RIYADH: Aviation and travel services provider dnata has announced a major expansion of its operations in Erbil, Iraq.
The UAE-based company opened a new cold chain facility and bus maintenance depot for its advanced fleets at Erbil International Airport, or EBL, which together represent a total investment of $3.5 million, the Dubai Government Media Office reported.
dnata also announced that it will invest $14 million and add 16,000 square meters of warehouse space to its infrastructure in Iraq.
The three new facilities will create up to 100 local jobs with dnata.
The new cold chain facility at dnata is capable of processing 10,000 tons of perishable materials annually.
It enables dnata's freight team to offer cold storage, frozen and cold chain products to its airline customers at EBL, catering to product categories including fresh fruit, meat and pharmaceuticals.
The new bus facility was designed to maintain the fleet of eight passenger apron buses and over 10 transportation buses operated at EBL.
Dnata’s new cargo warehouse, which is expected to open in 2023, will further significantly enhance the company’s cargo offering in Iraq.
“Our latest investment in three new facilities will help us further expand and improve our operations in Erbil as demand for reliable and safe cargo services is on the rise across the region,” Tom Jones, managing director of dnata Erbil, said.
Eclipse Foods raises $40m in Series B as it seeks to change dairy industry
Updated 18 sec ago
RIYADH: Oakland-based Eclipse Foods has raised over $40 million in its Series B funding round led by Sozo Ventures with participation from Forerunner Ventures, Initialized Capital, Gaingels, and KBW Ventures.
To date, the plant-based dairy products firm has raised over $60 million so far, with investors including Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, the green tech venture capitalist and Seth Goldman, chairman of Beyond Meat, according to a statement.
The newly acquired fund will fuel the business’s growth in retail and food service and will accelerate R&D on its proprietary plant-based dairy platform.
“The No. 1 reason consumers avoid plant-based dairy is taste,” said Bob Roe, vice president of Narrative Development at Sozo Ventures.
“Seventy percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant and with the alternative protein space projected to grow to $1.4 trillion by 2050, Eclipse is positioned to completely transform the dairy industry with its proprietary plant-based dairy platform,” he added.
Founded in 2019, the US firm seeks to create a more sustainable and healthy food system with its plant-based dairy platform.
“With 10 billion people to feed by 2050, we recognized that global diets must change,” said Aylon Steinhart, co-founder and CEO of Eclipse Foods.
“Consumers want more than just a dairy alternative like almond milk — they want a true replacement. Our plant-based dairy platform uses micelles (the microscopic magic of milk) to create the replacement products that consumers have been craving, and our growth over the last three years is a testament to that,” he added.
Dubai Blockchain Center to create metaverse for digital economy taskforce
Updated 25 min 16 sec ago
DUBAI: Dubai Blockchain Center, a leading blockchain advocate and strategic partner to government agency Dubai Future Foundation, is planning to create a metaverse for the government task force impaneled to develop and oversee the digital economy policies in the region.
Speaking on the sidelines of the DIFC Fintech Week in Dubai, DBCC CEO Marwan Al-Zarouni told Arab News that it plans to create a virtual platform that will host all upcoming events of the task force related to supervising technological developments in the digital economy.
“Dubai is creating a task force for the digital economy, and one of its priorities is to create a metaverse for that task force,” said Al-Zarouni.
The company has also set off an educational drive to inform and acquaint potential investors about the opportunities around the blockchain ecosystem in the region.
“We are offering freemium content to schools and universities. The advance classes will, however, have to be paid for,” said Al-Zarouni.
He added: “We also educate government departments that want to invest in this space. The basic advice for government departments is free.”
Al-Zarouni also signed up as an adviser with the Rare Antiquities Project, a platform that aims to bring cryptocurrency into the museum, galleries, and heritage sector.
Its currency, also known as Rare Antiquities Token, allows its holder to purchase antiques using non-fungible tokens.
Dubai is creating a task force for the digital economy.
DBCC CEO Marwan Al-Zarouni
RAT holders can enter museums, and their admission cost will be automatically restored to their RAT wallet, making the admission free.
The company has been investing outside the UAE in multiple crypto funds through token allocations.
“We have worked with the Future Blockchain Summit and conducted several virtual summits. In addition to Dubai, we have worked with other countries such as Italy, Australia and Gibraltar,” added Al-Zarouni.
The UAE has been the destination of choice for cryptocurrency, with several top companies based in Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Turkey relocating their businesses to Dubai.
According to Al-Zarouni, some of the emerging sectors in the region include game development, 3D building and e-sports.
“Dubai is becoming a melting pot for these crypto and blockchain projects and a haven for investors who want to invest in this space.”
In addition to locating their businesses in Dubai, the DBCC offers investors the opportunity to partner with like-minded individuals globally, he said.
One of the companies that DBCC provided services for was Biconomy, which is now listed on many exchanges, including Binance, he said.
Speaking on the market and its downfall, Al-Zarouni said that the market downturn is healthy because it is cyclical. However, it is hard to raise funds during such a period. “But it is okay to build,” he added.
Buy now, pay later — the most preferred payment in the region: Fintech panel
Updated 24 min 53 sec ago
Dana Alomar Nirmal Naryanan
DUBAI: Buy now, pay later, a financing option that allows customers to pay flexibly, has become the preferred mode of payment in the region, said top fintech players.
Speaking at a panel discussion on the BNPL evolution at the DIFC Fintech Week from June 28 to 29, the industry leaders pointed out how the finance option revolutionized the fintech industry.
The leaders present during the panel discussion were CEO Tamara Abdulmajeed Al-Sukhan, CEO Tabby Hosam Arab, Srinath Hariharan, head of product management, Amazon Payment Services; and Melissa Guzy, co-founder, Arbor Ventures.
During the discussion, Al-Sukhan said that Tamara is not just a BNPL product or a silent banking solution; instead, it always stands for its customers and serves them when they need help.
For his part, Arab said that there is a lot of work to be done beyond just building a tech solution on checkout. Arab added that mass adoption is a success factor as there is apparent adoption on both the consumer and provider’s sides.
“We make our money from the merchants that we work with. However, getting a business that sustains itself and can build real value for investors and stakeholders is the hard part,” Arab further noted.
Hariharan explained that BNPL is not a one-size fit for all products.
Guzy said that BNPL is a category that is quite different worldwide and cautioned that start-ups that think they will raise money in the next few months would be disappointed.
Guzy revealed that hiring the right talent in the fintech sector is a pretty tricky task, and entrepreneurs should be creative and strategic during the hiring process due to the shortage of professional skills.
Tabby’s Arab, however, noted that the company is looking for fresh graduates to enhance local fintech.
During the discussion, Al-Sukhan noted that Tamara had hired people from worldwide.
Hariharan said that in terms of talent acquisition and retention, people relate growth with vertical growth. “One aspect is how do you ensure there is sustainable career growth?” he asked, adding that “another aspect is balance and work-life harmony.”
Talking about the risks, Al-Sukhan said that Tamara has a full risk assessment team other than the data team.
“With the data we have, we reroute ourselves, and we make sure that we are not underwriting like six months ago,” added Sukhan.
Arab commented that Tabby took a different approach by not chasing growth to avoid risks.
“Our customers are largely debit card consumers,” he added.
The way ahead
With regard to future plans, Hariharan said that Amazon Payment Services is engaging in multiple sectors and curating multiple experiences for merchants and customers.
Tabby, on the other hand, is investing quite deeply in virtual cards that customers can use offline to purchase at stores.
Standard Chartered launches API platform in Saudi Arabia
Updated 42 min 42 sec ago
RIYADH: Standard Chartered Bank Saudi Arabia has launched an application programming interface to ensure data security in real time.
Through this new interface, clients and partners will be able to share and integrate data securely, said a statement issued on Tuesday.
In line with Saudi Vision 2030 and the country’s aim to become a regional digital hub, businesses across any industry in the Kingdom will now be able to connect to a host of new capabilities.
This includes digitizing treasury, integration of banking capabilities into ERP operations, implementing digital business models, process automation, automated reconciliation and enabling point-to-point integration.
“The launch of our application programming interface/ API accelerates a new era of financial innovation and plays a pivotal role in the increasing development of the Kingdom’s financial sector,” Boutros Klink, CEO of Bahrain and the Middle East at the bank, said.
NRG Matters: G7 forms climate club; Saudi SARCO, UK firm to develop $300m renewable energy projects
Updated 55 min 39 sec ago
RIYADH: On a macro level, the Group of Seven nations has reached a deal to launch a “Climate Club” where they agree on joint rules and standards to fight global warming.
Zooming in, the Saudi Arabian Refineries Co. has signed an initial agreement with UK-based Christof Global Impact to develop $300 million renewable energy projects.
Looking at the bigger picture:
• The UK is working on a plan to limit the influence of rising gas prices on consumers’ electricity bills, as it faces rising inflation due to its reliance on costly fossil fuels, Bloomberg reported.
• The Group of Seven nations has reached a deal to launch a “Climate Club” where they agree on joint rules and standards to fight global warming, Bloomberg reported.
The move comes with the hope of avoiding conflicts over green tariffs as well.
Through a micro lens:
• The Saudi Arabian Refineries Co. has signed an initial agreement with UK-based Christof Global Impact to develop renewable energy projects, Trade Arabia reported.
The first project, with an initial investment of SR1 billion ($266 million), will study an investment partnership to build a refinery producing the “biodiesel” biofuel carbon.
The second project, at an estimated total cost of SR130 million for the first phase, aims to study investment in the technology of slop oil to convert waste oil wells, oil from shipping ships, waste of fuel tanks and petroleum materials into low carbon raw materials to reduce carbon emissions.
• SSE plc and Equinor have partnered to purchase £341 million ($419 million) three UK electricity plants from Triton Power Co. as they plan to develop low carbon projects, Bloomberg reported.
The partnership reflects European energy companies’ interest in cleaning up their operations as they move towards green power.