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Tue 31 Jul 2018 10:21 AM

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World's most visited Arabic website raises funding for Siri-like AI tech

Mawdoo3 serves 45 million unique users each month

World's most visited Arabic website raises funding for Siri-like AI tech
Jordanian entrepreneurs Rami Al-Qawasmi and Dr. Mohammad Jaber, founders of Mawdoo3.com, the Arabic digital encyclopedia that is often referred as the Wikipedia of the Arab world.

Mawdoo3, the world’s most visited Arabic website, has completed a $13.5 million Series B round led by UK-based Kingsway with participation from the US-based Endure Capital, it was announced on Monday.

According to Mawdoo3, the investment will allow it to expand its content and AI technology as it seeks to further its goal of enriching the Arabic language online, which constitutes just 1 percent of web content in Arabic, despite being spoken by more than 5 percent – approximately 420 million – of the world’s population.

The website, an Arabic digital encyclopedia that is often referred as the Wikipedia of the Arab world, currently serves 45 million unique users each month. Mawdoo3 includes nearly 150,000 articles online covering a variety of topics, including health, education, food and lifestyle. The site is growing rapidly, at what it says is the equivalent of two novels published on the platform every day.

Earlier this year, the company announced plans for ‘Salma’, an Arabic version of Siri and Alexa that will be deployed to answer questions from the platform, adding a new channel for consuming Arabic content.

Salma will also be used as an Arabic voice interface service for businesses in the travel, automobile, telecom and electronics sectors to allow consumers to interact with the businesses via voice.

“The world’s Arabic speakers are the most underserved online, with the availability of quality Arabic content limited and technology, particularly in voice, not having the same impact as other languages,” said Mawdoo3.com co-founder and CEO Rami Al-Qawasmi.

“Our mission is to change that and build on our strong position as the most visited daily Arabic website in the world today.”

The latest investment, Al Qawasmi added, is a validation of the platform’s potential.

“Our success is a result of the trust built over the past six years with our users, which is a motivation for us for an even greater impact in the coming years as we expand our content and the channels through which we deliver that content to the Arabic-speaking world online,” he said.