What will be the next Arab start-up to exit?
In tomorrow's The National, I write about TwitVid, the "YouTube for Twitter" that just launched an advertising platform that it hopes can help monetise its Twitter service. (Update: The article can be viewed here)
The website was created by Mohammed al Adham and Adil Lalani in a dorm room back in 2008 while studying at the University of Waterloo in Canada (notable for also being the home of Research In Motion's BlackBerry as well as yours truly).
Since it went live back in 2009, it has garnered an impressive 1 million videos uploaded and "over" 10 million videos watch. All this from a couple of entrepreneurs who split their time between their home base of San Francisco and their second home in Amman, where it seems every interesting Arab start-up hails from.
It has also received funding support from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, one of the biggest venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, Georges Harik, Aydin Senkut as well as Maktoob founder Samih Toukan and Aramex chief executive Fadi Ghandour.
As Twitter is basking in the limelight as the hottest web property around, it is no surprise that startups such as TwitVid (and Tweetie, the mobile/desktop app that Twitter recently acquired) are enjoying their own level of success.
So, if I were to put on my psychic prediction hat (which I know I've got around here somewhere...), I'd place good money that TwitVid would be getting some serious interest from the Google's, Microsoft's and even Twitter's of the world.
I asked Mr al Adham if any major tech companies have sniffed around and this is what he had to say:
We've been approached by at least one company in this space but we think there's been a lot of room to grow, he said.
The vision here that we have in the company is that advertising in the internet is very stagnated with all these banner ads all over the place. There's not a lot of innovation there.
The best reason why I think TwitVid will make it big is that it immediately thought outside of the Arab world and focused on a global product, in this case Twitter.
While its Arab connections are rather loose (founded in Canada, based in San Francisco while maintaining an office in Amman), it still is a great case of regional innovation and a novel test case for any other like-minded entrepreneurs looking to make a splash on the web.
Published: July 13, 2010 04:00 AM