Arab Tech Startup companies get their chance at ArabCrunch Demo 09 to showcase new products on stage before an audience of press, investors, IT professionals and IT students.
ArabCrunch Demo 09 Event was organized by ArabCrunch – a blog dedicated to profiling Arab originated startups and established companies, and DART – the student entrepreneurship society at Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) one of the major programs at the of Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship (QRCE).
Gaith Saqer Editor and Founder of ArabCrunch opened the event with a welcome speech where he said, “ArabCrunch Demo is a step forward to help create a regional ecosystem that supports technology entrepreneurs in the Arab world.”
He added that by offering Arab tech startups a free platform to showcase their products, now innovative Arab tech ideas won’t die because nobody knew about them.ArabCrunch Demo 09 was a one day event which concluded on Monday 23rd Feb. 2009 in princess Sumaya University, Amman, Jordan. The event is the only free launchpad platform for newly developed technology products and services in the Arab world. Besides startups’ demos, the event included keynote sessions by regional and world class experts from companies ranging from e-marketing, venture capital, and IT.
Zeina Tata, Main Coordinator of DART said, “We at DART aim to link the student community with the business world; such an event is a milestone to achieve this goal and even exceed it.”
During the event, AlKhawarizmy Language Software, an Egyptian startup, showcased KSearch Embedded Arabic Search Technology that provides: Morphological search in order to provide comprehensive search results. The search technology differentiates between meanings of Arabic words, thus providing the first Arabic semantic search. KSearch took 10 years in R&D and was released in the event with its three editions Enterprise, Web and Desktop, the latter being the first of its kind in the Arab world.
In the event Ishki from Jordan, also demoed its website, which is the first Arabic website that enables people in Jordan to share complaints or concerns online and search for solutions. The websites seeks to be the voice of normal citizens regarding public, private or business problems. Ahmad Kharbat, cofounder of Ishki, said, “We will add channels for each company that is operational in the Arab world, so people can voice their concern and feedback.”He also promised to add more local versions of the website for more Arab countries.
Hamdy Khalil co-founder of eSpace from Alexandria, Egypt showcased weNear a location based framework that competes with Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, the platform is geared towards developers in order to use its API so they can develop location aware mobile applications in a range of devices including iPhone, Android and Symbian.
Another company from Egypt CitexSoftware, showcased AdHere, the first Open Source Mobile Advertising Server built on top of the popular Online Open Source Ad Server: OpenX, Mohamed Elharty Software Engineer and Team Leader of CitexSoftware demoed AdHere rich targeting capabilities that can be based on profiles and geo-location.
MailPacks was the last to demo; the web based service is developed by Mahmoud Mehyar from Jordan. The startup is an auto-responder and mailing list manager that enables websites to create, send and track newsletter. Mahmoud said, “I have tested all my competitors; we differ by offering more features and by offering the follow-up service for free while charging a small fee for broadcasting.”
Mehyar is also the founder of Feedoor, a feed content distributor for publishers and personal users.
After the demos the keynote sessions started from experts in their field in order to share their experience and provide advice and tips for the Arab entrepreneurs.The first keynote was by Khaled Jabasini founder and CEO of e-Marketing MENA. He called Arab entrepreneurs to get help from experts and mentors from their industry. Khaled presented how his successful startup e-Marketing Mena uses its massive network of regional publishers to provide greater results to the advertisers and the much needed support for Arabic websites. Jabasini has express willingness to support Arab startups in many ways such as help them with new revenue streams.
In his keynote session, Herve Cuviliez Managing Director of KuvCapital, a seed funding Venture Capital (VC), said, “We need to create a friendly environment in the Middle East to create successful startups, from universities to governments through VC and to spread entrepreneurship culture. All these parts are required in order to benefit from each other’s participation via symbiotic relationships (positive sum relationships) to create a friendly ecosystem.”
He added that ArabCrunch Demo 09 is a step forward for a stronger ICT Community in the Arab world. In his speech, Herve tackled topics such as what makes a successful entrepreneur and what is the right VC, he also talked about his initiative for incubators in Middle East and Africa.The young and driven was the last Keynote speech delivered by Sumaya Kazi, Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief at The CulturalConnect, and Senior Social Media Manager at Fortune 500 company Sun Microsystems. She spoke about her experience in starting CulturalConnect. Sumaya showcased intentional successful entrepreneurs who started successful startups along with other social entrepreneurs she had interviewed before. She shared 8 tips for startups among them were “Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and People sit on great ideas, Don’t be one of them.”
The event, which attracted over 300 participants, was concluded with excitement and enthusiasm by both the startups and the audience. At the end of the event Saqer said he plans for another version of the demo event in the coming months or next year, he promised that the next event will be bigger and would open greater opportunity for outstanding technology startups in the Arab world.
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