Starzplay receives $25M debt financing from Ruya Partners

Starzplay, the on-demand video streaming service for the MENA region, has secured $25M in debt financing from Abu-Dhabi's Ruya Partners.

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With more than 10,000 hours of content including blockbuster movies, exclusive TV shows, kids content, and Arabic series, Starzplay is available in 20 countries across MENA and Pakistan. Starzplay currently reaches over 1.8 million paying subscribers and is installed on more than six million devices.

They recently partnered with Discovery Inc. to launch discovery+, the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service across the region. Subscribers can now watch discovery+ content within a dedicated branded area across all its platforms. Starzplay also joined hands with Abu Dhabi Media to stream live UFC events and give subscribers across the region an extensive VOD content library of previous fights, shows, and interviews. 

Maaz Sheikh, Co-Founder and CEO of Starzplay said, “We are delighted to partner with Ruya Partners and secure its first investment. This new partnership demonstrates our ability to attract diverse, top-notch institutional investors as we continue to drive growth and ensure a path to profitability.

"UAE’s strong tech-entrepreneurial ecosystem and this new investment will further strengthen Starzplay's capacity to create original content, expand our geographical footprint and cement our lead status as the MENA region’s digital champion. Thanks to Ruya Partners’ investment and our current shareholders, we have the foundation on which to build our plans to list Starzplay, and create even more shareholder value.”2020 Saudi Arabia Venture Capital Report

Ruya Partners is an independent alternative investment firm focused on private credit investments in developing markets. The firm, headquartered in the Abu Dhabi Global Market, is a portfolio investment of Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, a joint venture between Mubadala and Falcon Edge Capital. 

Rashid Siddiqi, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Ruya Partners commented, “The financing for Starzplay is one of our first major investments in the tech sector in UAE. As a homegrown brand, Starzplay has disrupted the market and meets the increase in demand for home entertainment. The financing reflects our strategy of backing businesses with strong fundamentals and management teams that have a proven track of executing to plan and delivering long-term value.”

Karin Baggström, Co-founder and CFO of Starzplay said, “The financing reflects the confidence of investors in our operating model and was secured following a strong evaluation of our business model. We follow rigorous protocols in financial management that have helped us to build our operations and create value for our stakeholders. The financing will add momentum to our growth and help secure stronger market share.”

Mirza Beg, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Ruya Partners added, “All investment analysis conducted by Ruya Partners is based on stringent criteria and due diligence. We evaluated the business model of Starzplay, which shows great promise for growth, especially with the rising popularity of SVOD in the region. As a creative enterprise, backed by high-tech infrastructure, Starzplay's success is an inspiring model for other UAE-based startups.”

Starzplay's strategy is to expand its model to emerging markets, including Sub-Saharan and Francophone Africa.

The funds will be used towards strengthening their geographic and customer reach, acquiring and producing original content, and maximising long-term value for its stakeholders.

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