Riyadh, KSA: 3 December, 2013– iMENA Group, the largest consumer online businesses investor and operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region today revealed four new businesses, announced key milestones for several other businesses, and confirmed strategy focus on new investments in Saudi Arabia today at ArabNet Riyadh, the largest gathering of the Internet industry in the country.
Announced less than 9 months ago, iMENA Group has become the largest and most active investor and company builder in the online industry in the region, with businesses in four key online industry sectors, namely, classifieds, marketplaces, e-commerce, and enablement services. The company’s portfolio has now grown to ten businesses, including six investments, and four companies created and launched by iMENA.
To-date, iMENA Group has committed more than USD 25m of investments in its portfolio of businesses. According to Khaldoon Tabaza, Founder and Managing Director, the company plans to deploy more funds throughout 2014 in existing as well as new businesses in the next 9-12 months, with the focus of the investment being primarily in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. “We have a Saudi-first, Arabic language first strategy going forward,” he said. Adey Salamin, Founder and CEO stressed the mobile and local nature of iMENA’s strategy, “all of our investments have a strong local and mobile dimension, capturing the attractive mobile services opportunity in the MENA region, and building a defensible local barrier to entry in every market that we operate in,” he said.
New companies launched by iMENA today included iMENA Advertising, iMENA Social Media, iMENA Technology and iMENA Loyalty. The four new wholly owned companies are focused on providing strategy as well as implementation services in the areas of digital advertising, social media, online technology and loyalty, headquartered at the wholly owned iMENA subsidiary in Dubai Internet City with offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Amman.
“We are excited to announce the launch of the first four businesses built by iMENA’s team,” said Tabaza. “Those businesses complement and further strengthen our existing portfolio, validating our approach to build an integrated and synergistic group of businesses that together, comprise the largest group of online businesses in the region”, he added.
In parallel to the new launches, iMENA announced that several of its businesses have reached key milestones in their development. OpenSooq, iMENA’s Arabic language classifieds service has been witnessing solid growth across the regional markets assuming a leading position in the majority of the countries amongst its target region of GCC, Levant, and Egypt. Its newly launched mobile applications have assumed the number 1 position in terms of downloads in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, amongst several other countries. ReserveOut, iMENA’s restaurant reservations service announced that it has exceeded the milestones of more than 150 restaurants online, while seating more than one million diners since it was launched late last year. iMENA’s used cars e-commerce business, SellAnyCar.com, announced more than one hundred thousands online vehicles valuations in less than three months, while its online food ordering service, Hellofood, has crossed the mark of more than three hundred online food ordering vendors in Saudi Arabia, along with its recent launch in Jordan in November of this year. EasyTaxi, the company’s mobile taxi ordering business has started operating in test mode in Saudi Arabia.
“The robust performance of our portfolio is a factor of the commitment of the founders of our companies, as well as a proof of our platform approach which leverages shared operational as well as strategic support services for our companies to accelerate their growth,” said Adey Salamin.