ikoo strengthens its position with $3m investment and support from STC Ventures
ikoo to explore more markets; unveil host of new initiatives soon
ikoo, the integrated digital marketing solution provider with the largest reach in the Middle East and North Africa [MENA], announced a major partnership with STC Ventures, backed by Saudi Telecom Company, which has invested US$3 million in the company.
STC Ventures' investment is aimed at funding ikoo's new initiatives and future growth including its video network, performance network, audience data and other expansion plans. ikoo also announced plans to explore new markets and unveil new initiatives soon as part of its regional expansion strategy.
The investment and involvement of STC Ventures, which is managed by Iris Capital, reflects the huge potential offered by digital and video marketing across MENA. The announcement comes close on the heels of ikoo announcing the launch of the region's first and only Arabic Video Network in Beta in late 2012. Digital advertising spend in MENA is growing at a fast pace, a trajectory projected to continue as brands inevitably shift more ad spend online; with digital's share of total ad spend also still extremely modest compared to its share of media consumption and also to rates seen in more developed advertising marketplaces. In addition overall ad spend per capita remains a fraction of spend per head in the US and Europe, which provides strong scope for further overall market growth.
Commenting on the partnership with STC Ventures, Dr. Fahad Bin Mushayt, VP Corporate Strategy at Saudi Telecom, said: 'STC, through its STC Ventures fund initiative established in 2012, seeks to invest in and support leading, innovative businesses in the fields of information technology, telecommunications and the broader digital economy, across the MENA region; with the aim of stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation and economic development, creating new job opportunities, growing the infrastructure for a knowledge based economy, and providing access to new technologies and services. From this point of view, Saudi Telecom is extremely proud to support ikoo, a leading player in the high growth digital marketing and advertising sector, serving key publishers and advertisers across the GCC and wider MENA region”.
Commenting on the investment, Angus Paterson, Partner of STC Ventures said “ikoo represents a leading platform in the regional online advertising space, with a strong position in core display advertising, providing unique access and support to local publishers, and is also at the forefront
of developing new innovative advertising tools in fast growth areas such as performance, video and programmatic advertising. STC Ventures is delighted to announce this substantial investment in ikoo, in partnership with existing investors Jabbar Internet Group and Tiger Global, and together looks forward to providing financial and strategic support to the business in its future development.”
Samih Toukan, Chairman of Jabbar Internet Group, said: “Jabbar Internet Group is very excited to welcome STC Ventures as a partner in ikoo. ikoo is a leading digital advertising platform reaching millions of users in the region. It has a wide range of services and digital solutions that helps advertisers reach their targeted audience effectively. The investment by STC Ventures will give ikoo the needed growth capital to solidify its position and conquer new markets.”
“ikoo is committed to innovation” added Isam Bayazidi, CEO of ikoo. “This new partnership is expected to go a long way in reinforcing our market leadership across the region and beyond”