Capillary Technologies eyes Saudi market

Capillary Technologies Founder and CEO Aneesh Reddy with Veda Holding Founder Fahad Alhokair signed the joint venture agreement.
Updated 23 September 2019

Capillary Technologies eyes Saudi market

Capillary Technologies, a software product company headquartered in Singapore, has entered the Saudi market, offering cloud-based software solutions to retailers and manufacturers.

Capillary has signed a joint venture agreement with Veda Holding, leading to the formation of a Saudi entity named “Capillary Arabia.”

The Riyadh-based Veda Holding was established in 2017 by Fahad Alhokair.

Capillary Technologies Founder and CEO Aneesh Reddy told Arab News: “Capillary is a 11-year-old firm, we started in 2008 from India and expanded to about 30 countries globally. We have 14 offices across China, Middle East and Southeast Asia.

“Over the decade, we have worked with hundreds of retailers, consumer brands and manufacturers on cloud-based software solutions, helping them to collect their customer data, derive actionable insights, connect one-on-one with consumers, set up an omni-channel store and build loyalty with consumers.” 

He said artificial intelligence forms an integral part of their platform. “We have built the VisitorMetrix product, which accurately measures store visitors, gives detailed information on visitor demographics and stores conversion metrics. In the online world there are many tools available. We are the first one to build an offline click-stream, helping retailers know everything from store visit to purchase,” Reddy added.

He said that the company has worked with a number of large retailers in the Kingdom, such as Pizza Hut, Majid Al-Futtaim Group, KFC, Landmark Group, Herfy, and Alhokair group.

The company has had operations in the Middle East since 2012 and was dealing with customers in Saudi Arabia through its Middle East office.

“Saudi Arabia seemed to be a market where we did not have much of a presence, which is why we felt we should do a joint venture with one of the larger groups here and we saw great synergy with Veda Holding,” Reddy said.

“Under the joint venture with Veda, the product and the technology comes from us, while the local understanding and support comes from Veda. So it is a win-win situation for customers as most customers want us to have a local presence here and provide local support,” he added.

Reddy said consumers in the Kingdom are digitally aware as Saudi Arabia has one of the highest number of internet users in the world (80 percent).

“A very clear goal of Saudi Vision 2030 is the generation of more jobs in the retail sector and the focus on organized retail penetration up to 80 percent. This is aligned with what we aim to do in the retail market here. Vision 2030 also focuses on e-commerce and our products help in accelerating digital transformation in the Kingdom,” he added.


KAUST research to boost global date fruit production

Updated 16 October 2019

KAUST research to boost global date fruit production

Today on World Food Day, a team of plant scientists from King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) has begun a major project to improve global date palm production and protection.

This project is the first time that the date palm genome has been studied so comprehensively. Dr. Ikram Blilou, professor of plant science at KAUST, and her research team in Saudi Arabia have collected samples from ancient date palms in the historical farm of Al-Dabeta, by the Quba Mosque in Madinah. 

“Our main goal is to improve date palm fruit production and quality in the Kingdom. With more than 2,000 existing varieties globally from which 400 grow in Saudi Arabia, we are concentrating on the ‘Ajwa’ date variety, because of its important societal and religious value for Saudi Arabia in particular,” said Dr. Blilou. 

Earlier this year, Dr. Blilou published in the scientific journal Plant Cell, findings that provide an insight into how desert plants are able to thrive in hostile habitats. The research teams within KAUST’s Center for Desert Agriculture are creating molecular and biotechnological tools to improve date palm agriculture by sequencing the genome of the Ajwa date palm.

“The date palm is one of the few fruit trees that, remarkably, can grow in the desert, a habitat with an arid climate where extreme temperature changes and drought conditions limit plant growth,” said Dr. Blilou. 

“Within KAUST’s Center for Desert Agriculture Research we are studying date palms using advanced genome sequencing techniques and have begun to develop new breeding strategies to help palms grow faster and healthier as well as making them more resistant to pathogens and pests like the red palm weevil.” 

According to the National Palms and Dates Center (NCPD), Saudi Arabia produces an estimated 1.1 million tons of dates per year, 15 percent of the world’s date production. In addition, export of dates from Saudi Arabia grew by 11.7 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

“Despite this economic importance, basic research into the date palm, including understanding mechanisms of growth and adaptation to the desert environment, is still in its early stages mainly because of the lack of molecular tools and the challenging nature of the plant. It requires a long generation time for flowering which can be four to five years and setting fruits that take 10 to 15 years,” said Dr. Rod Wing, professor of plant science and director of the KAUST Center for Desert Agriculture.

The next step for researchers at this center is to work on generating high-quality genomes for a large number of other varieties of date palms, bringing further potential benefits for date palm agriculture around the world.