RIYADH: Whenever Saudi Arabia hosts major events, international companies are often hired to fly in and provide the technology.
But thanks to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan, that trend is changing and a Saudi startup is now leading the way.
For this year’s inaugural Jeddah Season, the largest entertainment festival ever hosted in the Kingdom, organizers have partnered with a local startup.
HalaYalla, a Saudi ticketing and event management platform, was selected as the key technology partner for the entire festival.
With 150 local and international events to manage, many of which are being held for the first time in the Kingdom, HalaYalla is providing the festival with a leading digital platform with blockchain technology to manage their ticketing and management needs.
The award of this partnership is the result of a fantastic track record in the industry for the past two years. If you have been to a major entertainment event in the Kingdom in the past 18 months, it is highly likely that you have used their platform in some way.
Since the start of 2018, HalaYalla’s technologies have been responsible for managing over 150 events across the country with more than 300,000 tickets sold.
Events powered by HalaYalla have included World Wrestling Entertainment’s Royal Rumble, the General Sports Authority’s (GSA) E-Sports Cup, the Baloot Championship, the Riyadh Marathon and many others.
The startup’s crown jewel has been the Sharek visa platform.
Developed and deployed by HalaYalla, the platform has effectively revolutionized how event organizers in the Kingdom promote their ideas to an international audience. Sharek allows international visitors to not only buy their tickets, but also apply for their tourist visa in the same checkout.
Launched alongside last year’s Formula-E grand prix, the platform has been a significant success for HalaYalla and their partnership with the GSA.
The grand prix included three days of concerts, a local festival and the first race of the international Formula-E season. With 42,000 tickets sold through Sharek, the event brought visitors from all around the world to experience Saudi Arabia in a way few others have.
This streamlining of both ticket sales and visa applications is a great example of the innovative approach HalaYalla brings to the Saudi market. This is a major reason why Jeddah Seasons have partnered with HalaYalla, and why even Virgin Box Office is currently selling tickets for Jeddah Season events through its platform.
HalaYalla also provides organizers with live dashboards and reporting capabilities to monitor every aspect of an event, helping them make sure they deliver the experiences they promise their customers.
HalaYalla founder Nadeem Bakhsh said: “I believe Jeddah Season is an incredible initiative and will really help us transform the experiences of people living in the Kingdom. As a Saudi company, we’re proud to play such a pivotal role in this transformation. It’s a great recognition of the innovative technology breakthrough achieved by the HalaYalla team over the past few years and our record of disrupting the event and entertainment market.”
Bakhsh added: “This is still the beginning. We’re going to revolutionize where and how people find, join and even create entertainment events, not just in the Kingdom, but around the world. I know we can do it because the talent and passion for building something that’s never been done before is right here in Saudi Arabia.”
• The Saudi startup can be followed on Twitter @HalaYalla