Startup news ticker: Women’s portal Ounousa reaches 2m FB fans; Arab startups to pitch in San Francisco

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Welcome to Wamda's weekly startup news ticker, which will offer quick announcements and stories relevant to the region. If you have a quick news release to share about your startup, let us know at

Wednesday 16 October, 2013 reaches 2 million fans on Facebook, a web portal and online media in Arabic targeting women across the Arab world, recently reached 2 million likes on its Facebook page. 

The company, which was founded in 2009, ranks as the leading Facebook page in both categories “Women” and “Lifestyle” across the Middle East and North Africa, according to Social Watchlist. “Social media platforms have enabled us to be very close to our readers. Every day, thousands of fans interact with us, providing feedback, commenting on articles or sharing ideas”, said Elsa Aoun, CEO of Ounousa.

The company is set to roll out an e-commerce solution by the end of the year, complementing its content offering with online shopping features, as mentioned in the press release.

Middle East Innovation Demo Day in San Francisco

In partnership with TechWadi, PALinnO and PITME, the US Market Access Center (US MAC) will be organizing a demo day on 17 October 2013 at Runway, an incubator in San Francisco.

The event calls for entrepreneurs from the Middle East to pitch their ideas to Silicon Valley investors for exposure and feedback as well as potential investment. Selected ideas will win a scholarship from PITME labs for month long immersion program in Silicon Valley, supported by over 100 mentors. For more information or to register, click here.

Huawei not willing to buy BlackBerry

After announcing its willingness to sell, BlackBerry is still shopping around for a potential buyer.

Despite recent rumors that Chinese manufacturer Huawei was interested, the Chinese company denied the news. “"We haven't considered (an acquisition)," said Huawei board member Chen Lifang in an interview with Reuters. “We want to rely on ourselves.”  

The denial is not an encouraging sign for the future of BlackBerry, which laid off 4500 employees in August, who will stop working by the end of 2013.

Strategic investment between Telefonica and Rhaspody to enter the Latin American market

Telefonica, a mobile carrier based in Spain has acquired a strategic investment in music streaming service Rhapsody, for an undisclosed amount. Telefonica now plans to bring its Napster, the service Rhapsody acquired in 2011, to Latin America and Europe, marketing Napster’s music catalog to its 316 mobile and broadband subscribers.

“This is our first move into Latin America,” Thorsten Schliesche, Napster Senior Vice President and General Manager in Europe,
told TechCrunch.

- RF

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