Startup news ticker: celebrates 5th anniversary and Egypt's KarTag shines at global competition

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This is the first installment of Wamda's new 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, August 22nd.

Froot launches Arabic e-book library on BlackBerry 10 [Tweet]

Saudi company Optimal Technology Solutions’ mobile app development branch, Froot, just released their Arabic e-book library Ketabi on BlackBerry 10. The app allows users to download e-books for free or for purchase through their mobile device.

Electronics e-commerce site celebrates 5th Anniversary [Tweet]

Dubai-based electronics e-commerce company celebrates their 5-year anniversary this week. The bootstrapped company has more than 10,000 products listed on their site today and has partnered with over six banks to make customers more comfortable with online payment.

KarTag shortlisted for World Summit Youth Award [Tweet]

Egyptian startups KarTag is among 60 projects that have been shortlisted by the UN’s World Summit Youth Award. The team now pits their social carpooling startup against 59 other projects from around the world for a chance to attend the WSYA Winners’ Event 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka on October 24-26. 

Contest creation portal launches in beta [Tweet], an online contest creation platform lunched in beta this month focused on creating contests for designers and developers in MENA. The platform is designed to be a link between companies and designers and developers. New users can sign up to list or participate in contests in the region.

Tuesday, August 21st.

Ideavelopers and Vodafone invest EGP 6 million in Swipe'n'tap [Tweet]

On August 4th, Ideavelopers and Vodafone Egypt signed a new EGP 6 million (around US $850,000) investment deal with Swipe'n'tapa Cairo-based technology startup. This is Ideavelopers’ 22nd investment in a technology startup since 2004 and marks Ideavelopers first co-investment with Vodafone Egypt. The two firms hope to forge a strong co-investment partnership going forward.

Taghreedat and Uktub partner for Arabic content proofreading [Tweet] 

Taghreedat, an Arabic crowdsourcing initiative in the MENA region, announced a new strategic partnership with Uktub – the recently launched specialized Arabic language proofreading and editing service. The partnership seeks to raise the standard of Arabic language proofreading, especially in Arabic digital content, while instituting a number of Arabic language guidelines that have long been ignored by content providers.

LinkedIn launches new section for university pages [Tweet]

LinkedIn, the business-oriented social network site, announced the launch of University Pages, to support high school students while they apply for universities. The new section provides users with useful advice from teachers, parents and students. Starting on September 12, new LinkedIn users can join the site starting at the young age of 13.

Yahoo! Maktoob and partner to provide personal finance news and updates [Tweet]

Yahoo! Maktoob announced a new partnership with, one of the MENA region's leading independent financial comparison websites. Yahoo! Maktoob and will provide users with comprehensive financial planning data, personal finance advice and product comparison tools in both Arabic and English.

Etisalat to launch e-billing in September [Tweet]

UAE-based telco Etisalat will gradually implement its e-bill initiative across all services starting on September 1st. This transformation of current paper billing methods to environmentally friendly e-bills, will ensure customers have digital access to their account information 24/7. 

Monday, August 20th.

Online medical platform eTobb in Lebanon nominated for UN-based Award in Sri Lanka [Tweet]

eTobb, an online medical platform based in Lebanon, was recently nominated to enter the next round of the 2013 World Summit Awards (WSA) in e-Health & Environment. The platform will compete against 500 e-content products and applications from 168 countries in hopes of making the WSA's final round in Colombo, Sri Lanka in late October. 

Dubai startup Hajjnet creates virtual guide app for Umrah [Tweet]

Hajjnet, a Dubai-based startup that specializes in Islamic tourism, just released UmrahSalam, a smartphone guide for pilgrims with full social media integration. The mobile app offers real-time, location-based support that help pilgrims read prayers at the right time and counting Tawaf as it is being performed. It's available on iPhone in English; with Arabic and Android versions coming soon.

Waveline Media Launches Nabd for Android [Tweet]

After launching Nabd for iPhone in January 2013, Waveline Media has now released the Android version of its personalized news app. With 600 news sources from 13 countries in the Arab world, the iPhone version attracted over 500,000 downloads and 41 million monthly impressions. In less than a week, the Android version has attracted over 38,000 downloads.

Mashrou3 Leila's third album Raasuk has been fully funded on Zoomal [Tweet]

Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou3 Leila have successfully crowdfunded the launch of their third album on Zoomaal, a crowdfunding platform based in Lebanon that launched this July. The band raised over US $66,000 in around two months, in order to release the album, which they recorded in Montreal in September of last year.

Mobile donations across the month of Ramadan have raised almost half a million US dollars for Egyptian charities and NGOs [Tweet]

TA Telecom, an SMS-based mobile services company headquartered in Cairo, revealed that mobile donations to charities this Ramadan on its SMS donation platform Megakheir have exceeded last year's numbers; over a quarter of a million (284,632) individuals donated US $484,702 to charities in Egypt. Megakheir facilitates over 95% of the country's mobile donations. 

Hsoub launches Arabia I/O to support Arab web developers [Tweet]

Hsoub, a UK-based web solutions company focused on the Middle East, has launched Arabia I/O, an online community where Arab web developers can discuss and exchange knowledge and expertise in categories including web development, e-commerce, marketing and advertising, online freelancing, and social media among others.  

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