Private investors to fund two local start-ups

Two local start-up companies have secured financing from several local and regional investors, Oasis 500 Chairman Usama Fayyad said Wednesday.

The two “pioneering” start-ups are among several incubated by Oasis 500, a fund that seeks to help young Jordanians turn their business ideas into reality.

They have strong potential for growth in regional and international markets, he noted.

Zaytouneh, a digital library of short cooking videos, attracted investment from Maktoob and Jabbar co-founders Samih Toukan and Husam Khoury as well as the regional angel investment fund MENA Venture Investments, Fayyad said, declining to state the total value of the investments.

Jamalon, an online bookstore selling Arabic and English books, secured a combined $400,000 from private investors Hana Habayeb, Ranwa Halasa, Suleiman Al Assaf, Tariq Hammouri, Oasis 500 Ventures 1, and MENA Venture Investments, he told reporters at a press conference yesterday.

These investments will help fund the two start-ups’ expansion and infrastructure enhancement plans, enabling them to broaden their market reach and expand in the region, the Oasis 500 chairman added.

“We are very excited to invest in Zaytouneh,” Toukan said. “We believe it is a unique and innovative idea that will grow to become a strong company.”

“People today are using video on the Internet to get information more than any other source. Zaytouneh specialises in delivering quality instructional videos to its customers. It is an effective targeted marketing solution for advertisers,” he added at yesterday’s press conference.

Stressing that the amount of Arabic content currently available on the Internet is “modest”, Toukan said start-ups such as Zaytouneh have a “golden opportunity” at this stage to grow and reach out to a wide audience across the Arab world.

Jamalon founder Alaa Sallal said his online bookstore currently offers 300,000 books in Arabic and English.

The company has already signed agreements with every Jordanian publishing house and will soon ink deals with Lebanese and Egyptian publishers to sell their books online, he added.

“The Arab world is a good market for selling books online,” the entrepreneur said. “The volume of books sold in the Arab world stands at about $500 million annually and an online bookstore can compete and have a share of that.”

Author: Mohammad Ghazal


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