Yela, a platform that aims to connect fans and celebrities via personalized video messages, has secured $2.2 million from global investors to support its launch in its first pre-seed round of funding.
The list of investors includes Justin Mateen (co-founder of Tinder), Sean Rad (co-founder of Tinder), and Razmig Hovaghimian (a board member at Rakuten). The creators of the platform, Alex Eid and Marc Dakroub, claim that they’ve been able to secure the backing of such high-profile investors by offering exclusive access to A-list celebrities, including Amr Diab, Haifa Wehbe, Youssra, Ahmed El Sakka, Mohamed Henedy, Chico, Ghada Addel, Amr Youssef, and Mostafa Shaban, just to give a few examples.
Yela differs from its main competition, American video-sharing website Cameo, by targeting the MENA and South Asia market, whose population is relatively young and tech savvy.
“We’re differentiated in the region we cover, the type of creators we are onboarding, and the audience we are targeting,” said Yela CEO Alex Eid. “Also, the team is made up of second- and third-time venture backed entrepreneurs, with a passion for the product.”
Because Yela is currently in private beta, users are required to join a waiting list to get early access and unlock rewards. The first 5,000 users were able to secure priority access to the platform and get $100 worth of credits as a bonus. Now, up to 10,000 users can get only $40 worth of bonus credits. Supported payment methods include Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and PayPal.
Platforms like Yela can be seen as products of the ongoing monetization of human interactions, which has been made possible by the internet and online payment methods. Their usage has increased significantly during lockdowns, likely as a result of people craving social interactions and being more willing to pay for them.
Emirates Airline To Invest $2 Billion On Major Upgrades
Emirates plans a huge retrofit on its fleet and an upgrade to the inflight experience.
Emirates Airline has just announced plans to improve its inflight experience for passengers. The carrier has budgeted $2 billion to refit the interiors of over 120 of its aircraft, aiming for a more modern aesthetic for cabins, along with better food choices, modern inflight entertainment options, and a significant service overhaul.
Emirates is well known for its premium service, so this overhaul is an ambitious decision, as many other airlines are trying their hardest to increase revenues and reduce costs.
“Emirates is flying against the grain and investing to deliver ever better experiences to our customers. Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with the assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground. Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level,” says Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline.
The investment aims to ensure Emirates stays on top form, with many of the upgrades scheduled to materialize quickly. For the physical refit, aircraft are scheduled to enter the Emirates Engineering Center in November. So what can passengers expect once work is complete? The most significant change will be to aircraft interiors, where flyers of all classes will immediately spot new flooring, paneling, and reupholstered seats.
As well as a physical overhaul, the airline plans to upgrade entertainment systems, adding a “Cinema in the Sky” experience, complete with a bespoke app. In addition, better meal choices will reflect changing dietary preferences, including a new vegan menu and a nod to sustainability — though there will remain a strong luxury vibe to the proceedings, as the company has entered an exclusive agreement to offer Dom Perignon vintage champagne on board, as well as delicacies such as Persian caviar.
Though many of the improvements may seem trivial, Emirates is hoping that along with a huge cabin overhaul, their overall flight experience will continue to make travel a pleasurable experience, elevating their service above the competition.