The Best Of What’s Going On In MENA

The Anghami Success Story

Inspired by the success of the music streaming industry in the United States and Europe, two musically inclined entrepreneurs saw the potential for this emerging technology to make its mark among tech-savvy consumers in the Middle East. Speaking exclusively to Zawya, Eddy Maroun and Elie Habib, founders of the Cayman Islands-registered limited liability company Anghami, which has offices in Beirut and Dubai, said the increasing volume of Arabic content coupled with a rapidly expanding population with high disposable income have made Middle East a fertile ground for a start-up music business. "Having a music background and seeing the real potential of [providing music streaming] service, we decided to launch Anghami, which caters for the [Arab-speaking community] looking for strong Arabic content," said Maroun, chief executive officer of the company, who also has a wide experience in finalizing licensing deals and content supply agreements for mobile content from top artists and labels in the MENA music industry. Anghami, which received its seed capital from regional venture capital firm Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), is a mobile app that features licensed content from leading Arabic labels such as Rotana, Platinum Records, Mazzika and Melody. It also features music from major international music companies like Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner and is continuously licensing new content from major aggregators.

Habib claims that since Anghami was launched last year, it has made significant strides to become the leading music app across application stores in the MENA region. It offers the largest music catalogue catering to around 2 million users. Habib, who serves as the company's chief technology officer, was previously involved in creating the infrastructure for AFP-Naharnet, the region's first mobile news SMS and MMS service in Arabic and English. While they may enjoy an early success, both Maroun and Habib were quick to point out that Anghami's journey was anything but smooth. The executives discuss in detail the company's early days including how external funding helped them realize the potential of their business model.