Oasis500 Announces Investment Deals for Jamalon and Zaytouneh

by Nina Curley, November 30, 2011

This morning, Oasis500 announced investment in two of its startups, Zaytouneh, a digital library of high quality short cooking videos, and Jamalon, an online bookstore for Arabic & English books.

The investment arm of Oasis500 Oasis500 Ventures 1 (OV1) invested in both up-and-coming ventures. Zaytouneh, which launched on Septmeber 12th, also garnered angel investment from Maktoob and Jabbar co-founders Samih Toukan and Husam Khoury and regional angel investment fund MENA Venture Investments. 

“The investment will be used to increase our video production,” says Zaytouneh founder Fida Taher. “Last month I was producing around 40 videos a month. This month we will boost this to 100 videos. We’re also aiming to add 3 more people to our four-person team.” An English version of the site will launch soon, she says.

Jamalon, a quickly-growing site that aims to become the Amazon of the Arabic World, secured $400,000 in investment from private investors Hana Habayeb, Ranwa Halasa, Suleiman Al-Assaf, Tariq Hammouri.

With this investment, "I'm planning to expand Jamalon operations in Egypt and Lebanon in order to secure 90% of Arabic book resources. We are going to continue structuring the publishing industry in the region as well,” says Jamalon founder Ala’ Alsallal, who recently spoke to Wamda about how he's worked to educate the market.

He also plans to create a home for eBooks in Arabic on the web. “We are going to provide a cross platform application where Arab publishers can offer eBooks. We will work with them to transfer their products to ePublishing and on demand publishing models.”

Both companies are aiming to fill specific gaps in the Arabic online content sphere, one speaking directly to those looking to learn how to cook, and the other enhancing access to Arab books and improving opportunities for online reading in the region.

Each is taking a long-term view as well when it comes to planning growth. “We plan for an exit with Amazon in the near future,” says founder Ala’ AlSallal, while Zaytouneh is taking a steady approach to building the company. “I’m focusing on making Zaytouneh a sustainable business first. An exit strategy will not be difficult.”

Both companies will be eligible for potential follow-on funding by Wamda given Wamda's recent partnership with Oasis500.

 
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