By Karen Leigh
UAE internet startup mulling expansion into Jordan, Syria; Middle East ‘fertile ground’ for tech sites, says CTO
internet startup Yadig.com, which provides real-time feedback on restaurants
and entertainment via user reviews, is to unveil an iPhone application in the
next two weeks and a BlackBerry application next month, a critical step as the
site moves to expand its reviews to include categories from salons to
what we’re doing, you have to have a mobile app,” Johnny Huntington, Yadig’s
chief technology officer, said in an interview with Arabian Business. “[They]
go hand in hand.”
Yadig’s users will also be able to see restaurant picks in Dubai and around the
GCC by clicking on map locations, which will be available online and on mobile
devices via the new applications.
want to expand to other markets – we’re GCC based, but we also want to spread
to Jordan, Syria, the rest of the MENA region,” said CEO Saif Abdul Rahim Al
Zarouni. “We want to add [reviews for] medical services, financial services,
salons – if you come to a city, would you know where to get your hair done?
have a dashboard that shows them their review buddies, and are notified when
those users post reviews or when something new opens in their designated city.
watched its technological aspirations simmer far below the ranks of the US,
India and Europe, the Middle East is finally starting to see young tech
entrepreneurs break through.
fertile ground for startups in the Middle East,” Huntington said.
the last couple of years a lot of people have been starting up in the Middle
East. It’s still raw in terms of ideas and business, but a lot of these
dot-coms are starting to pop up,” Al Zarouni said.
28-year-old Al Zarouni, born to an Emirati father and American mother, attended
Auburn University in the US and moved back to the UAE permanently in 2004.
Yadig was founded out of frustration with existing review sites, he said.
were always asking, ‘where do you want to go tonight?’ What do you want to
eat?’ They needed a place to go that would have reviews. You might not have the
same taste as your friends and family.”
was launched last month. The site, which was self-financed, incorporates
elements of social networking portals such as Facebook and open-review sites
such as Yelp.
site currently employs ten staff, all of whom are expats.
Looking forward for the new service. Good luck.
Really likes the idea. In fact the site is looks cool and provide helpful reviews.
This is great, was waiting for this excellent website to be on my handset. from where can i get it? i'm unable to find it on Appstore nor on Blackberry Store
Have been waiting for Yadig's BB app for so long...seems the wait is finally over. Hoping the app is worth the wait!
Just wanted to take the opportunity to say YADIG indeed is a GREAT idea. I think this Middle East part was seriously missing this kinda review based site.
This is fantastic. I have really noticed a huge growth in cool sites in the region lately - Gonabit, Cobone, Social Cirlces, Duplays ect.
We are so behind the rest of the world when it comes to online, so I hope these guys really make a success out of their venture & encourage more entrepreneurs.
What a great idea... just what this region needs as we are spoilt for choice with so many restaurants to choose from!
Finally something that beats timeouts monopoly. Here's a question/suggestion. Would it have a feature where I can add my business, so people can review my business, and I can places some kind off Yadig widget on my site?Its always good to convert Users into customers, especially in this part of the world.. where online guides hardly get updated. I guess we are just few 100 years behind.
Thank you for your positive response. Currently we are working on adding more categories to our current list (bars, hotels, coffee shops. night clubs, restaurants). In the near future we would like to cover all categories from hospitals to salons to financial services and so forth. What type of business are you in so we can keep in mind the type of businesses people want to see?