Category Archives: Mobile

Building tech businesses in the Middle East

Souq, Namshi, and Careem are 3 of the most successful tech startups in the Middle East.

Horizontal e-commerce business Souq was recently acquired by Amazon for $650M, 51% of fashion e-commerce business Namshi was acquired for $151M by Mohamed Alabbar’s Emaar Malls, and car hailing business Careem is valued at over $1B.

Each of these companies is proof that large tech businesses can be built in the Middle East.

Here’s an interview hosted by Wamda Capital‘s Fadi Ghandour featuring the CEO’s of these impressive companies, Ronaldo Mouchawar of Souq, Faraz Khalid of Namshi, and Mudassir Sheikha of Careem.

Rinse’s Series B round

Rinse is a tech-enabled laundry and dry cleaning managed marketplace where we’re investors. The company recently announced the closing of its $14M Series B round of funding led by Partech Ventures.

Now that Rinse has solidified its playbook for expanding into geographies and bringing these geographies to contribution margin profitability, it will be using the new funding to apply the same playbook to grow to 10 new US cities. Rinse is currently operational in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, and among the 10 new cities that it will expand to are New York, Chicago, and Boston.

We commend the Rinse team for their decision to achieve operational excellence with their existing model before rolling it out to new cities. This requires patience and this patience eventually pays off.

We also thank Partech and Rinse’s existing investors for continuing to support the company on its exciting journey.

Rinse at Twilio’s developer conference

Tech-enabled dry cleaning and laundry service Rinse, where we’re investors, was featured at Twilio‘s developer conference, Signal, last week.

Rinse uses Twilio’s SMS API and Twilio co-founder Jeff Lawson is a Rinse customer.

The segment featuring Rinse’s co-founder Ajay Prakash is between minutes 38 and 45 in the conference’s opening keynote speech below.

Insider careers

Insider, a predictive segmentation and real-time marketing tool for companies where we’re investors, recently shared the video below entitled “Expect the Unexpected”.

The video provides data on the company’s performance and gives a glimpse of what it’s like to work there.

If you also like working with data and want to be part of a growing global product company, Insider is hiring across its 13 international office locations.

Eren Bali presenting Carbon

Eren Bali is co-founder and CEO of Carbon Health, a digital healthcare system and network where we’re investors.

In this talk from a recent Wired Health conference, Eren shares the source of his inspiration for Carbon, what the service looks like now, and where it’s likely to go in the future.

You can watch the 15 minute talk below.

Navdy review

Navdy, a heads-up display for your car where we’re investors, was recently reviewed on TechCrunch by Darrell Etherington who has been using Navdy for several months.

The review does a great job of outlining Navdy’s key benefits over the traditional navigation options that come with your car. These include:

  1. Distraction-free driving by projecting its imagery through the driver’s windshield onto the road in front
  2. Continuous improvements through over-the-air updates
  3. Accommodation of incoming calls and notifications
  4. Google Maps integration for traffic data and routing directions
  5. Sleek design
  6. Gesture input recognition
  7. The first use cases of its voice input recognition

You can read the full review here.

Building an iPhone

Yesterday, I shared a post which gives an overview of what it’s like to work in an iPhone factory.

Today’s video shows how an individual can build an iPhone from scratch. It’s not exactly from scratch because parts like the logic board are sourced as an assembled product rather than as individual end components.

However, as the video shows, widely used hardware components are quick to commoditize. After this hardware commoditization, software remains the differentiator.

You can watch the 24 minute video below.

Hasan on TechInside

My partner Hasan recently gave an interview to TechInside.

In the interview, Hasan shares his thoughts on the current state of the Turkish startup ecosystem as well as predictions for its future, his recommendations for entrepreneurs, and the business models which he finds attractive.

You can watch the 4 minute piece in Turkish below.

Sustainable transportation in cities

I recently participated in a panel on how technology and startups are helping spread sustainable transportation in cities. The panel was hosted by the World Resources Institute’s Turkey office.

The panel also features entrepreneurs (including Ali Halabi who is the founder of our inner city ride sharing investment Volt), corporations, and other investors.

You can watch the 1 hour 11 minute long panel in Turkish below.

Ininal’s e-money license

Ininal, a digital banking service where we’re investors, received its electronic money (e-money) license from the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) of Turkey earlier this week.

What this means in practice is that Ininal’s existing digital wallet will be able to offer its users many new capabilities that it has so far been unable to offer due to regulatory requirements.

For example, Ininal wallet users will be able to make digital payments to individuals and institutions alike all from within the Ininal app. This effectively transforms Ininal into a digital bank which directly offers its users all banking services short of lending and investing. In the past, the Ininal app’s functionality was limited to creating new accounts, monitoring your balance, transferring money to other Ininal users, and seeing nearby top-up locations.

The e-money license also places Ininal on secure regulatory footing as it introduces new and innovative services to the market. The Ininal API is a great example of such a service.

Fintech companies bring new approaches to traditional services like banking and payments. However, like the traditional banks offering these services, they also deal with a sensitive asset like money. As such, it’s essential that they operate within existing regulatory frameworks while simultaneously working to adapt these regulations to accommodate the new services that their technologies make possible.

With its e-money license, this is exactly what Ininal is doing.