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the tur­bu­lent times. They set up Syria Scholar in 2015 as an online ed­u­ca­tion plat­form us­ing avail­able, open-source soft­ware to build the web­site that in­cludes a plat­form for video-con­fer­enc­ing, al­low­ing them to run the two-way tu­to­ri­als. Ini­tially, they were the only two tu­tors, which later in­creased since more tu­tors from the UK reg­is­tered to pro­vide tu­to­ri­als bring the aca­demic com­mu­ni­ties in the UK and Syria closer to­gether. Con­sid­er­ing the un­re­li­able in­ter­net con­nec­tion in Syria, all tu­to­ri­als are recorded so that stu­dents can down­load them at their con­ve­nience. Many stu­dents tend to hud­dle around a com­puter from an in­ter­net con­nec­tion to fol­low the tu­to­ri­als. In 2015, they re­ceived The OXTALENT prize for outreach and pub­lic en­gage­ment from the Univer­sity of Ox­ford. Coun­try of ori­gin: Syria Date of launch: 2015 Cat­e­gory: Ed­u­ca­tion

In ev­ery is­sue, we bring you a list of star­tups from the MENA re­gion or founded by peo­ple from the re­gion that you should keep an eye on. This Spring, we have se­lected a broad range of star­tups. The Beirut-based Ra­tion­alpix­els are pi­o­neer­ing the next evo­lu­tion of dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing in the MENA with a unique ser­vice: dig­i­tal prod­uct place­ment in videos. Un­like dis­play ad­ver­tis­ing, prod­uct place­ment in movies or videos is un­block­able and un­skip­pable, so ad­ver­tised prod­ucts reach more view­ers. Dig­i­tiz­ing the process makes it even more attractive since it can be done in the post-pro­duc­tion phase, so there are no con­straints of time, and no missed op­por­tu­ni­ties. Ra­tion­alpix­els aims to stream­line and fa­cil­i­tate the process, de­liv­er­ing the same re­sults in one sixth of the time. The ad-space in­side the video blends and moves with the cam­era and light­ing. This so­lu­tion is ac­ces­si­ble to a wide range of ad­ver­tis­ers, and does not re­quire them to have ex­pe­ri­ence in dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing tech­nol­ogy. In Septem­ber 2015, Beirut’s Speed@ BDD ac­cel­er­a­tor in­jected $30,000 into Ra­tion­alpix­els – the only fund­ing it has re­ceived so far. The startup came out as one of the top 2 teams in the first batch of ac­cel­er­a­tion, and was se­lected for the Leb­net Ig­nite ac­cel­er­a­tion and men­tor­ship pro­gram in Sil­i­con Val­ley, pow­ered by the Black­box Con­nect ac­cel­er­a­tor. The founders have de­vel­oped the main tech­nol­ogy and are cur­rently fi­nal­iz­ing the write-up of a pa­tent span­ning the en­tire Pa­tent Co­op­er­a­tion Treaty – PCT (148 coun­tries). The end­prod­uct is now be­ing pi­loted with the video-on-de­mand plat­form, Cinemoz, in Beirut. Ra­tion­alpix­els are cur­rently fundrais­ing and are at ad­vanced stages of ne­go­ti­a­tions with VCS. Vinli is the world’s first open plat­form for con­nected car apps founded by Le­banese se­rial en­tre­pre­neur Mark Haidar - who had mirac­u­lously fled the 2006 war to com­plete his ed­u­ca­tion in the United States. Rem­i­nis­cent of Ap­ple’s turn of the mil­le­nium mo­bile revo­lu­tion, the com­pany is look­ing to cre­ate the ecosys­tem for au­to­mo­bile apps. Vinli’s sells an in­ter­net con­nected de­vice that plugs di­rectly into the car’s on-board di­ag­nos­tics port, which, in turn, em­pow­ers de­vel­op­ers with a wealth of data that they could har­vest to build apps. Ap­ple and Google’s for­ays into the auto sec­tor have so far been roughly limited to en­ter­tain­ment sys­tems, which do not nec­es­sar­ily com­pete with Vinli; in fact, it’s easy to imag­ine An­droid Auto and Car Play in­te­grated with Vinli. On the other hand, cer­tain man­u­fac­tur­ers al­ready offfff­fer in car con­nec­tiv­ity and smart sys­tems - think Ford Smart Mo­bil­ity. Un­like Vinli, Ford, or any other man­u­fac­turer for that mat­ter, is un­likely to breach into other man­u­fac­tur­ers’ do­main. Vinli is al­ready avail­able in sev­eral coun­tries around the globe, and has only re­cently launched in Bahrain and Le­banon. “A Tin­der for fit­ness,” the Gy­monji app is but one of many prod­ucts and ser­vices be­ing cooked up by the Gy­monji team. The US based startup cur­rently offfff­fers fit­ness en­thu­si­asts a so­cial plat­form to meet, con­nect and plan fit­ness re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties to­gether. Gy­monji’s founder, Ryan Makarem, stress­esesses that “the app is the vir­tual in­fras­truc cture, as it grows, we will build around it. ” For now though, in ad­di­tion to be­ing a niche so­cial net­work, the app offfff­fers users the abil­ity to ex­plore events around them, those can be ei­ther user gen­er­ated or com­pany spon­sored. Thirdly, the app lists nearby pro­fes­sional fit­ness train­ers. In the works are a work­out log and a sched­uler. Votek is an Ara­bic speech recog­ni­tion com­pany with of­fices in both Syria and Dubai. The com­pany’s main line of busi­ness had been sell­ing its pro­pri­etary tech­nol­ogy. But more re­cently, Votek re­leased Lou­jee, the first Ara­bic speak­ing toy. Lou­jee is a plush toy that comes to life us­ing a mo­bile de­vice - an IOS pow­ered phone or tablet. The de­vice can be in­serted into the toy; the screen be­comes its face. Lou­jee can un­der­stand both lit­er­ary speech and col­lo­quial di­alects. It re­sponds to phys­i­cal stim­uli and smartly con­verses with the user: a fact that is re­cited to­day for in­stance can be the sub­ject of a quiz to­mor­row. Moroc­can award win­ning startup Screendy con­cerns it­self with a very par­tic­u­lar im­bal­ance in the de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try. De­mand for mo­bile de­vel­op­ers is in­creas­ing at a much faster rate than sup­ply. This means that in the com­ing

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