MENA’s MINLY acquires UAE-based Celebrity Platform
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Minly, a pioneering media & entertainment start-up based out of Egypt and the UAE, has announced its acquisition of Dubai-based celebrity shoutout platform Oulo. The acquisition of Oulo consolidates Minly’s position as a leading creator economy platform in the region and will accelerate Minly’s growth trajectory and customer reach. This acquisition came after Minly raised $3.6M in Seed funding backed by 4DX Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners, Global Ventures and Kepple Africa Ventures.
Co-founded in late 2020 by Mohamed El-Shinnawy, Tarek Hosny, and Bassel El-Toukhy, Minly enables users to browse public shoutouts on the platform and gives them a chance to record their reactions creating unique and authentic moments. While founded in the same year, Oulo is positioned as a video gifting platform with over 300 celebrities across Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. It has created thousands of unique video messages from leading celebrities like Bassel Khaiat, Ali Jaber, Maguy Farah, and others. The merged business will operate under the Minly brand and roll out its combined experience offerings across the entire region. As part of the transaction, Oulo’s founder & CEO, Kamal Nazha, will join Minly as Chief Commercial Officer.
Ever since the rise of virtual experiences, live streaming trends, and short-lived consumable content, startups in MENA, Turkey, and Pakistan have been getting creative in disrupting content models, finding new ways of creating organic unique content that sticks. Similar to UAE-based Starzly, Minly, and Oulo some content marketing startups in MENA focused on international celebrities and A-list influencers like Saudi-focused Yela and Pakistan-based Walee, both closing Seed rounds above $2M. While other startups took on a different form of content creation like Beirut-based Rawa.tv, the game streaming platform acquired by Medal.tv this year, and Ammand-based Bith.tv the gaming content platform offering clip sharing and integrated streaming features.
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The global creator economy market exceeds $100 billion in value and is still growing. Minly’s growth strategy for this market is developing a full-stack product suite empowering content creators to deliver meaningful experiences, across multiple mediums, to their fan base audiences. The MENA region has over 450 million people, of which 30% are between the ages of 18 to 30 – a group with a deep connection to social media, and fast contributing more to the global creator economy. Mohamed El-Shinnawy, co-founder and CEO of Minly highlighted “We are delighted to join forces with Kamal and the Oulo team. Consumers want authentic access to celebrities more than ever before, whilst stars need platforms to connect personally with their fan base. These market dynamics are very powerful, and scale is a competitive differentiator. Minly and Oulo share a common passion to create authentic enjoyable moments by connecting creators with their fans in unique ways, so we’re very excited about our future together in this fast-growing market.”
Minly’s platform currently has over 130,000 users and 1,000 celebrities, including Tamer Hosny, Fifi Abdou, and Dorra Zarrouk. Complementing its personalized video shoutouts, voice notes, and direct text messages, Minly recently launched its Minly Watch service where people can virtually attend online events performed by the region’s biggest stars, from anywhere in the world. With this new power merger, the two platforms can expand their product offering and consolidate their exceptional network of A-listers, online celebrities and influencers. In light of their exit Kamal Nazha, founder and CEO of Oulo concluded " I’ve always admired and respected the vision and execution of Minly, so I’m naturally very excited to join Shinnawy and the whole Minly team on this journey. With its top-tier technology, investors, and team members, Minly is very well positioned to develop and dominate the creator economy market in the region and beyond, and I am very motivated to ensure this happens."
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