TypeStage aims to overhaul Arabic content with beautiful font replacements

typestage-logoThe internet has become an important tool for commerce, communication, and recreation within the past couple of decades, but has not grown equally in all parts of the world. “Language” has been a critical determinant in the equation and Oteh Mushaweh, a young graphic designer and entrepreneur from Saudi Arabia, has found that it is one of the areas in which the Arabic online community was underserved.

Whereas internet users familiar with Latin-based alphabets have access to a wide range of different fonts, Mushaweh argues that the same cannot be said for Arabic. He says there are almost 500 Arabic fonts in use today but less then 10% of them are suitable for use on the web.

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Croatia’s first incubator ZIP opts for crowdfunding to support startups

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Crowdfunding has started to gain traction as a means through which startups can obtain funding directly from the public, but most people don’t immediately think of incubators or accelerators as appealing to investors for backing. Croatian ZIP, which is the country’s first major incubator and which counts Dave McClure and Carlos Eduard Espinal as advisors, wants to change things up and offer anyone the opportunity to back their startups.

In order to raise funds for their pre-acceleration program, the incubator has started a campaign onSeedrs, a UK-based crowdfunding portal where the supporters receive equities in the projects instead of gifts or ‘thank you’ cards for their contributions.

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Codecademy announces expansion to the UK, France, Argentina, Brazil and Estonia

codecademy-new-logoCodecademy announced today that it is taking its service global with expansion to the UK, France, Estonia, Argentina and Brazil, adding, naturally, the French, Spanish and Portuguese among the user language options.

For those who has still not come across the service, the New York City-based marvel offers coding classes in a number of different programming languages free of charge.

The company also said that they are opening in their first international office in London and partnering with several NGOs and foundations for language and educational support, like Libraries without Borders to translate their service into French, Lehmann Foundation to offer the service in Portuguese,and Estonian government to help teach local schoolchildren the value of coding.

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Accel Partners appoints Fred Destin as Partner

fred-destinGlobal venture capital firm Accel Partners has announced today the appointment of Fred Destin as a Partner in London. Mostly known for successful early stage and seed investments, Destin is expected to strengthen company’s capabilities in finding the best entrepreneurs in Europe and Israel.

As a strong supporter of a wider and healthy ecosystem made up of diverse and innovative startups, Destin has been investing particularly in early stage ventures for almost 14 years now, most recently at Atlas Venture which he joined in March 2004. Previously, he was a co-founding investor of Seedcamp, where he was an active board member for 5 years, and an engaged mentor and supporter of TechStars Boston.

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Where does Amman stand in MENA startup scene? [Infographic]

jordan-thumbThanks to a very young population and lots of oil-money, the MENA region is growing fast in mobile penetration, e-commerce and digital investments. The demand for internet services is booming, as is the need to cultivate a self-sustaining business scene catering to Arab speaking audience around the world. With a stable economy that is much less dependent on oil revenues unlike many of its cousins, and a governmental policy that has led digital to create 12% of country’s GDP, Jordan vies for a leadership position in the Arab world.

An infographic prepared by Innovative Jordan in collaboration with Int@jOasis500Silicon Badia and Kharabeesh, has more impressive figures demonstrating Jordan’s achievements. For example, it has arisen to become number one place in the MENA region since 2001 in number of tech deals funded and second in amount of funds invested. Between 2001 and 2012, 900+ tech companies and startups have been founded in the country creating 84,000 new jobs (6% of total Jordanian labour force). It’s also the center of Arabic content creation.

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Three ways to capitalize on the tech skills gap

This guest post is written by Raffaela Rein, the founder and CEO of CareerFoundry, a leading vocational edtech platform in Europe for the digital economy.

tech-skill-gapIt’s no secret that the tech industry is experiencing a scarcity of talent, with jobs in tech opening up at a rate that simply can’t be filled. Daily reports reveal a dramatic lack of the right people with the right skills training.

This is no bad thing: the tech skills gap should be seen as an opportunity. We’ve put together a list of three ways in which you can capitalize on it.

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OurCrowd offers crowdfunding platform for high-end investors

ourcrowd-logoIn just over a year, Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd has gone gangbusters, raising $43 million funding for 36 companies from more than 4,000 accredited investors in 26 countries. It’s a platform open to any accredited investor (someone who earns at least $200K per year or who has a net worth of at least $1 million), but requires a minimum commitment of $10K per investment.

Jon Medved, who co-founded the platform with Steven Blumgart, explains that investors previously had essentially two options if they wished to break into the Israeli startup scene: either join a venture fund and cede control over your funds to the manager or retain your freedom and basically rely on your connections. Therefore, they decided to develop a platform to help prospective investors enter the market and make informed decisions.

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BlaBlaCar prepares to enter Turkish market, seeking country manager

blablacar2Europe’s leading ridesharing platform BlaBlaCar is preparing to open up to Turkey. A new ad listed on Webrazzi Kariyer, a Turkish job board for digital companies, says that the company is seeking a country manager who will launch Turkish BlaBlaCar website and grow the user base of the platform and the brand awareness in Turkey.

Country manger will most probably be located in Istanbul and report to Deputy Managing Director of BlaBlaCar. He will also be in charge of setting up the office and building the Turkish crew.

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UNESCO advises to go mobile to improve literacy in developing countries

unesco-reading-mobileFacebook and Google, who both have been investing huge in drones to bring mobile connection to the underdeveloped regions in the world, happen to share same ambitions with UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: To grow the use of mobile devices across the world.

A new report by UNESCO says that mobile devices, especially the most basic ones, can be perfect tools to promote literacy among people living in the poorest parts of the world.

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Tech startup’s guide to European accelerators and incubators

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For most of the visionary but broke and inexperienced tech entrepreneurs, accelerators and incubators are still the most viable sources of mentorship and cash to pay for electricity and pizzas. Though they keep growing in number and the size of funding for startups continues to increase, they are still scarce, given the huge number of entrepreneurs out there seeking tech funds.

Acceptance rates to accelerator programs are really low, even lower than average in Europe. So, it is crucial to do your homework and carefully study which accelerator offers the resources that play to your best advantage, and how you must pitch to them.

To make the task a bit quicker we compiled a list of startup accelerators and incubators in Europe with short descriptions of each. Be sure to take a look at them all to have a better idea.

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