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While there’s plenty of competition among streaming video startups here in the U.S., the rest of the world is ripe for the picking.
That’s why Telly announced today that it’s acquiring “Netflix of the Arab world” Sha-Sha Entertainment, along with a $8 million second round of funding. We first reported on Telly’s fundraising efforts back in October, prior to obtaining even half of the round’s final total.)
“The Middle East is a young population [of] power users of online video and social media,” Telly founder and CEO Mo Al Adham told VentureBeat. “The gulf region specifically has a pretty high GDP/Capital and high disposable income, not to mention the lack of alternate premium content providers.”
Al Adham added that services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime don’t operate within this particular region, leaving plenty of opportunity for Telly to grow — which is why its acquisition of Sha-Sha makes sense. The only real competition the startup faces, he said, comes from a handful of telecom companies that offer some streaming video on-demand services.
Telly, which previously called itself TwitVid until relaunching as a social video site back in 2011, algorithmically generates videos that interest you via Telly’s website and mobile apps. The videos you see are based on what your friends have liked, posted, watched, and discussed. It competes with a slew of other services with similar functionality here in the U.S., but as Al Adham very few within the middle east and African regions.
As the new owners of Sha-Sha Entertainment, Telly users within the middle east and northern African regions (22 countries total) will be able to mix in Hollywood and Arabic video content along with all the other videos shared and generated through social networks.
Al Adham said the startup plans to use the new capital to open a new office in Dubai, hire additional talent, and continue developing its technology. The new round’s investors include Cinemagic and Lumia Capital, as well as existing investors Azure Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Felicis Ventures, and Georges Harik.
Founded in 2009, the San Francisco, Calif.-based startup has raised a total of $21 million in funding to date.
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