Startup of the week: Last Link — Bubble

Startup of the week: Last Link — Bubble
(Bubble)
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Updated 05 November 2021

Startup of the week: Last Link — Bubble

Startup of the week: Last Link — Bubble

Bubble is a web proximity-based solution where users can have simultaneous conversations. Audio sharpens as you approach others and fades away as you move away; Just like real life. It is used for meetings, conferences, training, classrooms and more.

Last Link is a Technology and Production virtual event company that was established in June 2020. It came up with the idea for Bubble in May 2021.

Their biggest client in the kingdom today is Ithra in their yearly thematic innovation program, Creative Solutions. 

It was founded by Taqi Sleel, the firm's Chief Operating Officer, and his fellow co-founders Vish Kashi and Pavan Thanai.

The concept of Bubble is new and first of its kind in the Kingdom, although a few similar companies exist in Europe and North America. 

Bubble recreates real-life experience in training or workshops where participants walk into a room and move around freely to interact with one another all virtually. 

Multiple participants can simultaneously form different groups, all in one room. They can see each other but only hear those who are close to them. 

“Since the pandemic thrusted virtual solutions on us, the shift towards virtual events has been a struggle for many - not the least for the training and workshop organizers,” Sleel told Arab News.

He explained that for such events, engagement is an important factor, but has been difficult to achieve in a way that is similar to the pre-pandemic era.

“The future is already being shaped where many enterprises have already adopted virtual training and workshops, and are in the process of going fully virtual or hybrid. Not to mention, enterprises are already seeing the benefits of remote work, remote learning and virtual events.,” he said.

Since September 2020, Last Link has worked with more than 40 clients and produced more than 300 training workshops. 

“Our experience has taught us what is lacking and what needs to be improved. We know that engagement is an important factor in such settings, but virtually it is difficult for participants to engage properly,” he said. 

Bubble allows multiple presentations to be held at once. Other useful tools offered by Bubble are pinning different types of files, use of whiteboards, a megaphone to allow announcements, and chat. 

“As an example, we recently produced a training workshop for twenty participants and two instructors. Participants joined Bubble in a specific lobby area assigned by the instructors. At this stage, all users appear as bubbles with their video on. The instructors used the megaphone, which enabled them to speak to all participants irrespective of where in the lobby the bubbles (participants) were,” he explained.

“Upon informing the participants about the task, they formed small groups in each corner of the lobby and embarked on the task. The instructors could easily oversee the work, and move effortlessly among the groups to follow the discussions as well as provide support for the participants. When the participants finished the task they moved to the center of the lobby,” he added.

Bubble is currently in beta and has more than 25 enterprises using the product today and is officially launching in January 2022. 


Egypt’s Ghazl El Mahalla first football club to list on MENA stock exchange in early February

Egypt’s Ghazl El Mahalla first football club to list on MENA stock exchange in early February
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 13 sec ago

Egypt’s Ghazl El Mahalla first football club to list on MENA stock exchange in early February

Egypt’s Ghazl El Mahalla first football club to list on MENA stock exchange in early February

RIYADH: Egypt's Ghazl El Mahalla will become the first football club to list on the Egyptian Exchange, known as EGX, in early February 2022, Almal reported citing the company’s head. 

Ghazl El Mahall is currently owned by the Egyptian El Mahalla Spinning and Weaving Co, and Ali Al-Abbasi said the listing of the company would take the burden of football off the firm.

The football club is offering over 60 percent of its capital and will raise around 135 million Egyptian pounds ($8.6 million).

The club will release the prospectus for its initial public offering on the Egyptian stock exchange before the end of January. 

It will become the first club to establish an independent joint stock company in Egypt, in accordance with the new sports law, he noted. 

Egypt’s new sports law was issued as part of the ministry of youth affairs and sports’ efforts to motivate investors, attract investments, and encourage clubs and sports bodies to establish companies.

Ghazl El Mahalla is one of Egypt's biggest clubs, but has not won the country's premier league since 1973.

 


Saudi SABIC Agri-Nutrients completes $320m acquisition amid expansion efforts

Saudi SABIC Agri-Nutrients completes $320m acquisition amid expansion efforts
Updated 2 min ago

Saudi SABIC Agri-Nutrients completes $320m acquisition amid expansion efforts

Saudi SABIC Agri-Nutrients completes $320m acquisition amid expansion efforts

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian petrochemical firm SABIC Agri-Nutrients has completed a SR1.2 billion ($320 million) partial acquisition of Dubai-based ETG Inputs Holdco Ltd.

The homegrown fertilizer producer is to takeover 49 percent of ETG Inputs Holdco’s share capital, it said in a bourse statement.

This comes as part of the company’s strategy to strengthen its presence in global markets and move closer to its customers.

SABIC Agri-Nutrients noted that the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other terms and conditions.

The financial impact of the acquisition is expected to roll out on the company’s financial statements during the second half of the ongoing fiscal year, it added.

ETG Inputs Holdco specializes in the field of blending and distributing fertilizers and seeds. It directly sells to farmers and end customers across several countries in Africa.

 


JPMorgan merges EU operations into single German business

JPMorgan merges EU operations into single German business
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 7 min 24 sec ago

JPMorgan merges EU operations into single German business

JPMorgan merges EU operations into single German business
  • Channelling most of its EU business through a single entity will make it cheaper for JPMorgan to operate

American banking giant JPMorgan has merged most of its European Union businesses into a single entity in Germany, it said on Monday, seeking to make its business in the bloc more competitive after Britain’s departure.


The bank said it had simplified its European structure by merging its Luxembourg and Irish entities into German business JP Morgan AG.


JPMorgan said the new combined operation “will be among the five largest banking legal entities in Germany” and go into the top 20 of those supervised by the European Central Bank.

It said it would have a total capital base of about 34 billion euros ($38.51 billion).


Major US banks have been reorganizing their European operations since Brexit because they can no longer serve EU clients out of London.

Channelling most of its EU business through a single entity will make it cheaper for JPMorgan to operate by reducing how much capital it needs to hold in total and combining different pools of liquidity.


The reorganization of the group’s EU legal entity structure does not involve any change to its existing office locations, JPMorgan added.


Lamborghini dedicates $1.7bn in move to electric models

Lamborghini dedicates $1.7bn in move to electric models
Lamborghini Aventador SV. Image: Shutterstock
Updated 26 min 21 sec ago

Lamborghini dedicates $1.7bn in move to electric models

Lamborghini dedicates $1.7bn in move to electric models
  • Lamborghini’s shift is heavily backed by Volkswagen’s heavy spending on new and up to date technologies

RIYADH: Italian luxury sports cars and SUVs manufacturer, Lamborghini has devoted 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to shift its lineup from pure combustion vehicles to plug-in hybrids as of 2023, Bloomberg reported.

The sports car manufacturer is preparing for the final round of combustion engine models such as the Aventador.

This comes as the Italian producer aims to introduce its initial plug-in hybrid car in 2023 amid efforts to fully convert its lineup to battery powered models by 2024.


Other car brands such as Ferrari NV and Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings Plc have faced some challenges to maintain their brand identity amid the electrification process.

On the other hand, Lamborghini’s shift is heavily backed by Volkswagen’s heavy spending on new and up to date technologies.


Lamborghini's first electric car design is still a work in progress; however, the manufacturer is considering a four door model convenient for day to day use.

The supercar brand hit record deliveries in 2021 and said 2022 had seen a very good start.

The firm’s full year earnings — to be unveiled in March — will be “surprising to everyone in a positive sense,” Bloomberg reported, citing chief executive officer Stephan Winkelmann.


French power company EDF to produce lowest amount of nuclear energy in 30 years: NRG matters

French power company EDF to produce lowest amount of nuclear energy in 30 years: NRG matters
Updated 59 min 22 sec ago

French power company EDF to produce lowest amount of nuclear energy in 30 years: NRG matters

French power company EDF to produce lowest amount of nuclear energy in 30 years: NRG matters

RIYADH: Germany’s concerns over the EU’s nuclear power plans are causing uncertainty in the sector, while initiatives by businesses such as Lamborghini, Fortescue, and Kufpec show some companies are taking green concerns on board.

Looking at the bigger picture:

  • The German government has formally vocalized its objection — in a letter to Brussels — regarding the EU taxonomy plan which aims to recognize nuclear power plants as a green energy source, Reuters reported. The planned move is considered perilous, costly, and lacks safety requirements in the eyes of the German government.

Through a micro lens:

  • Italian manufacturer of luxury sports cars and SUVs, Lamborghini has devoted 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) to shift its lineup from pure combustion vehicles to plug-in hybrids as of 2023, Bloomberg reported. The sports car manufacturer aims to introduce its initial plug-in hybrid car in 2023 amid efforts to fully convert its lineup to battery powered models by 2024.
  • Australian iron ore firm Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. has acquired $223 million of the technology and engineering business service Williams Advanced Engineering Ltd., allowing it to access battery technology, Bloomberg reported.The fourth largest iron producer worldwide will use the acquisition to propel the advance of net zero emissions as well as having electric haul trucks instead of diesel models.
  • Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co., better known as Kufpec, has announced its first discovery in an offshore block of natural gas and a light form of oil — known as condensate — in Indonesia, Bloomberg reported. This comes after triumphant drilling in 88 meters of water in the Anambas-2X well.
  • Nuclear electric power generation company Electricite de France SA will generate the least amount of atomic power in 30 years due to technical issues in its plants, Bloomberg reported. This will diminish neighboring countries' access to French power exports, posing a great risk for energy security across the European continent.