Crowd Analyzer brings online sentiments analysis to the Arab world

crowd-analyzerMuch has been made in recent years by businesses to mine the data and monitor the behavior of their customers. Although the internet penetration and growth expectations are pretty high in mostly rich or emerging countries located around the Persian Gulf, not as much attention is paid to monitoring user attitudes in the Arabic world.

Backed by $500K from unnamed local investors, Crowd Analyzer aims to examine Arabic-language posts on social-media sites and tell businesses who the people are and how they feel in order to better target their marketing campaigns.

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Augmented Pixels aims to increase the popularity of augmented-reality marketing campaigns

augmentedpixelsIt is not enough any more for people to be able to manipulate information on screens. We may not quite be ready to create holograms just yet, but companies like Ukrainian Augmented Pixels are working to develop technology that will enable clients to boost marketing campaigns by allowing customers to “interact” with products sold.

The white-label service offered by Augmented Pixels is not cheap, setting clients back $12-20K, depending on the size and nature of the project. On their website, the company offers links to simple apps and games that they have developed, but their main business is in B2B solutions for retailers, real estate, and event-marketing.

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Hashtago rewards users for engaging with branded hashtags

hashtago-logoIn recent years, hashtags have become ubiquitous as services like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and others have turned to them as a means for organizing posts. Advertisers, too, have attempted to attract customers by created sponsored hashtags on Twitter, inserting them into various TV shows, and so on. There are already services that offer companies the ability to create marketing campaigns and provide analytics on user-engagement, but Ukrainian Hashtago wants to take the concept a step further by helping brands to reward users.

At the moment, Hashtago is exploring a few different development routes. The first service would allow businesses to attract visitors to branded-hashtags by offering some sort of reward for doing so. Having racked-up enough points by engaging with the brand, the user could then convert them in exchange for gifts.

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App Annie acquires Distimo, raises $17M in new funding

AppAnnieDistimoApp Annie announced that it has acquired Distimo, a major rival in app analytics and market data sector, in exchange of an undisclosed amount of cash and equity. The company also announced that it has raised a new $17 million round of funding from its existing investors.

As a part of the acquisition deal, the Netherlands-based Distimo’s founders will take key roles within the App Annie team. Distimo’s offices in Utrecht will now become App Annie’s European R&D center. 

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Uber officially launches in Riyadh, preparing for Jeddah

riyadh-uberMobile-operated private car service Uber announced the official launch of its operations in Saudi capital Riyadh after 3 months of successful testing. The company is now preparing to add Jeddah to the list. Together with Riyadh’s addition, the number of cities where Uber operates to almost 100.

The on-demand car service which is used via smart mobile apps has been expanding incredibly fast in last couple of months, launching in new markets while strengthening the leadership position in the US. Saudi market is company’s third in Arab world, after Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Doha in Qatar.

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YotaPhone comes to Middle Eastern markets via Jumbo stores

yotaphoneFew newcomers in last February’s Mobile World Congress have managed to sustain the popularity afterwards. Launched in the UK only two weeks after, the dual-screened, e-ink smartphone YotaPhone was one of the winners of the show, becoming the favorite of many gadget loving visitors.

Capitalizing on this popularity, and as a part of aggressive growth strategies, YotaDevices has now opened up to the Middle Eastern markets via local retailer Jumbo Electronics under an exclusive agreement to sell YotaPhone with Arabic language options.

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Zendesk valued over $700M in NYSE debut

zendesklogo-webrazziCloud-based customer solution provider Zendesk seems winning in its first day at the New York Stock Exchange. The stock price which was initially set at $9 rose above $11 in just an hour following the company’s debut at NYSE.

Having partly boosted by the recent acquisition of Singaporean software developer Zopim , Zendesk’s market value is now hovering around $770 million at $11 stock price. At the time of writing, the price was running above $12,50.

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The fastest-growing German startup Run a Shop to expand globally with no VCs on board

runashop-logoLast month, The Next Web named Germany affiliate-publisher service Run a Shop as the fastest-growing German startup in Germany. It had an incredible growth-rate in revenue of 8,357% between 2011 and 2013, accomplished with the founders’ own resources. The company is now operating in over 19 countries and does not seem to go for a VC investment any time soon.

Launched in 2012 by Marius Schulze and Friedrich Neuman, the startup offers content providers a system for monetizing their service through ads and widgets. The content providers, possibly blogs or other sites, draw the traffic and have the option of earning some money by directing visitors to affiliated online stores.

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Synetiq Introduces reportedly the first crowdsourced neuromarketing platform

synetiq-mindr-screenFor decades, focus groups and market research have offered value to advertisers as they attempt to gauge the effectiveness of the commercials they produce. Now, Hungarian Synetiq wants to take the idea to new levels, as it introduces the first crowdsourced neuromarketing platform to allow advertisers to assess responses to ads by measuring brain waves.

Backed by $40K in seed funding from participating in the fall 2013 program at Finnish Startup Sauna, the company now intends to open an office in Silicon Valley this year and branch out to new customers.

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Love Home Swap offers an upscale travel club for short-term renters

love-home-swap-sampleWith an estimated market of more than $23 billion in the United States alone, vacation rentals represent an extremely large opportunity. Some services, such as Airbnb, Onefinestay and Housetrip, attempt to offer renters the comfort of home-based vacations by allowing them to swap or rent out.

Founded in 2011 by Debbie Wosskow and Simon Walker, London-based Love Home Swap goes a step further and attempts to develop a tiered “travel club” by offering points-based swaps, connections over Facebook, and luxury services to premium members. Having reached 54,000 listings in 160 countries, the service has established itself as one of the top members-only clubs for renters.

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