Startup of the Week: Dubai fashion startup Reluxable takes sustainable luxury online

Businesswoman Marie-Hélène Stavelot (L) is the founder and CEO of Reluxable, an online aggregator which brings together luxury second-hand items from across the web. (Supplied)
Businesswoman Marie-Hélène Stavelot (L) is the founder and CEO of Reluxable, an online aggregator which brings together luxury second-hand items from across the web. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 December 2021

Startup of the Week: Dubai fashion startup Reluxable takes sustainable luxury online

Businesswoman Marie-Hélène Stavelot (L) is the founder and CEO of Reluxable, an online aggregator which brings together luxury second-hand items from across the web. (Supplied)
  • The site, launched in October, sells everything from Hermes bags, to Audemar Piaget watches, to Manolo Blahnik shoes

DUBAI: Businesswoman Marie-Hélène Stavelot has taken a teenage hobby and turned it into a Dubai-based sustainable fashion technology business.

Stavelot is the founder and CEO of Reluxable, an online aggregator which brings together luxury second-hand items from across the web.

The site, launched in October, sells everything from Hermes bags, to Audemar Piaget watches, to Manolo Blahnik shoes.

It houses authorized second-hand online retailers from all over the world such as The Luxury Closet in the Middle East and North Africa, Collector Square based in Paris, and What Goes Around Comes Around from New York.

Aside from identifying a gap in the luxury market, Stavelot’s startup has sustainability at its heart.

She said: “Usually, it’s up to the eco-conscious consumer to find second-hand stores and dig for their treasures. 

“The idea for the business came to me during the pandemic when I had to spend time searching multiple sites or going to 10 different shops looking for a specific item. With Reluxable, you can search for a single item across several sites in one go to find exactly what you need.”

Shoppers are connected with multiple reputable stores online to browse women’s and men’s fashion items, clothing, shoes and bags.

Stavelot added: “In Belgium, where I grew up, I started buying and selling my luxury second-hand items when I was 17 years old. 

“Then I went through a phase of enjoying fast fashion like everyone else, because it is low cost and accessible. Now, I invest in key pieces that last.”

The Belgian-born entrepreneur also has family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and worked in banking and at a financial technology firm in Dubai before starting her business.

Stavelot leads an all-female team, which includes her sister Olivia Atembina, who is chief operating officer. She raised finance for the business from family and friends and is currently pitching to investors for $1 million to expand the team and add a shopping cart to the site to help consumers buy items across the platforms it has access to. 

An example for many women-led startups is the US-based female-focused dating app Bumble, led by CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, which in February floated on Nasdaq with an $8 billion valuation after launching in 2014.

But Stavelot is aware that attracting funding will not be easy. 

Only 2 percent of funded startups between 2014 and 2020 were led by women in the MENA region, according to figures from regional startup data platform MAGNiTT. 

Research from Dubai-based technology conference GITEX this year also revealed that more than 85 percent of global venture capital went to startups founded or led by men.

“I know I have a sound business model, but it has been difficult to secure funding,” she said. “I hope that someone like me who struggles in a male-dominated market can get support. It’s not easy, but I will persevere.”

Her venture comes at a time when there is a push to increase business sustainability across the Gulf region. 

In October, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a Middle East Green Initiative, aimed at raising SR39 billion ($10.4 billion) for an investment fund to back clean energy projects as part of efforts to reduce regional carbon emissions. 

The UAE will also host the global climate summit COP28 in 2023.

The steps are in place for online startups such as Reluxable to make their mark — one click at a time.


TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap
Updated 12 sec ago

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

RIYADH: The Saudi main index, TASI, sank to its second-largest monthly decline in 2022 in the final session of June, led by fears of interest rate hikes hitting investors’ optimism.

TASI ended June losing 11 percent, to reach 11,523 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session.  

During June, the Tadawul All Share Index suffered its worst decline in six months to reach 11,299.

This was led by a 5.43 percent fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco, and 15.47 percent decrease in the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi.

Saudi Industrial Export Co. topped the fallers list despite being the top gainer last month, down 63.87 percent.

Also adding to this was a weak performance from all listed sectors as they ended June in the red.

Another factor contributing to the performance was the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which sent oil prices on a rollercoaster, creating instability and shaking the market.

It would be pertinent to mention that despite global economic shocks, TASI managed to cross 13,000 points for the first time since 2006 in March, and maintained the level during April as it closed at 13,733.


Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May
Updated 4 min 20 sec ago

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

Saudi crude supplied a third of Japan’s oil needs in May

TOKYO: Japan’s imports of Saudi crude oil in May amounted to 27.10 million barrels, or 33.5 percent of the total in that month, according to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In April, Japan’s imports of Saudi crude oil were 38.49 million barrels — 43.9 percent of the total.

During May, Japan imported 80.81 million barrels, which was a record high of 94.5 percent, some 76.38 million barrels, provided by five Arab countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, according to the data.

Russia remained on the list of Japan’s suppliers of crude oil, with the Japanese government exempting the energy sector from sanctions, but Japanese company imports decreased to 651,848 barrels — 0.8 percent — of the total.

Japan imported 36.21 million barrels from the UAE – 44.8 percent of the total imported in May. Qatar provided 5.559 million barrels (6.9 percent), Kuwait 5.556 million barrels (6.9 percent) and Oman supplied about 1.5 million barrels (1.9 percent).

The remaining imports came from Central and South America (3.8 percent), Southeast Asia (0.3 percent), and Oceania (0.6 percent).

The figures cited represent the quantities of oil that arrived at refineries, tanks and warehouses in ports in Japan during May 2022. Japan uses oil to generate about a third of its energy needs. 

 


Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 
Updated 01 July 2022

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

Saudi Alamar fast food chain franchiser sets final offer price at $30.64 

RIYADH: Alamar Foods has set the top range of its initial public offering prices at SR115 ($30.64) per share, with a 47.5 percent oversubscription, after completing its pricing and book building process for institutional investors.

The final offer price gives the fast food chain franchiser an implied market capitalization at listing of SR2.933 billion.

Alamar Foods is developer and operator of two global household brands: Domino’s, which operates across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan region, and Dunkin’, which operates in Egypt and Morocco.

“This IPO stands as a testament to the milestones achieved towards becoming a leading QSR player across the MENAP region,” Filippo Sgattoni, CEO at Alamar Foods, said.

The individual investor subscription period is scheduled to start on July 20 and to close on July 21. 

The Capital Market Authority approved on June 7 Alamar’s application to offer 10.63 million shares, or 41.7 percent of the company’s capital, to the public.

Alamar’s capital stands at SR255 million.


Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss
Updated 01 July 2022

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss

Oil prices ease on recession fears, headed for 3rd weekly loss
  • OPEC+ sticks to oil output policy, avoids debate on September
  • Traders prepare for long Fourth of July holiday weekend
  • Some Norway oil workers to strike from July 5

TOKYO: Oil prices eased on Friday as lingering fears of a recession demand weighed on sentiment, putting the benchmarks on track for their third straight weekly losses, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures were down 20 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $108.83 a barrel by 0428 GMT, giving up earlier gains of over $1.

WTI crude futures for August delivery slid 37 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $105.39 a barrel, also surrendering an early gain of nearly $1.

Both contracts fell around 3 percent on Thursday.

“Earlier in the session, the market took a breather from Thursday’s sell-off as the OPEC+ gave no surprise, saying it would stick to its planned oil output hikes in August,” said Tsuyoshi Ueno, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.

“But uncertainty over OPEC+ policy in and after September and fears that the aggressive rate hikes by the Federal Reserve would lead to a US recession and hamper fuel demand dampened sentiment,” he said.

On Thursday, the OPEC+ group of producers, including Russia, agreed to stick to its output strategy after two days of meetings. However, the producer club avoided discussing policy from September onwards.

Previously, OPEC+ decided to increase output each month by 648,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July and August, up from a previous plan to add 432,000 bpd per month.

US President Joe Biden will make a three-stop trip to the Middle East in mid-July that includes a visit to Saudi Arabia, pushing energy policy into the spotlight as the United States and other countries face soaring fuel prices that are driving up inflation.

Biden said on Thursday he would not directly press Saudi Arabia to increase oil output to curb soaring prices when he sees the Saudi king and crown prince during a visit this month.

“All eyes are on whether or not Saudi Arabia or any other Middle Eastern oil producers would bolster output to respond the US request,” NLI’s Ueno said.

Elsewhere, 74 Norwegian offshore oil workers at Equinor’s Gudrun, Oseberg South and Oseberg East platforms will go on strike from July 5, the Lederne trade union said on Thursday, likely shutting about 4 percent of Norway’s oil production.

Oil prices are expected to stay above $100 a barrel this year as Europe and other regions struggle to wean themselves off Russian supply, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday, though economic risks could slow the climb. (Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Yuka Obayashi; editing by Richard Pullin and Kim Coghill)


Google to pay $90 million to settle legal fight with app developers

Google to pay $90 million to settle legal fight with app developers
Updated 01 July 2022

Google to pay $90 million to settle legal fight with app developers

Google to pay $90 million to settle legal fight with app developers
  • Some 48,000 app developers are eligible to apply for the $90 million fund, if the court approves the proposed settlement

WASHINGTON: Alphabet Inc’s Google has agreed to pay $90 million to settle a legal fight with app developers over the money they earned creating apps for Android smartphones and for enticing users to make in-app purchases, according to a court filing.
The app developers, in a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco, had accused Google of using agreements with smartphone makers, technical barriers and revenue sharing agreements to effectively close the app ecosystem and shunt most payments through its Google Play billing system with a default service fee of 30 percent.
As part of the proposed settlement, Google said in a blog post it would put $90 million in a fund to support app developers who made $2 million or less in annual revenue from 2016-2021.
“A vast majority of US developers who earned revenue through Google Play will be eligible to receive money from this fund, if they choose,” Google said in the blog post.
Google said it would also continue to charge a 15 percent commission to developers who make $1 million or less annually from the Google Play Store. It started doing this in 2021.
The court must approve the proposed settlement.
There were likely 48,000 app developers eligible to apply for the $90 million fund, and the minimum payout is $250, according to Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, who represented the plaintiffs.
Apple Inc. agreed last year to loosen App Store restrictions on small developers, striking a deal in a class action. It also agreed to pay $100 million.
In Washington, Congress is considering legislation that would require Google and Apple to allow sideloading, or the practice of downloading apps without using an app store. It would also bar them from requiring that app providers use Google and Apple’s payment systems.