N2V’s CMO Nagi Salloum announced: “there’s also digital outside desert, oil, and rich people in the Middle East.” N2V is one of the largest investment companies in Arabia focused on consumer web and mobile ventures. “There are revolutions, riots, and wars, but that’s not the only picture of the Middle East.”
According to Mr. Salloum, while there is political tension and uncertainty in the region, the Middle East’s infrastructure and pace of digital adoption are already in place to take the web and mobile industries to the next level.
“There are 58 million Internet users in Arabia,” remarked Mr. Salloum. “And Qatar has the second highest Facebook penetration in the world. We believe the Middle East can be a global player for digital in the years ahead.”
Sarah Karam, who hails from Lebanon and currently Partnerships Manager of Palo-Alto based revolutionary mobile application company ShopKick, remarked that, “Growth in e-commerce will take place in the next five years. With such a virgin digital landscape, there’s just so many opportunities for collaboration with regions in all parts of the world.” ShopKick is a revolutionary mobile app that gives consumers rewards and offers called “kicks” simply for walking into stores.
Ms. Karam also shared that, “Online’s biggest impact is in-store, and it is growing faster than e-commerce too. M-commerce will be the next wave.”
The ecosystem is quite in the early development stages, but it’s getting there, said Fuad Hawit, Co-Founder of MixBerry Media, a startup based in California. MixBerry Media currently outsources its software development to the Middle East. Mr. Hawit said, “We’ve taken advantage of the talent (in the Middle East) to create a solution while helping the company lower overhead.”