Anghami, the first music-streaming platform in the MENA region, will soon also become the first Arab technology company to list on NASDAQ New York via a merger with Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc., a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company.
“Today, we have taken a significant step forward in our growth plans in seeking to become the region’s first Arab technology company to list on Nasdaq,” said Anghami co-founder Eddy Maroun. “Being a US-listed public company gives us access to growth capital and a global platform that is the best in the world.”
Anghami, which translates into “my tunes” in Arabic, was founded in 2012 by Maroun and his fellow Lebanese entrepreneur Elie Habib, providing convenient access to Arabic and international music alike. Over the years, the platform has become the leader in the MENA region, offering around 60 million songs to more than 70 million registered users.
In early 2021, Anghami moved its headquarters to Abu Dhabi, after a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office. The merger with Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc. implies an initial pro-forma valuation of around $220 million. The music-streaming platform will continue to operate under its name and trade under the symbol “ANGH”.
“This is a landmark transaction for the MENA region and for Vistas,” commented Saurabh Gupta, co-founder of Vistas Media Acquisition Company Inc. “The combination of Anghami and the Vistas team will be a powerful force in the media and entertainment world, and we couldn’t be prouder of the hard work from everyone to get to this stage, but our work has only just begun.”
Anghami founders would like to use the new funding to not only attract additional customers from the MENA region, but they would also like to expand into new markets and compete with services like Spotify and Deezer, both of which are significantly more popular outside the Middle East.
Stripe Enters The Middle East With Its UAE Launch
Stripe will initially only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
Stripe, a provider of online payment processing for internet business, has finally expanded to the Middle East with its official launch in the United Arab Emirates. The Irish-American company also opened an office in Dubai Internet City, allowing it to be closer to its new customer base.
At first, Stripe will only be available to UAE businesses, allowing them to accept online payments, make payouts, mitigate fraud, and attract customers from around the world.
“The UAE is a thriving hub for technology, supported by strong investor appetite, internet-savvy consumers, and an open, innovative ecosystem of business leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Matt Henderson, EMEA Business Lead at Stripe. “Our launch today also means we can now connect our global user base to the Gulf, enabling them to seamlessly expand their operations in the region.”
Stripe’s entry into the Middle East market comes just weeks after its latest round of funding, which has resulted in the company’s value jumping up to $95 billion and making it one of the most valuable fintech companies in the world.
The UAE is the perfect entry point for the online payment processing provider because the total value of digital payment transactions in the gulf country has doubled in the last two years alone, reaching $18.5 billion in 2020. If the UAE remains on the current growth trajectory, its e-commerce sector is expected to add nearly another $10 billion over the next two years.
Another factor that makes the UAE such an ideal expansion point is the fact that accepting online payments in the country has historically been incredibly challenging. Stripe provides a straightforward setup process and developer-friendly APIs, making it easy for companies of all sizes to improve their online presence.
Last year, Stripe launched in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta. The company also expanded into Africa via Nigeria technology startup Paystack. In total, Stripe currently processes hundreds of billions of dollars each year.