This is set to redefine business interfaces and the way businesses operate – particularly heavy industries – not only on the B-to-C level, but also on the B-to-B one.

Acquiring a Competitive Edge with Big Data

The impact of the Industrial Internet can be felt at an industry level as well as a competitor level. The immediate payoff for companies in all industries is

optimization and innovation (the ability to design new value-added services). Tipping Points in the Industrial Internet Evolution

· 2018: 90% of people will have free unlimited storage (advertisingsupported)

· 2022: 1 trillion sensors will be connected to the internet

· 2023: The birth of the first

government to replace its census with Big Data sources

· 2024: 90% of the world population will have regular access to the internet

Source: World Economic Forum Report: Deep Shift – Technology Tipping Points and Societal Impacts

This is especially significant in these 8 main verticals: Aviation; Oil & Gas; Transportation; Power Generation and Distribution; Manufacturing; Healthcare; and Mining. Global and large-scale industrial companies in these verticals have already recognized the potential power and source of value of the Industrial Internet, according to new research from GE and Accenture. Across surveyed industries, 80% to 90% of companies indicated that Big Data analytics is either their top priority or one of the top three. 73% of companies are already investing more than 20% of their overall technology budget on Big Data analytics, and more than 2 in 10 companies are investing more than 30%, with this spending expected to increase just in the next year (See Figure 1). By implementing Industrial Internet solutions based on Big Data analytics, companies will finally be able to move

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TECHNOLOGY

Useful AppsThefor Transportation Roadmap to Data management itself will be a

from a reactive stance and automationbased savings into intelligence and value creation. The low-hanging fruits for industrial companies include leveraging analytics to optimize assets and operations, boosting productivity by up to 30%. Notably, the benefits of monitoring and analyzing machine sensor data include predictive maintenance, which can save around 12% on repair costs, and reduce breakdowns by up to 70%. This also opens the door to true innovation in the form of new, value-added services. In turn, this will give companies a competitive edge as a key differentiation strategy with clients, investors, and the media. Most companies are at a very early stage of adoption, but they are actively positioning themselves for this era and have ambitious plans to increase profitability, gain a competitive advantage, and improve environmental safety. One of the very early stages in the Big Data maturity curve consists of connecting operating assets and performing monitoring and problem diagnosis. This is where most companies’ capabilities lie today (See Figure 2) and it is essential to the next level of maturity: developing predictive models and reaching optimization. As they move up the maturity curve, companies can advance to more value-creating activities.

core skill set and enable scientists to A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking AppsValue for Residents in MENA Creating with

Industrial Industry

examine consolidated datasets to create predictive models.

The toughest challenges for companies in implementing Big Data analytics initiatives include security, barriers to data integration, and talent acquisition. Here are the essential steps that companies need to implement in order to advance their Industrial Internet capabilities and become value creators:

2. Focus on talent acquisition and development When stepping into the area of Big Data Analytics, it is critical nature to source and develop the talent needed to succeed (analyzing data, interpreting results, and gathering and consolidating disparate data). Another option is to partner with organizations such as universities to groom the talent needed. When it comes to retaining talent for augmenting internal skills, industry knowledge is seen as key to success, exceeding analytics talent alone. However, those who hold both industry knowledge and analytics skills will predictably be preferred by most industrial companies.

1. Break down the barriers to data integration Relatively few companies have adopted Big Data analytics across the board. The majority of companies focus on Big Data analytics initiatives in a single operations area or in multiple but disparate areas. This results in unconnected (i.e. inefficient) capabilities that create system barriers between departments, preventing collection and correlation of data, and limiting returns. New technologies such as data lakes, combined with Industrial Internet capabilities, would enable operators to channel sensor data from various networked machines onto a single platform. From there, massively parallel processing capabilities would analyze the data as a unified whole for maximum impact, rather than as separate bits of information.

3. Consider new business models Increasing digitization in industries is driving companies from productbased to service-based offerings. As they seek to move up the maturity curve of Industrial Internet solutions, companies will have to adopt new business models that leverage their Big Data findings and allow them to

The Importance of Big Data Analytics for Companies (Relative to Other Priorities)

Power Generation

31%

Power Distribution

28%

Oil & Gas

31%

Top Priority

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16%

56%

9% 47%

Within the Top 5 Priorities

10%

45% 55%

24%

3%

6%

56%

42%

Manufacturing

6%

63%

40%

Rail

Mining

45%

45%

Wind

10%

29%

Within the top 3 Priorities

9% 18% Not a Priority

3% 3% 3% 3%

Figure 1. Source: Industrial Internet Insights Report 2015 – GE & Accenture

61%

Aviation


• Assessing risks and consequences:

5. Leverage mobile technology to deliver analytic insights Instead of being exploited to its full potential, most data collected by companies today is stockpiled in “silos” with limited access or complicated interaction protocols. The growing size and relevance of data and analytics requires new delivery channels and user interfaces better suited to “connected” workers and technicians in the industrial space. Traditional deskbased interfaces need to be switched to mobile or hands-free (sometimes eyes-free) interaction paradigms. At the human scale, reactive, standardized workflows will need to become anticipatory and adaptive in order for the Industrial Internet to reach its full potential.

target new customer demographics. Shifting perceptions are moving from seeing Big Data as a proprietary tool or by-product, to considering it a full-fledged product-service hybrid – an intelligent physical good capable of producing data. Hybrid business models will have to accommodate both operational efficiency and recurring income streams from new digital services. Companies also need to consider tomorrow’s partner ecosystem and work with partners and suppliers to create and deliver these services and reach potential new customers. 4. Actively manage regulatory risk Industrial companies experience myriad regulatory requirements around safer operations, better emissions controls and more effective use of resources such as water. Companies can leverage the capabilities of Big Data to help proactively manage their operating environment and risk profile in order to meet or exceed regulatory compliance. New compliance models need to leverage the historical records of machine data, and harvest diagnostic data from wide-reaching systems to identify or predict equipment failures early on or before they occur.

Using experts to evaluate and fully understand vulnerabilities and regulations to prioritize the security budget and plan.

• Developing objectives and

goals: Setting plans to address the most important systems with the biggest, most impactful, and immediate risks.

• Enforcing security throughout

the supply chain: Incorporating robustness testing, and requiring security certifications in the procurement process to ensure vendor alignment.

• Utilizing mitigation devices

designed specifically for Industrial Control Systems (ICS): Ensuring ICS-specific protections against industrial vulnerabilities and exploits on the operational technology side.

6. Invest in end-to-end security Technology enablers in the Industrial Internet (such as Cloud, Mobility, Big Data, and Analytics) can be game-changers for companies, but they can also expose them to security risks in the form of cyber-attacks and data leaks on the company-wide level, as well as malfunctions in their operational technology environment. Current best practices to avoid this include:

• Establishing strong corporate

buy-in and governance: Aligning internal champions (technical experts, decision-makers and C-level executives) to ensure the funding and execution of these best practices.n

Big Data Analytics Capabilities in Companies (Average)

18%

19% 16% 13%

Connect

Monitor

Analyze

Predict

Optimize

Winter 2015 The QuarteRly

Figure 2. Source: Industrial Internet Insights Report 2015 – GE & Accenture

35%

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TECHNOLOGY

USEFUL Useful APPS Apps FOR for TRANSPORTATION Transportation T

he MENA region is opening AA Round-Up doors to the next leap in growth Round-Up of of Taxi-Booking Taxi-Booking Apps Apps for for Residents Residents in in MENA MENA

A Closer Look at Industrial Internet A Mesh Up of Machines, Data, Analytics, and People with Savings in the Billions

By Rania Rostom | @raniarostom

and productivity by ushering in the new digital industrial economy, and it’s happening at the most opportune time. Faced by the twin challenges of oil price volatility and the increasing local demand for energy to drive infrastructure growth, policy makers and businesses are exploring opportunities for greater productivity and operational efficiency at work. At the heart of the digital industry economy is the transformation of traditional industrial organizations into ‘digital industrial’ companies. This transformation has been brought with the introduction of the Industrial Internet. The Industrial Internet is the “internet of really big things”. We call it the power of one percent. A mere one percent modernization in technology and operations, enabled by the meshing of heavy machinery with advanced analytics, could equate to more than $150 billion dollars saved annually for industries like energy, transportation, and healthcare. To put it in simpler words: Industrial Internet achieves unprecedented levels of productivity by connecting machines, big data, analytics, and people. This meshing of advanced industrial technology with big data analytics allows companies to provide cutting edge solutions and advanced technical products more efficiently. The Benefits of Industrial Internet From aviation to energy to healthcare to transportation, Industrial Internet helps customers on a journey to: Get Connected by enabling smarter operators with visibility into operations anytime, anywhere to initiate immediate action and understand performance at every level; Get Insights by pre-empting empts issues through predictive maintenance to avoid problems before they happen; and Get Optimized by improving maintenance operations and asset utilization for less downtime, increased production and lower risk. Today, the technologies that were leveraged to address the needs of people are becoming increasingly challenged. The demand for power, even in energyrich countries with vast reserves of oil

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and gas, is rising exponentially. Power providers are struggling to bridge the demand-supply gap. The decrease in oil revenue led by the current volatilities further limits much-needed investments in mega-power projects. Similarly in the healthcare sector, the need for better medical care at lower costs is increasing, especially led by the increase in medical costs. In aviation, there is a greater call for fuel efficiency and emission reduction, while in cities, ensuring seamless urban mobility continues to be a significant development challenge. Industrial Internet steps in as a facilitator of transformational gains in productivity by drawing on the power of big data and advanced analytics to enhance the operational efficiency of heavy machinery. A more digital hospital means better, faster, more efficient healthcare. By using the Industrial Internet to track and optimize treatment, patient flow, and equipment use in hospitals, a one percent efficiency gain globally could yield more than $63 billion in health care savings. A more digital rail system means freight is delivered faster and at lower cost. If improved by one percent, this could yield another gain of $27 billion in fuel savings across the worldwide rail networks. A more digital oil field means better asset management and more productivity at every well. A one percent improvement in capital utilization upstream oil and gas exploration and development could total $90 billion in avoided or deferred capital expenditures. Rooted in the success of all of these industrial use cases are high performing machines and equipment working seamlessly together to prevent unplanned downtime – what we refer to as Asset Performance Management (APM). Implementing Industrial Internet in Companies: the Case of GE The initial investment required to set up Industrial Internet in companies depends on many factors, one being the size of the company. For instance, GE has made a $1 billion investment in the Industrial Internet. Today, an industrial company has

to be a software company in order to thrive. GE has more than 14K+ software professionals around the world working to optimize industrial asset performance and industrial operations. There has been an unmet industry need for cloud service providers to deliver a platform that supports the scale and unique requirements of industrial data. GE’s Industrial Internet applications and solutions are powered by Predix, a cloudbased operating system built exclusively for industry. It tells companies what’s going on across a network of connected machines, whether something’s wrong, and what they can do about it before it affects operations. Is the MENA Region Ready for Industrial Internet? Actually, yes, it is. The GE Global Innovation Barometer Survey that evaluates the views of C-level executives on the innovation landscape, covering several key markets in the MENAT region, points

“Industrial Internet is looking into the future today and realizing the unlocked potential of businesses and organizations.”

Rania Rostom is Chief Innovation Officer at GE in the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey and a coauthor of ‘Mapping the Future of Work in MENAT.’

to the reality that the business community does not see Industrial Internet or Big Data as buzz words. For example, executives in the UAE recognize the value of collaboration with 75% reporting that the revenue generated by collaborative innovation activities has been growing over the last year, higher than the global average of 64%. Compared to a global average of only 52%, over 78% business executives in the UAE also observe that the nation is currently in a new Industrial Revolution era defined by the potential offered by big data integration. Indeed, Industrial Internet is looking into the future today and realizing the unlocked potential of businesses and organizations. It is about ‘being the change’ in today’s fast-changing world. It is a growth opportunity that must not be missed that enables businesses to secure their place in the digital industrial economy. And for developers in the Arab world, this presents an ideal sounding board to focus their efforts on innovations for the industrial world, thus opening a new avenue for growth. What It Means for Countries in the Region? The impact of Industrial Internet is not confined to industries or manufacturing. It has a larger remit in meeting the socioeconomic goals of the region, particularly in promoting job creation, human capital development, and ushering in a culture of localized innovation. It is also a big driver of local entrepreneurship. With the adoption of Industrial Internet, we are driving an innovation-led co-creation model that involves the people, talent, and resources of the local community. It provides opportunities for SMEs to partner with infrastructure megaprojects. By providing tools and solutions for individual workers, companies and governments, the manufacturing process, supply chains and distribution networks are being positively impacted. The creation of local supply chains lead to the democratization of manufacturing and boosting exports- and ultimately helping create training and career opportunities for youth.n

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Useful Apps for Transportation

The Roadmap to Smart Dubai

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

Dubai Paves the Way for the Private Sector to Build the Components of a Smart City By Alexis Baghdadi | @GuerrillaWriter

D

ubai has initiated an ambitious plan to become a wide-scale “smart city.” While other governments are focused on deploying smart government services, Dubai has taken a broader and more comprehensive strategy to build not only the smartest city in the world, but also the happiest and most productive. Dubbed “Smart Dubai,” the future city will be a 24/7 interactive platform providing a comprehensive framework for e-businesses to operate in, as well as providing lean, integrated government services to facilitate both business and private procedures. The stated purpose of this is to improve the quality of life for consumers and make doing business easier for the private sector in the digital age. But first things first:

What Is a Smart City?

Dubai is not the only city implementing smart solutions. The global smart cities market is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2019, according to Transparency Market Research. The US holds the largest share of this market, mostly in the form of smart grids and upgrades in the water and transport infrastructure. However, Dubai is certainly the first to implement smart solutions on such a scale. The city already boasts having the

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The QuarteRly Winter 2015

smartest railway system (with Wi-Fi access and a supporting app), and not only the world’s tallest building, but also the smartest one: Burj Khalifa (in addition to HVAC automated systems, including power-generating elevators, it features biometrics, touch-pad home automation systems, intelligent parking, web-based procurement, and more). But a smart city is more than just the sum of smart services in one location. It is a fully-integrated urban and social ecosystem gathering all aspects of daily life. By definition, a smart city should accommodate smart homes, smart buildings, energy management, intelligent transportation, sustainability, and security. It is supposed to provide a streamlined infrastructure and new-generation services supported by ICT. Finally, smart cities should help reduce CO2 emissions, save energy costs, and utilize natural resources with efficiency. These are all encompassed in Smart Dubai’s 6 pillars: economy, living, government, transportation, environment, and energy.

Won’t You Take Me to Smart City?

Fast-forward to 2017, when the Dubai smart city will be underway. The Dubai government has set this as another milestone towards “Initiative 2021,”

a campaign to make Dubai the “most connected,” “smartest,” and “happiest” city. “Smart Dubai works to foster creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in the city. This is achieved by making government services more efficient, creating platforms for collaboration and facilitating opportunities for investment,” said Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Assistant DirectorGeneral the Executive Office in the Government of Dubai. A smart city does sound like a great place to live in, but what does it involve in concrete terms? The next milestone


Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Assistant Director-General the Executive Office in the Government of Dubai, at the ArabNet Digital Summit 2015

in the Smart Dubai roadmap is a “smart city platform” from which the smart city will take off by mid-2016. The platform is not an end by itself, but aims at putting in place the necessary tools and infrastructures from which to design more efficient, seamless, and safe smart solutions that carry the maximum impact and deliver the best experience. “The purpose of a smart city platform is designed with the public’s interest in mind, especially where it concerns services and distribution of resources,” said Bin Bishr. She explained that the Smart City Platform operates under

4 district layers: an application layer, services enablement, data orchestration, and infrastructure. The application layer involves a city dashboard and user dashboards giving access to data wells via portals and APIs. At the end-user level, this means access to information, as well as the ability to conduct transactions such as renewing business licenses. The services enablement layer is effectively a form of Platform as a Service (PaaS) that guarantees data recollection and transactional activities are conducted safely and efficiently. This primarily requires a strong security governance, as

well as identity management for users, payment protocols, and location tracking. Data orchestration involves the storage and ingestion of data in a centralized source, as well as its presentation in a meaningful way to stakeholders. Finally, the right infrastructure needs to be put in place. This involves cloud storage to enable smart applications, and a common infrastructure for the Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure the compatibility and effectiveness of all connected devices, with the support of a common communication channel. “Each of these layers looks at the frameworks, management, distribution,

Winter 2015 The QuarteRly

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BUSINESS

Useful Apps for Transportation and adoption of city data to facilitate better services, allocation of resources, and experiences for all,” said Bin Bishr. At the onset, the smart city platform will achieve 2 essential prerequisites for a smart city: smart government and open data.

efficiency and increased speed of delivery.

routes, smart street lighting, and overall

are efficient and responsive, meeting the needs to build a city that is efficient, seamless, safe and impactful for all,” said Bin Bishr. Residents will have access to a personal account page through which they will be able to access all their government services through one identification number, eliminating multiple government documents, accounts, and applications. They will also be informed about any updates on transactions, pending procedures, outstanding payments, etc.

developer who didn’t even live in the city created a smartphone app to facilitate residents’ access to the city council’s Ahjo data. Another example inlcudes a product called BlindSquare, a smartphone app that helps blind people navigate the city, supported by smart mapping of city traffic and street lights. Dubai’s Open Data committee was decreed by His Highness Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum in November 2014 to create an open

“We aim for government processes that in MENA safety. In the case of Helsinki, a software A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents

1. Open smart government There are some who still do not grasp the full implications of smart government and confuse it with e-government or m-government. A smart government entails a whole new way of managing government services, explained Mohammed Abdulla AlZaffin, Director of IT, Dubai Municipality. Its predecessor, e-government, was basically about automating processes within each government department. As for m-government, it is simply a channel, not a strategy. “A smart government involves integrated government services with a customer focus,” he said. For example, in Finland the Helsinki city council has a paperless system called Ahjo to document all data (decisions, reports) at council debates. The city recently opened Ahjo’s datasets by building a web-based interface for browsing the documents. This was immediately translated into more transparency and more involvement by citizens in decisions that affect them – and that was only the beginning. Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, Chief Executive Officer, Business Developments & Strategy Sector at the Department of Economic Development, explained that Smart Dubai will effectively be the backbone of communication between different government bodies. “Smart government will cut procedures when it comes to businesses and individuals, which means leaner services,” he said. The challenges of putting in place a smart government included dealing with legacy systems and multiple divided channels. To overcome these challenges, Smart Dubai did an internal assessment of existing frameworks and discovered an opportunity to consolidate resources into a single infrastructure. This helped prevent an overlap and repetition of processes and resources, explained Bin Bishr. The purpose of such a government is to change the way residents interact with state institutions, creating greater

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The "Happiness Meter", one of Dubai's first Smart City initiatives

2. Open data But the differentiating factor in a smart government should be its “openness”. Open data on a city level has great potential applications. In addition to increasing transparency, open data makes it possible for cities to monitor virtually unlimited factors and plan social and economic improvements more effectively. Several US cities (most notably New York) have ushered in innovation by making big data open, then launching competitions to encourage private sector developers to apply it in city-wide solutions such as more effective bus

data strategy, draft the law, and install the roadmap for implementation. By mid-2016, the government of Dubai will implement a law mandating the sharing of information between government departments and the opening of their databases. The added value of such an open data policy will be the government’s receptiveness to new ideas, and its ability to integrate them in its infrastructure to achieve mutual benefits, explained Al Saadi. By opening its big data to private citizens and businesses, the Dubai government will be encouraging innovation and


BUSINESS

Useful Apps for Transportation

facilitating the development and implementation of additional smart services by the private sector.

customer for tech and digital startups to

and clearly defining consumer trends and

on the city-wide level. According to Al Saadi, the Dubai government is expected to issue RFPs (request for proposals) starting mid-2016. Any idea that helps make Dubai a smarter, happier city will be most welcome. The private sector is eventually expected to provide up to 80% of smart services. The Smart Dubai roadmap has outlined around 1,000 services towards its goal of a smart city. So far, all efforts have been focused around 545 current and

“We envision the future of Dubai to be a seamless city enabled by an integrated ecosystem that fosters innovation. The intent is to attract long-term strategic investors and create a world-class economically productive environment that makes it the most competitive destination,” said Bin Bishr.

propose products, services, and solutions in MENA behaviors. A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents

Facilitating Innovation in the Private Sector

So far, the poster child of the smart era has been the private sector – particularly lone-ranger startups in the tech and digital sectors. There is plentiful evidence of that through the popularity of successful sites the likes of Souq.com, Telr, Wally, OLX – Dubizzle, Careem, and Presella, to name a few.

Smart Government and Open Data panel - ArabNet Digital Summit 2015: Marwan Salem Bin Haidar, Executive Director of Planning & Development, Dubai Smart Government Department; Mohammed Abdulla Shael AlSaadi, CEO, Business Development & Strategy at Department of Economic Development, Government of Dubai; Mohammed Abdulla AlZaffin, Director of IT, Dubai Municipality;

The government of Dubai wants to leverage such success stories driven by the private sector and achieve a publicprivate partnership towards a sustainable smart city. “Dubai’s economy has always been driven by private investment and entrepreneurship. We believe that Dubai’s successes are equally a testament to the efforts of the private sector as well as the government,” said Bin Bishr. First, a unified, smart, integrated government will constitute an ideal

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planned smart services and initiatives by strategic partners. “The availability of data will enable collaboration and innovation between the public and private sectors. This will empower the government and other city leaders to make impactful decisions that prioritize the satisfaction and happiness for all residents and visitors of the city,” said Bin Bishr. In other words, Smart Dubai will offer developers and investors its own big data tailored to its market

Following in Dubai’s Footsteps

Undertaking Smart Dubai was the next logical evolution of a project that has been in the making for 15 years. Back in 1999, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had already commissioned a report to evaluate the state of Dubai’s ICT infrastructure. This opened the way for initiatives like Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City, leading up to e-government in 2013, which was naturally followed by m-government. According to Bin Bishr, “Smart Dubai was born out of the visionary approach of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid to focus the city’s unified effort towards its most valued asset—it’s people.

“The private sector is eventually expected to provide up to 80% of smart services .”

This is articulated through our campaign for Happiness, we want to make Dubai the happiest city by 2017.” The sheer scale of Smart Dubai effectively sets the precedent for any city aspiring to the same goals, and there are already some who share that dream. “We have seen interest not only from neighboring countries, but also those from emerging economies internationally. We believe this is an opportunity to become a blueprint for said economies with greenfield infrastructure,” said Bin Bishr. n


BUSINESS

Useful Apps for Transportation A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

OPPORTUNITIES IN THE GLOBAL

ISLAMIC DIGITAL ECONOMY Understanding Key Sectors, Players, and Consumer Trends

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INTRODUCTION THE ISLAMIC ECONOMY IN THE DIGITAL AGE

T

he Islamic economy is one of the fastest growing markets worldwide, with a population of 1.7 billion, growing at twice the rate of the global population. In 2014, the global Islamic economy was worth $1.8 trillion (of which $704 billion in MENA), and is expected to rise to $2.6 trillion by 2020. This distinct economy encompasses a comprehensive range of products and services related to a primarily Muslim lifestyle: Halal food; Islamic finance; Halal travel; modest fashion; media and recreation; pharmaceuticals; and cosmetics.

expenditure ($6.8 trillion), and surpassed F&B spending in both China ($798 billion), and the US ($741 billion). The Islamic finance sector in the same year was worth $1.4 trillion (commercial banking) – although this only represented 1.3% of global banking assets. Other top performing sectors include: Halal travel; modest fashion; pharmaceuticals; cosmetics; and media and recreation. It is a huge market with a lot of opportunities to tap into. As advances in technology and digital innovations are changing consumer habits, products and services in different sectors of the Islamic economy are being revisited to adapt to a modern context, giving birth to the Global Islamic Digital Economy.

The two largest sectors in the global Islamic economy are Halal food and Islamic finance. In 2014 alone, Muslim consumers spent close to $1.2 trillion on Halal food and non-alcoholic beverages globally. This represented 16.7% of global F&B

GLOBAL OVERVIEW MARKET SIZE

FIGURE 1: SIZE OF ISLAMIC DIGITAL ECONOMY VS. GLOBAL DIGITAL ECONOMY Thomson Reuters’ Digital Islamic Economy report showed strong growth in the global digital Islamic consumer services based on the digital economy’s key components: digital advertising spending, retail e-commerce, and travel e-commerce. In 2014, the Islamic digital economy was worth $107.2 billion ($101 billion in e-commerce spending by consumers, and $6 billion in digital ad spending by providers). This figure represented 5.8% of the global digital economy estimated at $1.9 trillion that year. However, the Islamic digital economy is projected to grow by a CAGR of 17% until 2020, reaching $277 billion. By comparison, the global digital economy will grow by a CAGR of only 15% over the same period, reaching $4.3 trillion. If the Muslim market were a country, it would be the 4th largest contributor to the global digital economy.

Top Contributing Countries to the Global Digital Economy (in $billion)

$487.50 $658.30

$419.60 $98 $107.20

#1 United States #2 China #3 United Kingdom

$129.40

#4 Muslim Market #5 Japan Others

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Useful Apps for Transportation FIGURE 2: TOP COUNTRIES WITH ISLAMIC E-COMMERCE SPENDING IN 2014

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

When looking at the top spending countries in terms of Islamic digital spending, it appears the market is quite fragmented. The size of the Islamic e-commerce market is also significant in countries where Muslims are minorities. Collective Islamic e-commerce spending in Western Europe and North America collectively was estimated at $18.7 billion in 2014 – more than twice the size of the 2 largest individual Muslim markets (Turkey and the US). $9 $8

$8.1 bn $7.5 bn

$7

$6.5 bn

$6

$6.2 bn

$5

$4.7 bn

$4 $3 $2 $1

Turkey

US

Malaysia

Egypt

Indonesia

LEADERS IN ISLAMIC SERVICES FIGURE 3: TOP CONSUMER-FACING DIGITAL ISLAMIC SERVICES Thomson Reuters identified 394 prominent consumer-facing digital Islamic services that met a required threshold of usage (out of a total of 2,168 services). These fell under 4 main categories: Information & Media Content (196 services), Commerce & Exchange (103 services), Functional Tools & Services (77 services), and Social & Crowd Networks (18 services). In turn, these categories were divided into smaller sub-segments shown in this figure.

22.30%

22.30%

21.30%

6.10% 19% 12.70% 18.80% News & Insights 21.3% Productivity Tools 12.7% Media & Entertainment 19% Retail Sales 18.8% Others 22.3% Blogs 6.1%

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FIGURE 4: KEY PLAYERS IN CONSUMER-FACING DIGITAL ISLAMIC SERVICES E-commerce businesses – particularly e-tailers of modest clothing – are among the most successful digital Islamic consumer services, reporting the highest investments, as well as the strongest revenue and growth numbers. As for apps, the freemium model appears to be the most favored among users. Among the least financially viable business models for Digital Islamic Consumer Services observed are Digital Islamic The “News & Insights” sub-segment was among the least successful digital Islamic services; because they rely primarily on ad revenue, such services require a worldwide scale – which very few have achieved. Other notso-successful services include social media services exclusively for Muslims; while some have received large investments, they have had the least financial success (e.g. SalamWorld and Muxlim.com). The top-performing websites shown here were selected based on global traffic rankings calculated by Alexa and Similarweb. Apps were selected based on the number of downloads.

Social & Crowd Networks

Commerce & Exchange

Functional Tools & Services

Information & Content

Section

Platform

Websites

Key Player

Websites

Android Apps

Websites

Android Apps

Websites Android Apps

Description

Muslim Matters

1

A discussion platform for issues faced by young Muslims, especially in the West

Zabiha Halal

2

A global comprehensive listing of Islamic restaurants, based on user location

ProductiveMuslim

3

Productivity booster to balance spirituality and day-to-day life

Islamic Ringtones Android Apps

Rank

Islamic: The Qur’an Prophet Muhammad Stories

1M – 5M downloads (each)

A collection of Islamic ringtones Qur’an in Arabic with different translations All the Prophet Stories from the Qur’an

Falafel Games

1

Online multiplayer gaming with culturally appealing content targeting the Muslim world

Ramadan Legacy

2

Tracking of prayers and other religious activities

Qur’an Academy

3

Qur’an memorization/revision tool

Muslim Pro - Ramadan 2015

10M – 50M downloads

A comprehensive religious lifestyle planning tool, covering prayer time calculation, full Qur’an with translations, and Qibla locator

Islamic Questions

Islamic knowledge quiz modeled on “Who wants to be a Millionaire”

Athan - Your Prayer Companion

1M – 5M downloads (each)

Modanisa

1

Online fashion retailer for women’s Islamic clothing, dresses, and accessories, with worldwide shipping and delivery

SefaMerve

2

Fashion e-tailer of modest, chic and, affordable clothes compatible with hijab attire

Islamic Online University

3

Free Islamic online education offering degrees or diplomas

Modanisa Sefamerve

0.1M – 0.5M downloads

(both covered above)

Muslima

1

The largest Muslim-dedicated matrimonial site, with over 5 million users

Qiran 2

2

Second largest Muslim matrimonial website with over 2 million users

Muslim Matrimony

3

Online matrimonial services, with a large focus on South-Asian Muslims

Ummaland

0.1M – 0.5M downloads

An integrator of Islamic services interfaced with existing social networking sites

A web-based prayer time calculator and tracker

Source: State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2015/16 – Thomson Reuters

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Useful Apps for Transportation OPPORTUNITIES A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

FIGURE 5: ISLAMIC DIGITAL SERVICES GAPS & OPPORTUNITIES Thomson Reuters identified 10 key opportunities as attractive for Muslims, based on the success of their mainstream counterparts, their ease of monetization, and their Islamic relevance. More significantly, it found that 9 of these opportunities were underserved by Digital Islamic Services. The only exception was in Muslim e-commerce where despite the number of successful e-tailers, the market remains attractive. Successful examples in this vertical included Zalora, Sefamerve, and Modanisa. Other highly attractive sectors included: Halal “Sharing” platforms; Social Commerce platforms; Transport and Logistic services; and Product Marketplaces across different sectors.

n Very High n Moderate / High

Sector

Opportunity

Non-Islamic Examples

n Sharing Economy

Halal “sharing” (all sectors)

n Retail Sales

Muslim “retail commerce” (modest fashion, cosmetics)

• Airb’n’b (travel) • Casserole (food) • Listia (clothing, cosmetics)

n Social Commerce

Halal discount flash-sales (all sectors)

n Transport & Logistics

Halal & Tayyab “convenience” (Halal food)

n Product Marketplace/ Retail Sales

Halal investing (Islamic finance)

• Betterment • Equity Zen • Motif Investment

n Service marketplace

Halal “doorstep” services (Halal food, modest fashion, cosmetics)

• Housecall (home - general) • Kitchensurfing (food, butler)

n Productivity tools

Muslim-friendly Trip Planners (Halal travel)

n Location-driven services

Halal loyalty convergence (Islamic finance)

n Social gaming

Muslim community games (all sectors)

n Games

Muslim Learning tools (Islamic finance, education)

• Chloe & Isabel • Net-a-porter • Sylyebop.com

• Groupon • BuywithMe • Offerpop • Living Social (food) • Poshmark (mainly fashion)

• Blue Apron • Plated • HelloFresh • Chefday • Grubhub • Seamless

• Trip It • Kayak Mytrips, • Worldmate

• Google wallet • Shopkick

• Heaven’s Diner (food) • Virtual Traveler (tourism) • Fashion Fantasy

• Reality Check • Bad Credit Hotel • Celebrity Calamity

CONCLUSIONS • Companies in the Islamic digital economy are largely fragmented, and most players are very small. There is an opportunity for consolidation of some of these players to make more meaningful impact to global Muslim consumption and to acquire greater financial traction. • Like their non-Muslim counterparts, millennial Muslims represent an attractive demographic of digitally aware and active consumers that companies and brands have on their radar. As this culturally distinct customer segment develops, they will require a suite of digital services to address their

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needs and cultural values. • This could create opportunities for players in the Islamic digital economy to target a broader non-Muslim audience, by focusing on creating global digital brands that appeal to underlying Islamic values. • Opportunities for digital businesses are focused around these services: Media & Entertainment; Games; Crowd and Peer-Based Funding; Productivity Tools; Product/Service Marketplaces; and Sharing Economy.


DIGITAL MEDIA

Useful Apps Transportation Thefor Power of

Social Media

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

How to Unlock Its Potential as an Indispensable Customer Service Tool By Ema Linaker | @EmaLinaker

C

ustomer Relationship Management (CRM) has always been a data-heavy discipline geared towards maximizing the value of a customer to a business. Today, however, given the unstoppable rise of social media, this has changed in two drastic ways. First, every customer or stakeholder now has the potential to deliver equal or greater value through their advocacy and loyalty as well as their ability to tell their friends online and offline how great a product, service, or issue is. As a result of this, brands must start maximizing their value to that person – not the other way around. This brings us to the second point: in this day and age, brands need to start adopting a customer-first approach, one where they care as much about what customers find valuable as they do about the experience they have with the

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brand. This entails converting CRM from a simple ‘email stimulation’ model into one that enables a better way to grow relationships. That is the very definition of ‘Social CRM’ – essentially it is about collecting or harvesting social media information from public and private social media websites. Equipping your company with that data will help you adequately engage target audiences or customers (based on behavior). That is why Social CRM is so powerful. This year, we witnessed a deeper integration and fusion of CRM with social media – in fact, the industry is set to grow to a staggering $18 billion by 2018. Despite this, we are not seeing much traction here in the region. Why? Because companies here pay very little attention to what customers want or say about them.

And therein lies the core of the issue. Remarkably, according to a recent survey by Satmetrix, 39% of companies do not track their social media responses at all; and 55% of companies ignore all customer feedback on Twitter and Facebook. This is frankly alarming. Social media holds unprecedented potential for companies to get closer to customers – which in turn can help them facilitate increased revenue, cost reduction, and efficiencies. What has radically changed is the way that the interaction conducted on any given social channel fits into the permanent two-way communication model. Businesses should be rapidly embracing social media not only to build virtual communities, but also to create innovative social commerce programs, improve customer care, and streamline customer research.


Why Bother with Social CRM?

Customers now have strong opinions when it comes to a new product or service. And they make sure that their voices are heard. So, no matter how brilliant your sales experience is, you, as a company, must listen to the audience and become more socially intelligent in order to garner real success via the social media sphere. Effectively enabling social customer engagement and management helps drive one of the most successful purchase behaviors – peer to peer recommendation. As a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit points out, consumers in the MENA region are influenced by their peers. According to a Nielsen study, strong social endorsements dramatically improve the effectiveness of content. In parallel, social data – that is contextual and behavioral – can drive more effective personalization, which in and of itself,

starkly increases engagement at every stage of the customer journey. With the decline of organic reach on social platforms, marketers are facing an ever-increasing cost to reach specific audiences through these social channels. Amongst all the noise, creative has to be flawless and the delivery to the audience precise. There also needs to be a bit of luck as we are all suffering from ‘Content Shock’ – which refers to the barrage of content being flung at us constantly every day and across every device. It’s only by applying Social CRM practices that you can solve how to target the right people at the right point of their journey with the right content. Social CRM connects first and third party data and devices to interests, behaviors, and personal connections – this is what forms the bedrock of the powerful ‘social’ engine. So how do you go about implementing

an effective Social CRM strategy? #1 Understand the Paradigm Shift Your Organization Needs to Make The most critical Social CRM success factor is to recognize the cultural shift required for social communications. Companies must be willing to cede control of the conversation to the customer. You no longer control the timing, messaging or venues for communications affecting your brand, products, and services. Once the loss of control is understood, you can then respond with social strategies – such as finding the channels where social customers communicate and participating in the conversations pursuant to the accepted protocols of each particular channel. Alternatively, you can elect to build your own internal communities to draw customers in.

Winter 2015 The QuarteRly

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DIGITAL MEDIA

Useful Apps for Transportation #2 Understand What You Want to Achieve from Your Social CRM Strategy It might sound obvious but time and time again I see marketers begin implementation on the platforms without really understanding what they’re trying to achieve, what data matters to them, where that data resides, and how they will be successful. Just like with any other big IT/ marketing project, getting started with Social CRM requires identifying stakeholder objectives and performance needs. It is also about asking the right questions. For example: why does the organization need to do this? What are the strategic and measurable objectives? Traditional project management organization and approaches also apply to social projects. Additionally, it is important to find out where your customers meet online, listen to what they are saying and only then respond in a personal and helpful way. A Social CRM strategy also asks deeper questions that focus more on the people you are trying to motivate. Who do you want to reach and why? What do you want them to do? How can you help them? If you can answer these, you

are well on your way to creating a focus

The one you choose depends on your

audience and where your customers are ‘relationship’ strategy. A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

Ema Linaker Biography: Ema Linaker is a revenue catalyst with 18 years international in-market integrated communications, digital, and social media experience with global Fortune 100 companies. She founded and built Social@Ogilvy in the Middle East region, Ogilvy and Mather’s Social Practice. She is currently Regional Director of Social & Mobile at Leo Burnett in MEA.

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#3 Invest in the Right Social Tool Before even incorporating a Social CRM strategy, your business should be managing its social media efforts through a social media analytics tool. The platform you choose will serve as the focal point for scheduling social posts across all active presences, monitoring who’s saying what and to how many people, and interacting with customers. You need a Social CRM tool that can do all of those things (for a price that fits your budget) as well as integrate with whatever other existing CRM tool you may have. #4 Choose Your Platform Wisely While you may have active profiles on each of the major social channels, it’s important to designate one platform as your main customer support hub.

most active. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. Facebook is still the largest social network in the world, so naturally it gives you access to the largest audience. Facebook also offers a great deal of flexibility. Many companies set up Twitter as their main social customer service platform because it’s quick, user-friendly and the 140-character limit forces customers requesting support to get right to the point. More often than not, Twitter is where customers go to voice complaints, and studies show they expect a response. While an e-commerce site may want to post glossy photos of its products on Instagram or Pinterest and interact with customers there, an enterprise software company’s customers are more likely to be localized in the traditional trifecta


of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If more and more of your customers are gravitating toward a new social network, that network may be worth monitoring. But your social media manager shouldn’t take hours to respond to a Twitter question because he or she was busy messing around with the Snapchat account your business decided to launch. #5 Monitor Interactions and Mentions Your Social CRM platform should have the ability to set up feeds and streams for each social network and specific parameters within them. In addition to one stream tracking customers’ direct tweets, comments, and likes, set up other streams that can monitor keywords such as your company’s name and the primary words associated with what your business does. The moment your

company is mentioned or a social network user asks a question about an area of expertise, your business can quickly respond with a helpful answer that could turn a user into a customer or a lukewarm customer into a loyal one. #6 Acquire New Customers Through Social Platform Targeting Options A Social CRM strategy should leverage all of the existing capabilities social networks have to offer. For example, Facebook and LinkedIn have groups while Twitter has lists. This functionality can help you group customers into segments naturally and within the context of the social network that is better suited for targeted interactions about a specific product or products. Social CRM is about using the individuality of a customer’s social persona to tailor smarter business interactions with him or her.

#7 Drive Impact Through “Cloning” on Facebook Use ‘cloning’ modelling to target “twins” of people who expressed an interest for your brand and test multiple combinations for optimisation. Through an algorithm, Facebook identifies users with a similar profile to an audience you own. This is very powerful because these audiences allow you to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to your existing custom audience. You extract this from a combination of your website visitors, email database, position in the funnel, and fans of your pages. The aim is to identify the best performing combinations of lookalikes to improve paid performances. Lookalike audiences can be used to identify prospects and focus on similarity to your customer audiences rather than reach. This helps you deliver highly personalized creative, based on levels of consumption and drive

Patrick Attalah is a French/Lebanese digital transformation strategist and digital entrepreneur at heart. He launched social4ce, a social media agency and digital transformation consultancy, and has served clients across several countries since 2009.

Acknowledge as soon as possible:

Even if the customer needs to be redirected to another department (due to confidentiality), it’s important to let the customer know that you are on the case! 1. Be human: Show empathy. Have a positive attitude and not a defensive one. It will make the customer want to open up and seek solutions, leading to quicker resolution, while also improving brand perception. 2. Take responsibility: Don’t try to make excuses. If the service rendered was bad, accept full responsibility for it and apologize. 3. Build the right internal processes: Now that you have acknowledged the concern, you must have to quickly communicate an action plan and get back to the customer. This is where most brands fail. For most brands, 80% of the queries

and/or complaints can be narrowed down to about 10 topics. A list of FAQs and their responses can be developed, approved by the different departments, and used by the community managers. This can drastically reduce response time and costs, and improve efficiency. For the other 20%, you’ll need to build the right internal process taking into account the severity level of the complaint. You also need to design a process to resolve escalation if the complaint is not resolved in time and the responses needed to keep customers aware that you are working on the issue. In some cases, certain issues can take several days to get resolved, so be careful not to promise what you cannot deliver in time. 4. Train your team adequately: Your social media customer service team is the voice of the brand. You should provide them with the adequate monitoring and engagement tools, as well as with the proper training so they can test the different scenarios and learn more about how to best tackle social customer behaviors.n

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Useful Apps for Transportation

sales; ultimately, this also lowers your Cost Per Action (CPA).

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

#8 Customer Service 3.0 The team who manages your business’s social media presences is your first line of customer service and the ambassadors of your company’s brand. Representatives should respond to a customer’s question on social media within an hour and the conversation should be a genuine interaction rather than a transaction. Don’t be afraid to give out your first name just as a traditional customer service rep would. Depending on the type of business, integrating your social media and customer service teams into a cohesive department could improve both the speed and quality of responses. #9 Use Social Incentives to Foster Brand Loyalty The most loyal, vocal, and active of your company’s social media followers are assets. Building a relationship with these loyal customers and those with the widest social influence can help turn your online presences into communities. Run a hashtag-driven event on Twitter around a particular promotion. Give a @shoutout to the customer who’s been most active in your community this week. Send out discount offers or promotional codes to reward engaged customers. Social media gives businesses more immediate access to a wider array of customers than ever before, and Social CRM is how your business can tap into and make the most out of those connections. Looking ahead, there is a strong belief that Social CRM will no longer be separate from traditional or operational CRM, and that the two will eventually morph back into what we’ve always referred to as CRM. What we know for sure is this: the strategies and tools associated with Social CRM will, without a doubt, help transform businesses into social businesses. Whatever happens, social media will continue to reshape the customer experience and force companies to adopt the social media etiquette or standards of engagement.n

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11 RULES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA CUSTOMER SERVICE FROM THE MARKETING DEPARTMENT By Lujain Alabbas and Mohammed Almodhayan

1. Respond immediately, even if you do not have the solution yet: When you receive a query or request from a customer, immediately respond in a personalized manner in order to reassure them that you are working on providing a solution. Do not auto-generate your responses because that can reduce the customers’ confidence, making them feel like they are now apart of a waiting list. 2. Do not overpromise. Be realistic: Overpromising will lead to high

expectations and, eventually, disappointed and unsatisfied customers. Recognize your need for improvement, and then reassure your customers that you will try your best to deliver quality results. Transparency will help you gain their trust and respect. 3. Do not be arrogant: Arrogance can be implied by language, tone of voice, diction, and the use of unspecified acronyms. You must use simple language when addressing your


Lujain Alabbas is the Senior Copywriter at The Marketing Department. She earned a B.A. in Public Relations and a minor in Business Administration from The University of Oregon after receiving an International Baccalaureate high school diploma from The Awty International School. She is committed to continuous learning and exploration. She enjoys reading and writing in both Arabic and English, further expanding her general knowledge as well as her editorial skills. publicly to those who were involved. Then, thank those who brought the mistake to light because they gave you a chance to demonstrate your commitment to your clients. 5. Do not share false statements: If you use facts and figures to back up an argument, provide a reference for people to check the validity of your claim. Always be truthful, and prove it. This will help enhance your brand’s credibility. 7. Consider your staff to be your brand ambassadors: And just like real ambassadors, they should be selected and trained carefully. Your customer service agents are your frontline and they need to be the best that you can afford. It may be expensive, but it is a necessary investment in your business.

customers, and always remind them how valuable their opinions are. Remember that it is never the customer’s fault, so you should never make them feel like it is. Never argue with a customer because you will lose— if not the argument, then you will lose the customer (and perhaps customers that are following the conversation as well). 4. Do not delete or hide your brand’s mistakes: Apologize directly, sincerely, and

8. Evolve. Start using tools: Use customer service tools to handle queries and complaints, and to keep records of positive and negative feedback. This increases efficiency and helps you identify problem areas within your business. Another advantage that social media tools have to offer to businesses is the listening feature, which allows you to detect conversations about your brand, even when it is not directly addressed or tagged. In other words, social media tools allow you to “eavesdrop” on gossip circulating about your brand. For further information, look into Zendesk, Fresh Desk, and Desk.com. 9. Create a social media customer care policy: Before responding to customer

service queries, you should have a policy that defines how to handle them on each social media platform. This policy should determine exactly who is responsible for finding and responding to concerns; it should also identify the different ways to handle issues depending on their type. Following an established policy will provide consistency among all the brand’s social media accounts, and it will also help the customer service agents to be on the same page regarding expectations and responsibilities. 10. Separate your customer service account from your brand’s profile account: Some brands have two profiles: One for trained customer service agents to respond to queries and handle service requests, and the other account (the brand’s main social media profile) for marketing purposes. This makes analytical data more meaningful. It also clears out the brand’s main social media profile from posts that followers might consider as clutter or spam. Additionally, having a customer service social media account suggests that you, reassuringly, have a team that is devoted to customers’ concerns. 11. If you are not ready to use social media, wait: You need to prepare your business and train your staff before you leap into the social media pool. By all means, register accounts and put policies in place, but do not do anything else until you are ready to deal with the social media world in a professional manner.n

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HEALTH APPS UsefulMENA Apps for Transportation ARE ON THE RISE

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

Startups Grab Ripe Opportunities in the Healthcare Sector By Wael Nabbout | FulMtlColumnist

G

ood news for hypochondriacs and health-conscious individuals: You no longer have to worry about booking a doctor’s appointment for the smallest ailment that may turn out to be nothing at all. Medical advice platforms and symptom checkers are among the most useful services that apps and websites can offer to the largest demographic, and they are growing exponentially.

Personal Health and Nutrition Apps

The Hikma Health app was launched by the multinational pharmaceutical company Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the fifth largest pharmaceutical company in the Arab world. The app functions as

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The global success of the WebMd has prompted a number of digital and tech startups - and even established medical centers and pharmaceutical companies - to go online and mobile. This is particularly true in the MENA, where the recurring issue of lack of quality content in Arabic has created a rich field of opportunities for startups focused on healthcare. a health companion that allows users to keep health records, take their medications on time, and record doctor appointments with the help of a personal organizer. It also consists of a symptom checker, an emergency call button, and a decision support tool that include a complete list of data on medications, from dosage to side effects and drug-interactions. Hikma was initially founded in Amman, Jordan in 1978 by Palestinian-born Samih Darwazah, and was the first Arab company to receive FDA approval. The company’s headquarters are now based in London, and Darwazah’s son, Said, is heading a strategy to transform the company into a global brand. The Hikma Health app is part of this strategy to build local trust in the company’s products (Hikma Pharmaceuticals has its own production facility in Portugal).


Full Medical Reference Platforms

Jalil Allabadi launched Altibbi in Jordan back in 2011. Initially, he had merely uploaded a medical book authored by his father online to make it accessible to everyone. Soon afterwards, his initiative evolved into a comprehensive online portal. Fast forward to 2015: The service has evolved into a full-fledged medical platform offering a full range of services, including a physicians’ network comprising 7,500 members, a symptom checker, and medical advice through articles, videos, and infographics. Altibbi has now recorded over 4 million visitors, with 160,000 unique daily visitors. The team has already developed 5 apps. The main app is the Altibbi app which allows users to follow health topics that interest them and receive constant updates from their favorite doctors. In May 2012, Altibbi had developed the first native Arabic symptom checker, Altibbi Symptom Checker. The app has been downloaded over half a million times thanks to its interactive features that allow users to find out more about their health concerns. The Altibbi Doctor app is designed specifically for doctors and allows them to interact with each other seamlessly to get second opinions or discuss cases. The team also experimented with two more targeted apps but found they did not pay off well and now plans to withdraw from that experiment. Altibbi closed an investment round in November 2014 from Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and DASH Ventures. The amount of the investment was undisclosed, and Altibbi is about to close a second round soon.

Available on both the App Store and Google Play, WebTeb’s mobile app was launched in August 2014. The Ramallahbased company was founded in 2011 and licensed by Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic. It started out as just a web service that sought to offer Arab users a local variant to WebMD with original Arabic medical content, doctor listings, and Q&A forums. Notably, WebTeb sought to tap into the talent pool of young Palestinians to create employment opportunities amidst difficult socio-economic conditions. In September 2012, the platform added an interactive self-diagnosis tool dubbed TebChecker, similar to the Altibbi Symptom Checker app. When it launched its dedicated mobile app, WebTeb migrated most of its site’s functionality to a mobile platform, including TebChecker and newly added sections on dieting, lifestyle, diseases and treatments, and pregnancy. The app was launched with the support of the Siraj Palestine Fund after a Series B funding round, but the amount was undisclosed. In September 2014, WebTeb secured a $3.2M Series C investment round led by Sadara Ventures.

Simulators

Touch Surgery is an iOS and Android surgery simulator that allows surgeons to practice and rehearse operations before ever setting foot in the operating room. This makes it an invaluable learning tool for medical students and practicing surgeons. It is also a much safer alternative to performing actual operations on patients without extensive prior experience. The app offers step by step animated instructional videos of a variety of surgeries. Users tap, swipe, and pinch to simulate incisions, cuts, and stitching among other surgical maneuvers. A London- and New York City-based company, Touch Surgery was conceived and developed initially by an orthopedic surgeon, iOS developer, and 3D animator named Advait Gandhe who founded the company with Lebanese doctor Jean Nehme in March 2011. The app is completely free, and now has over 80,000 users. It is already being integrated into the medical curriculum at US universities such as Duke and Stanford. Touch Surgery is expected to have over 200 operations available for download by the end of this year. In addition to developing further modules, the team is looking to build an online interactive network, allowing surgeons to exchange tips and tricks on certain procedures.

If balancing your diet is an issue, mDiet - ‫ حميتي‬is here to help. The service is brought by Arab Mobile Content, out of Nablus, Palestine, and currently proposes 2 diet and nutrition apps: ‫عداد‬ ‫السعرات الحرارية من حميتي‬, a calorie counter and diet tracker (developed in December 2014), and mDiet (developed in February 2015).‫ عداد السعرات الحرارية من حميتي‬is aimed at individuals looking to lose weight. It will calculate the recommended daily intake of calories for them. Users specify what type of food they would like and the app will calculate how many calories are in those foods. What’s more, users can specify how many pounds they are looking to lose and the app will let them know how much their daily caloric intake should be. Like mDiet, it suggests exercises, recommends proper water intake, and provides a host of other features that help users stay on track. Within 2 months of its launch, the app had 60,000 users. mDiet, as the name suggests, helps users create and implement a healthy diet specifically customized to their body mass index (BMI). Users just need to pick what they would like to eat, and the app will suggest the amounts to be consumed. The app can also suggest types of exercise and how much water a person should drink. In addition, it offers users a messaging platform through which to interact with dieticians. Finally, there are online forums where users can connect for support and tips.

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Useful Apps for Transportation A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

When he first launched MobiStine in 2011, Husni Abu Samrah wanted to address the lack of Arabic health apps in the region. Since then, the Palestinian startup has developed 15 health apps targeted at niche demographics and focused on different issues, from pregnancy to diabetes, blood pressure, nutrition, and more. Collectively, MobiStine’s apps have over 1.5 million downloads. The developer’s most downloaded free apps include the nutrition and health app, ‫غذاؤك عالجك مجاني‬, and the first aid and emergency app ‫االسعاف االولي والطوارئ مجاني‬. The nutrition and health app lists the health benefits of different foods to treat different conditions. It also features a quiz section for users to test their food and nutrition knowledge. The paid version of the app gives users the ability to send questions to a certified specialist who will provide them with nutritional advice. As for MobiStine’s first aid app, it functions based on a similar model, also offering a quiz and forum space in addition to advice on how to respond to emergency situations and provide first aid services. MobiStine’s top paid apps include a blood pressure and heart rate monitor, ‫ضغط الدم‬. And a personal health app, ‫صحتك أوال‬, providing advice on healthy habits and nutrition. MobiStine is currently working on a new free app that will be a one-stop shop for expecting and new parents. It will include pregnancy advice and an interaction platform with doctors and insurance companies, along with other services. The app is being developed based on feedback from users of MobiStine’s other apps for parents, and it will continue to incorporate such feedback to grow in value.

Doctor-Patient Interactive Platforms

Described as the Quora for Health & Medicine, eTobb was founded in 2012 as an online doctor-patient Q&A platform. The service launched in beta in January 2013 before officially publishing a mobile-friendly website in November of the same year. In April 2014, the company went mobile with the launch of their app on Android and iOS. In addition to asking questions anonymously, users may also read already asked questions and answers, and browse doctors’ profiles based on specialty, location, and gender to book appointments. eTobb initially graduated from the Beirut-based Seeqnce accelerator (now defunct) with $75,000 in its pockets. In the following years, it secured 2 additional seed rounds: $150,000 from Oasis 500, Hala Fadel, and Loay al Kadiri in late 2013; and $100,000 later from 500 Startups in October 2014. The company was also chosen to exhibit as part of the accelerator’s 11th Mountain View batch.

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Yet another playing jostling for a place in the online health community is DrBridge. The Egyptian company’s mobile application helps doctors follow up with patients and deliver care plans through a multitude of channels, including text messaging, email, and app-to-app. What sets DrBridge apart from similar sites are its cloud-based clinic management solutions. When it launched in April 2012, the service catered exclusively to doctors’ needs, offering them tools to manage their clinic financially and administratively through automated performance reports and patient history reports. By integrating technology into medical practices, it sought to streamline how doctors interact with pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, and, eventually, patients. As the company started incorporating services aimed at patients, and in September 2014, the company launched, Vezeeta, a site dedicated to online scheduling and booking of doctors’ appointments. In November 2014, Silicon Badia invested an undisclosed amount in DrBridge.

Hardware Devices

In early 2015, the San Francisco-based CardioDiagnostics made headlines when it was selected by President Barack Obama’s Administration among the top 5 US-led global startups that have created innovative solutions to global challenges. Founded by Lebanese entrepreneur Ziad Sankari, CardioDiagnostics has created CardioCatch, a mobile app that helps users improve their health by providing instant professional analysis and feedback about their heart ECG signal anytime and anywhere. The app is synced to LifeSense, a wearable device equipped with a heart rate monitor, similar to the monitor available on the Apple Watch. However, while the Apple Watch accurately measures its wearers’ heart rate, it requires them to take the necessary measures, offering only general advice and suggestions. By contrast, LifeSense is programmed for medical heart conditions, and acts as both an early detector of cardiac complications and as a medical assistant. As soon as it detects an abnormality in cardiac patients’ heart rate, it automatically alerts the nearest hospital, emergency service, or physician (since patients could not be able to do so themselves). This guarantees a quick and efficient response by specialized medical teams. Thanks to an integrated GPS tracking system, LifeSense leads the response units directly to the patient. The product and its associated services are available in Lebanon and the US.n


ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Useful Apps The for State Transportation of

Digital Investments

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

in the Middle East and North Africa, October 2015

OUTLINE I. SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY II. INVESTORS IN MENA A. INVESTORS IN MENA BY YEAR B. INVESTORS IN MENA BY GEOGRAPHY C. INVESTORS IN MENA BY TICKET SIZE D. INVESTORS IN TOP 10 COUNTRIES BY TICKET SIZE

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III. INVESTMENTS A. INVESTMENTS BY YEAR B. INVESTMENTS BY GEOGRAPHY C. INVESTMENTS BY TICKET SIZE D. INVESTMENTS BY STARTUP BUSINESS MODEL E. FEMALE FOUNDERS IN INVESTMENT-BACKED STARTUPS


intel.arabnet.me

NOTE FROM THE AUTHORS We’re thrilled to share with you the first edition of ArabNet’s “State of Digital Investments in MENA” report, the most comprehensive research on investments in technology startups in MENA to date. The report has been 2 years in the making, and our team has painstakingly collected data about more than 50 funding institutions and 400 deals. While we are aware that there are many deals and investors that are not covered by the report, we believe that we have captured more than 70% of the market activity, bringing the entire industry significantly closer to a full picture than ever before. Our ambition is to update this report annually to highlight market growth and opportunities. We hope that the report encourages more investors to participate and be more open about their investments. We invite you to share your data - which will be kept strictly confidential - to include in the next iteration of the report to be published in Q1 2016, and which will be updated to reflect deals that took place in Q4 2015, currently absent from the report. We also welcome your feedback on our analysis and your ideas for new ways of looking at the data. Let us know what you think and help us make this report better and more useful for everyone! Omar Christidis Racha Ghamlouch Founder & CEO Sr. Program Manager

Scope AND METHODOLOGY This research report provides an overview of the technology investment landscape in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The first section focuses on the investor community, and examines the availability of funding sources across markets, ticket sizes, and how this has developed over time. The second section focuses on the investments that took place between 2013 and October 2015, and analyzes them by market, ticket size, industry and gender. The aim of the report is to provide a holistic perspective on the industry, identify trends and pinpoint underserved gaps in the market. The report findings are based on data collected from 31 investors and accelerators in the MENA region, specifically in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Palestine, Tunisia and Bahrain. The report also aggregates information from publicly announced investments, and those listed on public databases such as Crunchbase, AngelList and others. The report analyzes a total of 404 investments in global and regional startups by regional investors, and in regional startups by global investors. However, due to the private and proprietary nature of the investments, there may be many deals that have not been included in the analysis. In the case where investments were announced without official investment values by either investor or startup, ArabNet has estimated the values based on history of involved investors, age of the company, and stage of the investment.

SURVEYED INVESTORS We would like to express our deepest appreciation to all the investors and accelerators, listed below, who provided us with all the necessary information to complete this report. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Arzan VC Silicon Badia (Badia Impact Fund) BECO Capital Berytech Fund I CapitalEase Seed Fund I / UGFS (Carthage Business Angels) 6. DASH Ventures 7. Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority 8. FastForward 9. Flat6Labs Cairo 10. Flat6Labs Jeddah 11. Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi

12. iMENA Group 13. JuiceLabs 14. Kafalat iSME Co-Fund 15. KAUST 16. KI Angel 17. Leap Ventures 18. Maroc Numeric Fund 19. MENA Apps 20. MENA Venture Investments (Wamda Capital) 21. Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP)

22. OQAL Members 23. Saned Partners 24. Silicon Oasis Founders 25. Speed@BDD 26. STC Ventures 27. Turn8 28. twofour54 29. University Venture Fund (UVF) 30. WIKI START UP 31. Y Venture Partners

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I.Useful INVESTORS Apps for Transportation A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA FIGURE 1: NUMBER OF INVESTORS IN MENA BY YEAR The MENA region has witnessed a proliferation of new funding institutions in the past 5 years, with the number of investors increasing 5-fold since 2010. The pace of growth picked up significantly in 2010, which could be considered a turning point for funding in MENA, and has speeded up slightly since then. One reason may be that the region saw its first $100M+ exit - the acquisition of Maktoob by Yahoo - in 2009, followed by the first regional startupfocused conferences, including the first ArabNet conference in March of 2010, and the Celebration of Entrepreneurship organized by Abraaj Capital in November of 2010.

FIGURE 2: NUMBER OF INVESTORS IN MENA BY GEOGRAPHY

2% 2%

The investor community is heavily concentrated in a few markets: the top five countries are home to more than 80% of all funding institutions surveyed. The region’s three largest markets - the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt commensurately have the largest share of the investor pool. These are followed by strong investor communities in the Levant, as 30% of investors are located in Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine.

4% 4%

10%

19%

14% 16% UAE

44

23%

6%

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KSA

Egypt

Lebanon

Jordan

Palestine

Tunisia

Bahrain

Morocco

Kuwait


intel.arabnet.me

FIGURE 3.1: NUMBER OF INVESTORS IN MENA BY TICKET SIZE More than half (55%) of the investor community are early stage investors, with seed funds and accelerators each representing about a quarter of the funding institutions. Meanwhile, angel networks are relatively rare in the region compared to other early stage investors. Finally, there are few dedicated growth stage venture capital funds in MENA; however, this gap is often filled by family offices and Private Equity investors in the region.

6%

8%

22% Early Stage

39%

25%

Angel Network

Seed Fund

Accelerator

Venture Capital

Growth Capital

FIGURE 3.2: NUMBER OF INVESTORS BY TICKET SIZE While the number of funding institutions has increased significantly in the past 3 years, the distribution of investors by ticket size has remained relatively steady. A number of growth capital funds have emerged more recently, as the maturity of the sector has created a need for larger ticket investors.

3%

5%

6%

39%

38%

39%

28%

26%

25%

19%

21%

22%

11%

10%

8%

2013

2014

Jan-Oct 2015

Angel Network

Seed Fund

Accelerator

Venture Capital

Growth Capital

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FIGURE 4.1: NUMBER OF INVESTORS IN TOP 10 COUNTRIES BY TICKET SIZE UAE Angel Network Seed Fund Accelerator Venture Capital Growth Capital

2 3 6 1

KSA

Egypt Lebanon Jordan Palestine Tunisia Bahrain Morocco Kuwait

2 2 2 6 4

2 1 2 3

1 2 1 3 1

1 2 1 1

1 1 1

2 1 1

1

Examining the investor distribution in each of the top markets, a few insights emerge. First there is a noticeable lack of angel networks in the Levant areas, with no active angel networks surveyed in any of Lebanon, Jordan or Palestine. Second, there are few active investment institutions in North Africa, with only 3 funds taking part in the survey. Thirdly, there are no dedicated growth-stage VC investors in Saudi Arabia and Egypt; however these markets have strong Private Equity players and family groups, which can function as growth investors and which are not included in this survey. While the survey indicates the absence of angel networks in the UAE, the authors are aware of a few operating in Dubai; however, none of them participated in the survey.

FIGURE 4.2: NUMBER OF INVESTORS IN TOP 10 COUNTRIES BY TICKET SIZE Looking at the distribution of investors by ticket size across the market, a maturity curve emerges. Markets with fewer funds and a more nascent ecosystem tend to be dominated by early stage investors; as these ecosystem mature and the number of investors increases, the proportion of venture and growth investors increases.

12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Kuwait Morocco Bahrain Tunisia Palestine Jordan Lebanon Egypt Early Stage Funding

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Venture Capital

Growth Capital

KSA

UAE


With its unique access to the market, ArabNet has developed exclusive studies and reports that bridge the knowledge gap that exist in the industry in our region. The ArabNet Business Intelligence initiative produces reports that feature original data and fresh insights about consumer habits, digital trends and industry best practices. Today, we’d like to inform you that we are also able to produce tailor made reports with exclusive partners, just like you.

Contact us

today to explore collaborative possibilities Intelligence@arabnet.me Intel.arabnet.me


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II.Useful INVESTMENTS Apps for Transportation A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

SUB-SECTION 1: TOTAL INVESTMENTS BY YEAR Figure 5.1: Number and Value of Investments According to ArabNet’s research and collected data, more than $700M were invested in tech startups in MENA between 2013 and Oct 2015.

$381

The total number and value of investments increased by 66% and 80% respectively between 2013-2014 - a significant jump in just one year, showing the increasing interest in technology startups regionally. The total number and value of deals in 2015 has increased significantly since the analysis in this report, with Careem’s $60M round and Arabia Weather’s $7M making a big impact on total dollars spent. However, based on estimates as of publishing date, the data indicates that the total value invested in 2015 will fall below the 2014 high of $381M.

$212

185 $125

111

2013

2014 Value (1,000,000)

108

Jan-Oct 2015 Number

Figure 5.2: Number of Investments by Quarter Looking at the number of investments on a quarterly basis does not yield any strong conclusions, but the report will continue to investigate this relationship as it accrues more data in the future.

50 44 38 32 25

23

28

26

24

23

15 1 2013

2014 Q1

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Q2

Jan-Oct 2015 Q3

Q4


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Figure 5.3:Value of Investments by Quarter Examining the value of investments on a quarterly basis, it quickly becomes evident that a few big deals tend to drive much of the value, and they are infrequent enough that they create peaks in the quarters where they occur.

$242

$106

$107 $73

$39

$34

$16

$9

$23

2013

2014 Q1

Q2

$13

$20

$1

Jan-Oct 2015 Q3

Q4

*VALUE (1,000,000)

SUB-SECTION 2: INVESTMENTS BY GEOGRAPHY Figure 6.1: Number of Investments by Geography, 2013- Oct 2015 When it comes to the number of deals by country, the UAE captures the lion’s share, with 116 deals in the past 3 years. This is almost double the number of deals in the next biggest markets - Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon - which hover around 50-60 deals each. It is interesting to note that a number of MENA funds are investing actively outside of the region, with almost 20 deals across the USA, Turkey and the UK, and deals in Africa (Kenya) and East Asia (Japan).

UAE

116

Jordan

63

Egypt

52 49

KSA Lebanon

45

Tunisia

19

Palestine

16

Morocco

11

USA

11 5

Turkey

4

Bahrain UK

3

Kuwait

2

Japan

2

Algeria

1

Qatar

1

Yemen

1

Oman

1

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Useful Apps for Transportation

Figure 6.2: Markets Ranked by Number of Investments - 2013 - Oct 2015

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

Ranking the countries by number of investments, the UAE maintains the top position across the three year period. Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia have been rising in the rankings - with the impact of Lebanon’s Circular 331 starting to show. Meanwhile Egypt has dropped the most in the ranks. This may be due to a number of causes: potential missing data from the research, or broader economic and political challenges in Egypt.

Number of Deals

2013

2014

2015

UAE

30

51

35

Jordan

13

35

Lebanon

10

Saudi Arabia

Ranking 2013

2014

2015

1

1

1

15

4

2

2

22

13

5

4

3

17

23

9

3

3

4

Tunisia

2

8

9

7

7

4

USA

1

5

5

8

8

5

Palestine

0

12

4

9

6

6

Morocco

5

2

4

6

9

6

Egypt

27

21

4

2

5

6

Figure 7.1: Number of Investments in the Top 5 Countries Examining the percentage of deals captured by the top 5 countries, a few trends emerge: the UAE and Lebanon’s share of deals has been consistently rising, while Egypt, and to a lesser degree Saudi Arabia, have seen their share decrease. Egypt experienced the largest drop over the three year period, down by 80% in number of deals based on collected data.

10% 18%

The QuarteRly Winter 2015

17%

15%

12% 5%

14%

28%

20% 23%

13% 46% 31%

34%

2013

2014 UAE

50

14%

Jordan

Egypt

Jan-Oct 2015 KSA

Lebanon


Apply today

to the Research Executive Position at ArabNet jobs@arabnet.me Intel.arabnet.me


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SUB-SECTION Useful Apps 3: INVESTMENTS for Transportation BY TICKET SIZE Figure 8.1: Number of Investments by Ticket Size The majority of deals done in the past three years have been early stage deals (<$500K), representing more than two-thirds of the deals done each year. As the size of deal increases, the number of deals diminishes - which seems well-suited to a funnel of diminishing startups graduated from each level of funding to the next.

8% 3%

3%

2%

3%

Growth Capital

2% 4%

3% 3%

14%

Venture Capital

20%

21% 17%

20% 25% Early Stage

61%

51%

40%

2013

$0K - $100K

2014

$100K - $500K

$500K - $2.5M

Jan-Oct 2015

$2.5M - $4M

$4M - $7M

$7M+

Figure 8.2: Value of Investments by Ticket Size Examining the value of investments by ticket size, growth stage deals over $7M capture an enormous portion of total dollars invested. In fact, the majority of the value is captured by even larger deals, over $40M: in 2013 this includes Jumia’s $61M rounds; ​ in 2014 Jumia again with $150M​, Souq.com’s $75M round, and $53M raised by Cequens; and finally in 2015 the $44M raised by Little Bits.

41% 72%

21% 13%

7% 5% 1%

11% 4%

The QuarteRly Winter 2015

1%

2013 $0K - $100K

52

75%

6% 7% 9%

19% 2%

2014 $100K - $500K

$500K - $2.5M

2%

4% Jan-Oct 2015

$2.5M - $4M

$4M - $7M

$7M+


intel.arabnet.me

SUB-SECTION 4: INVESTMENTS BY STARTUP BUSINESS MODEL Figure 9.1: Number of Investments by Startup Business Models Categorizing deals by business model proved challenging, as a significant portion of the startups have multiple or hybrid business models. The analysis indicates that Transactional and Media (advertising) business models account for the majority of the deals in MENA, capturing more than 60% of all deals that took place regionally in the past three years. Technology and Software business models each hover around 15% of the total pie, which represents roughly half of the proportion in each of Transactional and Media business models.

6% 17%

36%

14%

27%

Transactional

Media

Technology

Software / SaaS

Agency

Figure 9.2: Value of Investments by Startup Business Models While the number of deals is relatively balanced across different business models, the value of deals is skewed very heavily, towards transactional business models, which captured almost 2/3 of all dollars invested in the past 3 years. Technology startups hardware and algorithmic software startups - also captured a significant portion of investment value, driven by large investments rounds in Little Bits ($55M) and mobile messaging solutions company Cequens ($53M). On the other hand, while Media startups represent 27% of the total number of deals, they capture only 9% of the value of deals - which indicates that media deals tend to be smaller in average value.

1% 7%

20%

63%

9%

Transactional

Media

Technology

Software / SaaS

Winter 2015 The QuarteRly

Agency

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intel.arabnet.me

Useful Apps for Transportation

Figure 9.3: Number and Value of Investments by Startup Business Models Comparing the number of deals and total value invested in each type of startup business model, some clear differences emerge, especially in terms of average value of deal. Transaction and Technology deals dominate the deal value, with an average value of $2.5M-$3M / deal. On the other hand, Media and Software deals are large in number but capture less of the total dollars, with an average value of about $0.5M-$0.7M / deal. However, these averages should be considered only as indicative, since the analysis demonstrates that most of the value is concentrated in a few large deals.

$455

145

$140 109 $61

Transactional

57

Media

Technology Value (1,000,000)

$52

70 $10

Software/SaaS

Agency

Number

Figure 9.4: Number of Investments by Startup Business Models The proportion of deals by business model has not changed significantly over the past three years, with Transactional and Media businesses capturing half or more of the investments in every year. Technology startups are capturing more investor interest - potentially driven by the increasing interest in smart hardware / Internet of Things while agency-type businesses represent a diminishing portion of the deals.

2% 13%

The QuarteRly Winter 2015

15%

22%

11%

19% 13%

24%

26% 29%

45%

29%

38%

2013

2014

Jan-Oct 2015

Transactional

54

7%

7%

Media

Technology

Software / SaaS

23

Agency


intel.arabnet.me

Figure 9.5: Value of Investments by Startup Business Models As seen previously, a few high-value deals heavily skew the distribution of dollars by business model. In 2013 and 2014, these high-value deals are predominantly in Transactional business models - including Jumiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s $61 million rounds in 2013 and Jumia and Souqâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s $150M and $75M rounds respectively in 2014. In 2015, the $44M round of Little Bits gave Technology startups a larger portion of total dollars invested. 1%

2%

8%

6%

10%

17%

14%

6%

11%

43%

7% 69%

67%

39%

2013 Transactional

Jan-Oct 2015

2014 Media

Technology

Software / SaaS

Agency

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SUB-SECTION Useful Apps 5: FEMALE for FOUNDERS Transportation IN INVESTMENT-BACKED STARTUPS

xxxx

Figure 10.1: Gender Distribution Among Founders The question of gender diversity in technology startups is a point of debate globally, so ArabNet delved into the statistics to understand the proportion of women in regional investor-backed startups. The analysis indicates that females represent roughly 1 in 10 of all founders / co-founders of investorbacked digital startups in MENA.

12%

88%

Male

Female

Figure 10.2: Number of Female Founders by Country 2%

The largest portion of these women founders - almost 40% - is located in the UAE, which could be described as the country with the most genderequality in the workplace regionally. In second place, Jordan captures a significant portion (17%), followed by smaller percentages scattered across the rest of the countries.

4%4% 8% 38%

8% 10% 9%

UAE

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Jordan

Lebanon

KSA

17% Palestine

Egypt

Tunisia

Morocco

Yemen


intel.arabnet.me

Figure 10.3: Value and Number of Deals for Teams with at Least 1 Female Founder vs. Teams with No Female Founders More broadly, comparing the investments in companies with at least one female founder versus deals with no female founders, all-male teams dominate the large majority of investments. Teams with at least one female capture a larger percentage of deals (17%) and value (14%) than the proportion of female founders among all founders (12%). However all of these proportions are still quite low, and much can be done to support and increase the percentage of women founders in technology startups.

$623

327 $87

Teams with No Females

57

Teams with at least 1 Female Value (1,000,000)

Number

HELP US MAKE THIS REPORT BETTER! This report would not have been possible without the support and trust of the region's investment community. The goal of the report is to help give all entrepreneurship ecosystem stakeholders a better understanding of the investment landscape; the more data people are willing to share with us, the better the final product will be! We will be updating this report in Q1 of 2016, and we invite all investors and startups to share their data with us, so we can provide the market with an even more complete picture of the investment scene in MENA. Please email us at intelligence@arabnet.me.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP

We Ask the Entrepreneurs

Useful Apps for Transportation

What Is Your Advice for Successful Business Development? A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

Samer Tarazi, Founder & CEO at Redtroops

Adonis El Fakih, Founder and former CEO at Ayna Corporation

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs is to be relentless, as hearing â&#x20AC;&#x153;no!â&#x20AC;? is an inevitable part of the process. Gaining your first customers is the hardest step, especially in the MENA region, where we lack early adopters who are keen to try and experiment with new disruptive products. The only way to overcome this is to go the extra mile; customize your demos to cater for your potential clients and show them the entire process from A to Z. I also advise them not to do business the old fashioned way. There are many technologies out there today that can definitely help them save time and find target clients in a much more efficient manner.

We all understand that clients are the lifelines of a business, and in my experience actively engaged clients are an invaluable resource towards your success. Whether you are selling a new product or expanding into a new market, start by building a lean startup canvas to describe your solution, expectations, and success metrics. Identify partners and channels to test your hypothesis and to define minimum marketable product (MMP). Have an honest discussion about risks and address them and set realistic expectations. Work closely with your clients as partners and collaborate towards success.

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Ahmed Moor, CEO and Co-founder at Liwwa.com

Idriss Al Rifai, CEO at Fetchr

Recruitment and team-building is the most important thing that my co-founder and I have worked on over the course of the past two years. Finding great people—people the team genuinely likes and admires and wants to work with—is a daily and relentless struggle. Challenges related to sales or operations won’t be resolved by people who aren’t committed to a company’s mission and values; therefore, getting the right team in place is critical. What has worked well for us is network-based outreach and recruitment. Unfortunately, job site searches haven’t delivered yet.

It’s important for people to continuously assess the opportunities that arise as technology evolves. It’s also important to set attainable and qualitative goals in such a diverse market. Many startups fail when they have not fully considered competition, funding, change aversion, or how to scale. For founders wanting to scale their startup, hiring and building the right team immersed in the same vision becomes the single most important action they could take. For most businesses, business development should be a core focus from the day you set your idea into motion. Your first clients will come from your network. As your business evolves, your brand and reputation should empower your growth. Many startups find themselves in a quagmire when it comes to growth, and the infamous chicken and egg debate as to what comes first, performance or brand, arises. Ultimately, you can build a great brand and you can reach millions of potential clients but if your service or products lack legitimacy, scale comes slowly.  Winter 2015 The QuarteRly

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Useful Apps for Transportation A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA Sarah Appleton, Founder at Mini Exchange

Sharene Lee, COO and Co-founder at Meltoo

Only one thing comes to mind. Invest in great people. It’s very easy when you’re a startup to try to cut corners, try to save and try to do things on the cheap. When you’re investing in business development and a team to help drive your business forward, you need to invest in great people. These people will take ownership of tasks, set your business apart from the rest, and most importantly, allow you to focus on growing all other areas of the business. Great people make the organization what it is and what it will become. Invest in them from day one and it will be the best thing you do. 

If you are a consumer-facing business, like Melltoo, then the user experience is the most important thing to focus on to grow your business. There are many aspects to user experience—from the first impression (design), speed of your app, ease of use, user onboarding, customer service—but most importantly, your product needs to solve a problem for users. Not only that, your solution to the problem should be at least 10 times better than the currently available alternative or users are unlikely to switch (people don’t like change and user habits are your greatest competitor). Depending on what stage your business is at, your marketing and business development strategies will vary, but it is important to get the product right or no amount of marketing spend will build a sustainable business. You might acquire new users, but you won’t retain them if your product is weak.

Mohammed El Shaker, Founder and CEO at ArabiaWeather

Ziad Sankari, Founder at CardioDiagnostics

1) Offer an excellent product that is fit for the market. 2) Hire a strong “strategic” head of sales and technical salespeople. 3) Focus on powerful sales collaterals, case studies, marketing, and PR. 4) If you trust your product's abilities, give your potential customers a fixed-timing demo/trial period to hook them without significant marketing efforts. 5) Go for lost leader: Acquire 1-2 big brands and sacrifice for them. They are the fuel for your sales operations. 6) Customization and scalability: You need dynamic product development with customization possibility, as well as healthy levels of scalability. 7) Make it easy for customers: 1-page proposals should be more than enough. 8) After sales support: Annual or quarterly iterations would sustain clients sometimes for decades. 9) Always make sure to have full sales funnels and pipelines by participating in expos and fairs, subscribing to tenders service, and having an open eye on market demand.

Biz Dev is Everyone’s Job! One of the most exciting parts of being an entrepreneur is the excitement you get when you are about to find out whether your set objectives will prove successful. And to be able to achieve all your objectives, each member of your team should be aware of your ultimate goal and be able to work well as a business development person. Therefore, you need to work with people who believe in your mission and are up to taking the risks with you. Be careful, your clients can sense whether your team is sold on your company’s vision or not! And since your clients are the main objectives of your business, you got to work well on your team because they can create a positive interpersonal work environment and reflect ambitious beliefs about the company.

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Walid Singer, Co-founder and CEO at Presella

Paul Saber, Founder and CEO at eTobb

It all comes down to sales, and the advice I would give for any entrepreneur is to create personal and long-lasting relationships with the client. Being fake, repeating the same sales pitch over and over again, and acting like an insurance sales man in a tux won’t cut it. You have to create a personal relationship with whoever you are dealing with, be friends with them, find mutual friends, and go from there.

When it comes to business development, the most important thing is your referral network. I do bizdev in a step-by-step approach: Identify my target market. In eTobb’s case, it is insurance companies in Lebanon and the MENA region. Research my network for decision makers at these companies and other people who could potentially introduce me to them. Reach out to them for meetings and introductions. Set up first intro meetings. Present our product and myself in brief and schedule a second meeting for a detailed discussion. Send a presentation or overview by email after the intro meeting. By now, I would have an idea if I can close the deal. You should be able to do these meetings with confidence and determine whether a certain lead is a waste of time or one that could be converted into a sale within a week or two. Pay a lot of attention to the lead’s questions and feedback since they will be very beneficial in other meetings.

HYPER Muhannad Ebwini, Founder and CEO at HyperPay/ Gate2Play

Wael Attili, COO at Kharabeesh

Entrepreneurs should focus on the outputs of their startups; they should understand their target markets and what customers need exactly and just focus to deliver their needs. They should also provide high quality support. They need to follow up with their clients. This will slow down the startup’s expansion but will help develop great focus on each market.

Embrace uncertainty. Things most probably will not go the way you want them to go. We live with so much noise. You need to learn how to flow above that noise. The age of mastery has gone forever. Because by the time you master something it will be outdated. Learn how to dig deep and fast, and then go up again to stay above the flow. Learn how to learn fast.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Useful Apps for Transportation

NEW

A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

MIDDLE EAST STARTUPS that should be on your radar

#

By Wael Nabbout | @FulMtlColumnist

I

n every issue, we bring you a list of startups from the MENA region that you should keep an eye on. This winter, our selection of startups covers everything from digital comics to modular furniture.

YoTable is a nascent restaurant booking service based out of Jeddah that is capitalizing on the booming F&B sector. By creating an account, users can book their table at their restaurant of choice, and also discover special offers and events. They also

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The QuarteRly Winter 2015

have the option to determine their preferred seating area and may also specify any special requests such as birthdays or special occasions. The platform is largely self-funded for now and proposes a flat monthly fee to restaurant owners, regardless of the number of reservations. It is home to 52 restaurants and 38 cuisines — most of which are fine dining venues as the majority of casual restaurants don’t offer reservations — and also includes a user-based review system. YoTable covers Jeddah and Riyadh, and is planning to expand in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf soon. The platform is going up against a more established player, the Amman-based ReserveOut, which closed a $1.3 million financing round in late 2014 and is eyeing

expansion in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. YoTable co-founder Rashed Islam also owns JeddahFood, a popular food review website in Jeddah, and envisages a potential integration and partnership of the site with YoTable in the future. Country of origin: Saudi Arabia Date of launch: March 2015 Category: Lifestyle

When the founders of BroadTags claim they are “The future of social tagging”, they are aiming high. The name of


the app is a mix of “broad”-casting and hash-”tags”. BroadTags, LLC was launched as a New York startup in 2013. The service consists of a free web and mobile social app (for iOS and Android) that puts content at the center of users’ focus. Simply put, this means users can follow subjects (via hashtags) instead of other users. All you have to do is specify the hashtags you want to follow, and any post related to that topic appears in your feed. The app also makes it simple to connect with other people that share similar interests and hobbies by clicking on their post and sending them a message. Country of origin: UAE Date of launch: 2013 Category: Advertising, social

Founded by Nicolas Zaatar and Charlie Khoury, NAR is behind the “Quadrofighter” firefighting drone. This app-supported drone is designed to improve responses to wildfires. NAR founders created this drone when they were still engineering students. Their invention won first place in Lebanon’s national Microsoft Imagine Cup in April 2015. The Quadrofighter can be programmed by users to monitor a specific area on the map, using either a mobile app or a desktop application. Once its course is set, the drone will monitor the area and immediately alert users in case it detects a fire starting. It will also send them the right coordinates via the app. An integrated GPS tracking system helps keep track of the drone’s position, and a base station that enables it to autonomously recharge itself, ensuring 24/7 dynamic monitoring. NAR is one of the startups selected by Beirut’s new accelerator, Speed@BDD, for a 3-month acceleration program and funding worth $30,000t. Country of origin: Lebanon Date of launch: May 2015 Category: Hardware, robotics

Like the famous US-born Blackboard, Coursella is a social learning platform aiming to make education more accessible, engaging, and fun, by offering educators online tools — such as calendars, the ability to create and share files and documents, the ability to create online assignments, etc. The platform was created by four Algerian computer science students who started

a club they called Pinnovate in 2012. After two years, they transformed their university club into a business specializing in content management systems for higher education institutions. In January 2014, they won an entrepreneur competition organized by the Algerian incubator tStart. MDI Business School and the Institute of International Management (INSIM) are currently testing the software. According to Coursella co-founder Walid Ziouche, the platform only needs around 10 paying customers to break even. So far, the platform has bootstrapped around $19,000 through tStart, and is targeting new markets in Tunisia and Morocco. The platform is available in English, Arabic, and French, but the idea isn’t new: Acadox is based out of Saudi Arabia but has yet to enter the Algerian market, and local rivals include iMadrassa and Dirassatic. Can one country tolerate three players? Perhaps. Algeria suffers from overpopulated and understaffed schools, so educators need all the help they can get. Country of origin: Algeria Date of launch: October 2014 Category: Education

For noongam, (“magnoon” - crazy, in Arabic - spelled backwards) smartphone apps are the medium of the future when it comes to comics. Started out in 2014 as a community of people and artists passionate about comic art, noongam has become the publisher of the world’s first Arabic digital comic magazine. It launched its Magnoon Magazine app in Dubai at Comic Con Middle East in April 2014. The app is available for iOS and Android, and has been downloaded over 59,000 times to date. It has currently published over 17 monthly issues, entirely in Arabic. Users pay $1.99 for single issues or a monthly subscription of $0.99. However, advertising revenue constitutes the magazine’s main income source. Magnoon Magazine has partnered

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Useful Apps for Transportation with the Nahdet Misr publishing house for the mass market printing and distribution of around 10,000-15,000 copies for its first print issue in August 2015. The magazine has also partnered with the Toon Studios animation company for the production of Youtube animation series using Magnoon Magazine characters and stories. Country of origin: Egypt, UAE Date of launch: 2014 Category: Content, publishing

Deerasa was to encourage local

entrepreneurs to execute their ideas. A Round-Up of Taxi-Booking Apps for Residents in MENA

Modeo is a new concept that allows customers to design their own furniture using a mobile app to assemble of interlocking modular parts — much like Lego building blocks. The concept is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Emile Arayes and Aline Gemayel, who set out to create an easy and accessible way for as many people as possible to design their own furniture. The app also proposes downloadable templates to simplify the process. Once they complete their designs, users order the parts they need in kits and assemble them in their homes. As a bonus, the app offers augmented reality to allow customers to visualize their creations in their homes before they purchase them. Modeo was one of the winners of the startup challenge organised by the World Bank and the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunication, and completed a 10-week acceleration program at Bader. The founders also won a study tour to London during the London technology week. Modeo is one of the Lebanese startups selected for the first round of acceleration by the Speed@BDD accelerator. It will receive $30,000 and follow the 3-month program before it launches its products on the market. Country of origin: Lebanon Date of launch: February 2015 Category: Design, furniture

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The QuarteRly Winter 2015

Another mobile app from the UAE is Lunchmatcher, a novel service that allows users to expand their professional network by randomly connecting them to other professionals over lunch. Every day, the service uses LinkedIn information to randomly suggest a new person in your vicinity available for lunch, along with a list of nearby venues (rated by users). The algorithm incorporates your personal preferences, as well as favorite nearby spots into the decision making process. Users can scan their potential lunch mate’s LinkedIn profile before accepting the match, and can also set their own parameters when it comes to their availability, the radius for user matching, the area for venues, and their matchmaking preferences (based on other users’ industry or gender). Lunchmatcher is very reminiscent of LunchMeet — emphasis on “very” — which seems to have disappeared from the App Store. Similar services include Let’s Meet, Let’s Lunch, and Networkr, all of which are Tinder-style apps for meeting fellow professionals. Country of origin: UAE Date of launch: 2015 Category: Professional social network

Deerasa is an online business tool that allows startups and small businesses to build their business plans quickly and inexpensively. The platform is the brainchild of Khawlah Almadoudi, a financial advisor and consultant turned entrepreneur. Almadoudi started by posting templates for financial projections and other documents related to business plans online, then built the platform with the help of Investment and IT professionals. Dozens of free services and templates for business plans exist online, but Deerasa’s advantage is that its offering is in Arabic.The driving force behind

Users are not required to have any background in finance or accounting; Deerasa takes care of the calculations and presents the financial results instantly. The service provides users easy-to-follow, step-by-step guidance in each and every section of the business plan. There are three packages to choose from: Entrepreneur, Advisors, and Incubators/Accelerators. Deerasa is also working on introducing phone consultations to its service offering, as well as one-day workshops which would be held in with collaboration with certified consultants. Country of origin: Saudi Arabia Date of launch: May 2014 Category: Entrepreneurship, business tool

ZORI

Zori (“sandal” in Japanese) is a mobile get clothes that fit app that uses 3D technology to allow consumers to scan their feet size within a 1 mm accuracy. All they have to do is place a standard sized card — an ATM card or a driver’s license — next to their foot and take a picture with their phone. This facilitates online shopping for shoes by guaranteeing they fit. Zori might have a few competitors abroad, such as shoesize.me which proposes a different approach (estimating shoe size by having users compare a pair they want to buy with one of their own). The app was developed by Project io, a Jordan-based 3D mobile measurement technology company registered in the US. Zori earned Project io the second place in the Arabnet startup demo competition in March 2015. Zori went through an angel round with accelerator Oasis500, raising a 6-digit investment. Country of origin: Jordan Date of launch: November 2014 Category: Fashion


ArabNet The Quarterly Issue 7 | Winter 2015  

The winter issue of The Quarterly reveals the most transparent research on the state of tech investment in the MENA. It sheds light on the c...