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.


Saudi banks, Dubai shares give Gulf markets a timely boost

Updated 24 January 2019
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Saudi banks, Dubai shares give Gulf markets a timely boost

  • The Dubai index was up by 0.9 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, adding 2.1 percent and its largest listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 2.2 percent
  • Nasdaq-listed DP World increased 0.7 percent after increasing its stake in its Australia unit

DUBAI: The Dubai stock market snapped a three-day losing streak on Wednesday, boosted by its financial and property shares, while Saudi Arabia rose on the back of its banks.
The Dubai index was up by 0.9 percent with Emirates NBD, its largest bank, adding 2.1 percent and its largest listed developer Emaar Properties gaining 2.2 percent. Gulf Arab economies are expected to grow at a slower pace than previously forecast, a quarterly Reuters poll of economists found, as oil output cuts, lower crude prices and weaker global growth put pressure on regional economies. Amlak Finance rose 2.2 percent after announcing a renegotiation of restructuring terms with its financiers to allow more flexibility in adapting to “current market conditions.” Nasdaq-listed DP World increased 0.7 percent after increasing its stake in its Australia unit.
The port operator will spend at least $250 million buying back some shares in its Australian port terminals unit. Saudi Arabia’s index rose 0.8 percent, with nine out of 10 banks rising.
Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.6 percent and Samba Financial Group closed 1.7 percent higher. Petrochemical investor Alujain added 1.5 percent after an update on the fire at its affiliate’s plant.
The company said it now expects the NATPET plant to start operating all units by the end of September.
The Egyptian blue-chip index was up 0.2 percent with its largest listed bank Commercial International Bank gaining 4.2 percent.
The Egyptian Exchange on Wednesday canceled all transactions made the previous day in local firms Sixth of October Development and Investment Company (SODIC) and Madinet Nasr for Housing and Development (MNHD).
The move followed SODIC’s decision against a takeover of MNHD and involved their shares being suspended on Wednesday as the bourse reset prices. Global Telecom Holding jumped by 10 percent before trading on its shares were suspended, pending a statement from the company after VEON Ltd, a major shareholder in the firm, said it was considering taking it private.