Lebanese virtual assistant to help diabetics has big plans to go global

The team behind the Lebanese smartphone app Spike for diabetics claim their GITEX Future Stars prize. (Supplied)
Updated 18 October 2018
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Lebanese virtual assistant to help diabetics has big plans to go global

  • The Spike virtual assistant monitors a patient’s daily behavior, giving timely reminders and tips about insulin and food
  • Spike won the GITEX Future Stars competition on the final day of the annual technology gathering in Dubai

LONDON: A Lebanese startup has bagged a $100,000 prize for inventing a smartphone app to help diabetics to manage blood sugar levels.
The “Spike” virtual assistant monitors a patient’s daily behavior, giving timely reminders and tips about insulin and food.
It won the GITEX Future Stars competition on the final day of the annual technology gathering in Dubai this week which saw 24 startups from around the world battle it out for the top prize.
The app can store the patient’s data for further analysis.
Ziad Alame, the 25-year-old founder of Spike, said: “I was very stressed before my pitch as the competition was tough, but I am so happy I made it as the winner.
“With the prize money we will invest heavily in advertising, growing the business, making it more solid. We’ll also look at partnerships. Our plan is to go global.”
In the Middle East and North Africa in 2017 38.7 million 20 to 79-year-olds were living with diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Close to half — 49.1 percent — of these cases were undiagnosed.
Other category winners at the tech show included “Labyah” from Saudi Arabia, which won the best social impact startup award.
It aims to make therapy easier by connecting individuals with psychologists via an app that allows callers to remain anonymous.
The best youth startup award was won by Oliv from the UAE, an intern recruitment portal that helps university students and recent graduates in the UAE find internships, part-time jobs and graduate jobs.


Kuwait Projects Co. hires Goldman Sachs for sale of OSN — sources

Updated 21 November 2018
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Kuwait Projects Co. hires Goldman Sachs for sale of OSN — sources

DUBAI: Kuwait Projects Co. (KIPCO), the Gulf state’s largest investment company, has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on the sale of its majority stake in pay-television operator OSN, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
OSN, which this year signed the first partnership deal in the region with Netflix, posted a 71 percent drop in income in the three months to Sept. 30, according to KIPCO’s latest financial results.
KIPCO and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
KIPCO said in the results, released last week, that the company’s board had approved initiating a plan to divest its 60.5 percent equity interest in Panther Media Group, also known as OSN, and had engaged an international investment banker for the purpose. It did not disclose the name of the banker.
With the rights to broadcast into countries across the Middle East and North Africa, OSN has more than 180 channels, according to its website. Its other shareholder is Mawarid Group.
OSN faces subdued demand in its core markets due to piracy, geopolitical factors and fiscal reforms by governments which have led to sizeable expatriate populations leaving some of its core markets, said Anuj Rohtagi, director of group financial control at KIPCO in KIPCO’s third-quarter earnings conference call on Nov. 15. He added OSN was taking action to cut costs and attract new customers.
It is not the first time KIPCO has explored offloading at least some of its stake in OSN. In 2014, it said it planned to start the process for an initial public offering of OSN shares.