This week we’re on Medium, due to consistent challenges with my hosting company I had to terminate my website and transfer to a new service, hopefully next week we’ll be back in full swing. Also, never host with Bluehost.

For last week’s roundup click here: Week #48

A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and the public sector.

Investments & Acquisitions


Yes, this is last week’s round up posted this week, although it was drafted and ready to post last week, my hosting provider decided to botch my domain and website. We should be back and running next week 🙌🏻

A weekly round up of the top headlines from the digital sector in MENA, covering startups, corporate and the public sector.

Investments & Acquisitions

Foloosi, UAE-based fintech startup, closes a angel funding round of $500k (inclusive of the committed funding in June) http://bit.ly/2A5bxGA

Shelvz, Lebanon-based Saas-workforce management platform, raises funding from iM Capital http://bit.ly/2kfmMIv


By Christophe Donay, Head of Asset Allocation & Macro Research at Pictet Wealth Management

We are witnessing a remarkable world population regime shift unfolding over the next three decades, which in our view, will be characterised by four trends:

1 — The global trend, with UN projections that will see the world population grow from seven to nine billion by 2050 (i.e. 0.8% average annual growth)

2 — The local trend, as population growth discrepancies harden across zones, with the Middle East showing the second fastest growth at 1.1% …


Part 1: Anghami vs Spotify got a lot of rounds + an update was added at the end based on online discussions post-publishing

Now for Battle Royale of the season:


Snubbing regional and local innovation is a one of the many curses that emerging market startups deal with atop of the challenges of building in low-penetration-name-all-challenges-markets.

But regional startups are not underdogs, and we should be rooting for them because they are good not just because they are local

There are two key “vs” playing out this week:
Anghami vs Spotify (and maybe Deezer) — below
Uber vs Careem
— next blog

…and if you follow my Technology in MENA telegram channel you’ll notice that there more and more global startups from Asia and Europe (raising money from MENA investors…


Audible’s Exclusive “The Dark Web”

I recently listened to Audible’s Exclusive “The Dark Web” series which highlights what is the dark web (Tor project) the role of crypto-currency in fueling the space (correlation not causation) and the types of activities that have been facilitated through this network. Interesting primer, jaw dropping realities.

One particular episode talked about pedophiles use of the (dark) web, which according to the institutes and law enforcement departments interviewed is a really a whole world wide web epidemic. Pedophiles use average day-to-day photos of children from facebook and public social websites to trade with their pedo-peers. They use “cute” and “cuddly”…


Stop trying to explain bitcoins and blockchain to my Grandma/pa

Pretty please, just stop.

First lets agree on a few basics, the blockchain is not only a means for logging financial transfers of a cryptocoin; some examples of broader uses here.

Crypto coins are currency, stock and asset, with their value controlled by demand and supply (free market). Stocks, assets and currency in real life are heavily regulated, controlled and monitored.

That being said, it’s rare that you see the world so intent on explaining stock exchanges, asset classes and reserves or the world order behind currencies and their exchange to grandmas, so why bitcoins? It gets even more complex…


This post is inspired and in reply to Farhad Manjoo’s “For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned” post NYTimes. I loved the article and agree with most of it, but…

In an ideal world where there are multiple relatively credible media outlets governed by freedom of speech, open dialogue and democracy that practice is fantastic.

I never turn-on news alerts on my phone nor follow breaking news in any form. My social timelines are not for following “breaking news”, but opinions, long reads, debates and social interaction. …


A few weeks ago I was at a startup conference and the inevitable happened: I met a talent-marketplace (hire-a-freelancer) startup that planned to sell their own crypto-coins to be used as tokens on their platforms before launching their product…

Me: Why would I buy your coin / token?
Founder: To use the service and pay for the freelancers
Me: But, why can’t I pay in dollars?
Founder: But that’s the whole point…
Me: I don’t get it. Why would I use your service if I need to buy a specific coin and carry the burden of all the exchanges…

and…


We’ve all been through it, you sign up for a fresh service, for one reason or another you don’t use the service and forget about it. A few month later someone from service’s side gives you a call to check why you have abandoned the service or up-sell features. You pick up the line as it’s a strange number in the middle of a busy day, meetings, or roaming and ask them to call back…

…and they don’t.

Below are three common mistakes I have faced that early-stage services (and established ones) in calling clients:

The Ignorant

I have two very similar…

racha ghamlouch

Geek with vengeance! Business and Innovation Adviser. Ex-VP at BECO Capital. Ex-ArabNet ❄️ https://racha.space/ & digitaldigest.me

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