Who Are MENA’S Adtech Star­tups?


Arabnet - The Quarterly - - Industry Stories - By Na­dine Ka­haleh | @91Ka­haleh

We searched high and low for MENA’S adtech star­tups and have com­piled a list of the most ac­tive adtech star­tups that caught our at­ten­tion.

To­day’s ad­ver­tis­ers are no longer con­tented with what tra­di­tional ad­ver­tis­ing has to offfff­fer; they were once mad men, how­ever, given the tech­nolo­gies that are trans­form­ing their sec­tor, they’ve be­come math men. Brands have be­come more in­clined into adopt­ing a hu­man-cen­tric ap­proach in their ad­ver­tis­ing strate­gies; thus, they’re us­ing the re­cent ad tech­nolo­gies to sup­port their vi­sion. In fact, the dig­i­tal me­dia sec­tor has been evolv­ing across the world; we’ve got soft­wares for mea­sur­ing cam­paign efffff­fec­tive­ness, tools for au­tomat­ing me­dia buys pro­gram­mat­i­cally, plat­forms for dis­tribut­ing au­then­tic con­tent, pre­dic­tive sales and lead gen­er­a­tion tech­nolo­gies, and more. On the global scale, ad­ver­tis­ing tech­nol- ogies are giv­ing tra­di­tional ad­ver­tis­ing tech­niques a rad­i­cal makeover. Ad­ver­tis­ers are shift­ing their ad bud­gets to dig­i­tal chan­nels and Adtech com­pa­nies, an­a­lyt­ics and data are re­defin­ing tar­geted con­tent, ad cam­paigns and me­dia place­ments are tai­lor­ing ad­ver­tis­ing mes­sages to their rel­e­vant per­sonas, and more. Ththe MENA doesn’t stand lag­gardly idle in that race, but it’s still very far be­hind. The re­gion is “snail­ing” its way from tra­di­tional to dig­i­tal me­dia ad spend, as dig­i­tal stands at 10%, com­pared to a big fat 30-35% spend on print, ac­cord­ing to Mideast me­dia. The num­bers im­ply that the re­gion is yet to lever­age the tools it has at the reach of hand for an op­ti­mal ad­ver­tis­ing con­ver­sion; it is miss­ing sev­eral op­por­tu­ni­ties that ad­ver­tis­ing tech­nolo­gies can se­cure. In fact, based on Zenith’s “Ad­spend Fore­cast Septem­ber 2017” re­port, the MENA re­gion will wit­ness an 18.6% drop in ad­spend this year, and will not re­cover from the de­cline; Zenith es­ti­mated that the ad­spend will plum­met 6.3% in 2018, fol­lowed by a 0.7% in 2019. Find­ing Adtech fo­cused star­tups in the midst of this stale growth has been very chal­leng­ing, as the re­gion’s ecosys­tem is gapped by the ab­sence of such stake­hold­ers and is char­ac­ter­ized by the strong pres­ence of in­ter­na­tional play­ers who are be­hind many ac­qui­si­tions. Many of the emerg­ing Adtech star­tups we were able to find had al­ready left the pack, which left us with a very mod­est num­ber of them. So, with­out fur­ther ado, here are the Adtech star­tups that caught our at­ten­tion:

The Beirut-based startup was es­tab­lished in 2015 by Rida Sadek, and it is fo­cused on dig­i­tal prod­uct place­ment. Un­like dis­play ad­ver­tis­ing, prod­uct place­ment in movies or videos is un­block­able and un­skip­pable, so ad­ver­tised prod­ucts reach more view­ers. 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 $30K into Ra­tion­alpix­els – the only fund­ing it has re­ceived so far. Ra­tion­alpix­els are cur­rently fundrais­ing and are at ad­vanced stages of ne­go­ti­a­tions with VCS.

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