Startup news ticker: Mobibus launches a Do-It-Yourself mobile app maker

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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 23 October, 2013 

App creator Mobibus launched this week for SMEs and entrepreneurs

Mobibus, a mobile technology company based in Dubai, launched the ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Mobile App Maker this week, allowing SMEs and entrepreneurs in the Middle East to create their own apps, and upload content, manage it and update it without the need of a developer.

The bilingual web app, which builds iOS and Android apps for smartphones and tablets, was created by Pierre Azzam, Mohammed Johmani and Hussam Abu Zaalan, who hope to “‘democratize’ app development”, as they said in a press release. To use the app, users have to register here and pay “an annual (USD $125 per month) or quarterly (USD $150 per month) package fee” as said in the press release. 

With modules in their apps like “Locations,” “Catalogue,” “Offers,” “Wish List,” “News,” “QR Reader,” and “Shopping Cart,” Mobibus seemed optimized to offer apps that work as content displays, PR, or perhaps, in the future, e-commerce platforms for startups. Right now, it offers like more than a chance to manage content, but is designed to quickly grant a startup a mobile presence on a limited budget.

“This is just the beginning for Mobibus,” says Johmani in the press release, “we will continuously develop and improve the platform to ensure it evolves alongside evolving technology trends and software.”

- RF

Tuesday 22 October, 2013

BBM is now available on iOS and Android with a waiting list

After the company stopped its BBM service on iOS and Android this September when a leaked unofficial version was causing issues for users, BlackBerry is now releasing the official version on both operating systems, with a waiting list.

Users, after installing the app, will have to wait for approval before using the app. They will receive the following message [on Android]: “Thanks for downloading BBM. Due to the incredible demand there is a line-up to start using BBM. Enter your email address to check if you can start using BBM – or hold a spot in line”.

Is BBM the last vestige of a dying brand? Do you think it’s useful? Let us know.

Nokia confirms the release of Instagram on Windows phones

It’s about time. Instagram has finally been released on Windows devices. The photo-sharing app, which was launched on iOS almost three years ago and on Android last year, will be released on Windows within weeks, TechCrunch reports.

During the Nokia World 2013 event which was held today in Abu Dhabi, Nokia announced the news. "Our ultimate goal is to bring Instagram to everyone who wants to use it…” Kevin Systrom, CEO and co-founder of Instagram, said in a statement. “We're looking forward to watching the Windows Phone community use Instagram to capture and share beautiful moments in the coming weeks."

Nokia also debuted their first tablet, the Lumia 2520, and announced the latest version of their Windows phone, the Lumia 1520.



Monday 21 October, 2013 

FoodOnClick expands into Lebanon and Saudi Arabia

FoodOnClick, the Middle East version of Turkish online food-ordering success
Yemeksepeti, has announced its expansion into Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, expanding from its existing services in Oman, Qatar, and the UAE.

After rival HelloFood’s expansion into Morocco and Saudi Arabia in April this year, the race is now on to see who can own the Saudi online food ordering market. Since its launch in the UAE in 2010, FoodOnClick has grown to over 100,000 subscribers, with over 1,000 partner restaurants and over 3,000 food orders daily. By comparison, Yemeksepeti has over 2.2 million subscribers and delivers over 60,000 orders daily; it’s essentially 20 times as large.

When it comes to Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, FoodOnClick will face different challenges in each market, notably a lack of existing competitors- as well as infrastructure and, likely, market understanding, in Lebanon. Saudi Arabia will be its biggest market.

“In Beirut, our concept is incredibly well received and understood by restaurants, but we face the challenges of a not so developed infrastructure,” founder Gokhan Akan said in statement. “The young and tech savvy population of Saudi Arabia, the country with the third higher smartphone penetration in the world, are quick and comfortable adopters of our service.  In fact, we expect Saudi Arabia to lead the trend in mobile ordering, which at the moment is more than 25% of all orders received, and won’t be surprised if this doubles within the next 12 months.”

- NC

Haifa Wehbe appointed Communications Ambassador for Humanitarian Issues 

As part ofa new “Don’t Text and Drive” campaign in Lebanon, Lebanese pop diva Haifa Wehbe, was appointed the Communications Ambassador for Humanitarian Issues, by Lebanese Communications Minister, Nicolas Sehnaoui on Friday 18th of October.

The campaign will consist of broadcasting video clips on TV, radio campaign awareness, billboards as well as running a digital campaign on Twitter via the hashtag #DontTextAndDrive.

“She is intelligent, charming and has a lot of character. Most importantly @HaifaWehbe can get our message across to the youth”, tweeted Nicolas Sehnaoui.  

Wehbe, who is known for having a savvy social media strategy, won the Social Media Awards 2013 in Lebanon this spring.

- RF

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