The app that puts a festival in your living room

Special WOLF’s model revolves around gifts and reputation credits. The platform also has a store where users can buy games and charms to take into rooms. (Supplied)
WOLF’s model revolves around gifts and reputation credits. The platform also has a store where users can buy games and charms to take into rooms. (Supplied)
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Updated 23 May 2022

The app that puts a festival in your living room

WOLF’s model revolves around gifts and reputation credits.  (Supplied)
  • WOLF offers women the opportunity to create and explore things that were previously unattainable for them

DUBAI: The World’s Online Festival is a platform that aims to put a party in your living room. Its interactive app allows users to enter its virtual music festivals whenever they choose to take in singers, poets, comedians, musicians and DJs. Users can become more involved by producing an event, or simply hang out as a fan.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, WOLF CEO Gary Knight said that the platform offers women the opportunity to create and explore things that were previously unattainable for them. Its events also offer after-show gatherings where users can send texts, images, and audio messages.




Since it was launched, WOLF platform has reached 2.7 million users. (Supplied)

Knight added that WOLF originally started life as Palringo, a messaging platform in the Gulf Cooperation Council region that was founded more than ten years ago.

FASTFACTS

• The business also runs a WOLFStars program where producers and performers put together their own gigs and can compete against each other to win competitions and cash rewards.

• Users can become a producer or festival owner, which allows them to create their own room, put on their own artists and promote them to fans, says the CEO.

• Gary Knight says this program has 70 percent female performers and 58 percent female audience members.

The WOLF boss said: “The service developed from let’s bring people together, to let’s bring people together through performance and entertainment. We wanted to provide a unique experience between the users performing and the crowd, to make sure everyone is part of this thing.”

WOLFStars program
The business also runs a WOLFStars program where producers and performers put together their own gigs and can compete against each other to win competitions and cash rewards.
He added users can become a producer or festival owner, which allows them to create their own room, put on their own artists and promote them to fans.
Knight said this program has 70 percent female performers and 58 percent female audience members.

He added the app is proud to “provide a safe and secure environment where women can go to perform and be a full part of the whole ecosystem.”

The service developed from let’s bring people together, to let’s bring people together through performance and entertainment. We wanted to provide a unique experience between the users performing and the crowd, to make sure everyone is part of this thing.

Gary Knight, WOLF CEO

Knight said the program allows performers to learn directly from their performances, because they can log into a virtual event every day, rather than attending a live music festival once or twice a year.
Knight pointed out that because it is not easy to go to music festivals in the Middle East, people are more likely to attend online festivals because they are more accessible.
WOLF’s chat rooms feature two-dimensional stages, which bring chat and interaction alongside entertainment.
The app head said ultimately the goal of the firm is to create a metaverse with a more three-dimensional environment.

Way forward
Knight said the business is also working on giving users the option of recording, editing, and sharing clips of performances. He said that toward the end of this year, the company will launch WOLF VR, which will allow users to look around chat rooms using virtual reality headsets.
He added: “By the end of the year, you’ll be able to put your headset on and be on stage and perform.”
Knight pointed out that after launching Palringo on the app store in 2008, he and his team saw a significant growth of the service in the Middle East and North Africa. That gave them the idea to do more in the region.
He launched WOLF two years ago and since then he says the app has reached 2.7 million users.
Knight added that maintaining the firm’s existing community after rebranding was a challenge.
“There was always a threat when you change something quite dramatically and rebrand and relaunch that it might not be something that fits your unique audience,” he added.
WOLF’s business model revolves around rewards, gifts, and reputation credits. The platform also has a store where users can buy games and charms to take into rooms. It also sells premium group accounts, with extra features such as free charms and ways to boost your group’s reputation.
“If you do well, or you do things well in the app, then you can get rewarded and gifted by other users,” he added.
The app boss said the firm has doubled its revenue over the last two years and will continue to do so this year.
Knight added that further investment is likely to come from backers in the region, and the company is currently in discussions about raising further finance.


SABB appoints new CEO to lead corporate and institutional banking

SABB appoints new CEO to lead corporate and institutional banking
Updated 10 sec ago

SABB appoints new CEO to lead corporate and institutional banking

SABB appoints new CEO to lead corporate and institutional banking

RIYADH: The Saudi British Bank has appointed Yasser Ali Al-Barrak as its new CEO for corporate and institutional banking from this month.

The appointment of Al-Barrak will take effect on July 1, the bank said in a press statement.

Al-Barrak joined SABB in 2012 and has held many leadership positions, most recently being the general manager of global corporate and institutional banking, the statement said.

“The appointment of Yasser is a testament to the success of career growth plans at SABB, which is a major player in managing our most valuable assets, our people,” said SABB Managing Director & CEO Tony Cripps.

Established in 1978, SABB is an associate of the HSBC Group and a Saudi joint-stock company. It was named Saudi’s best bank for 2022, the statement added.

The bank provides retail, corporate, investment, private, and treasury services and has a paid-up capital of SR20.5 billion ($5.46 billion).


Crypto Moves — Bitcoin slips; Voyager Digital suspends operations

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin slips; Voyager Digital suspends operations
Updated 51 min 10 sec ago

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin slips; Voyager Digital suspends operations

Crypto Moves — Bitcoin slips; Voyager Digital suspends operations

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency worldwide, traded lower on Sunday, falling by 0.93 percent to $19,033.92 at 9 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,057.11, rising by 1.15 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.

Voyager Digital suspends withdrawals and deposits 

To preserve its platform’s value, Voyager Digital on Friday announced it had suspended withdrawals, trading, and deposits, according to Reuters. 

A default notice was issued to embattled hedge fund Three Arrows Capital just days earlier for the fund’s failure to make required payments.

According to Voyager CEO Stephen Ehrlich, the move gives the company more time to consider strategic alternatives with various interested parties while preserving its value.

The company announced that it had hired financial advisers Moelis & Co., Consello Group, and legal advisers Kirkland & Ellis LLP “to support its exploration of strategic alternatives.”

Voyager’s crypto assets are worth $685 million, compared to the more than $1.12 billion it has lent in crypto assets. The company said it lent $350 million and 15,250 bitcoins to 3AC. 

Voyager’s move comes less than a month after Celsius Network suspended withdrawals due to extreme market conditions. Customers of Celsius have not yet been able to withdraw money again.

(With inputs from Reuters)


Saudi mall operator Abdullah Al Othaim cancels IPO plans 

Saudi mall operator Abdullah Al Othaim cancels IPO plans 
Updated 03 July 2022

Saudi mall operator Abdullah Al Othaim cancels IPO plans 

Saudi mall operator Abdullah Al Othaim cancels IPO plans 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al-Othaim Markets Co. has canceled plans to sell shares of its mall business to the public, the company said in a bourse filing.

The group halted initial public offering plans for Abdullah Al Othaim Investment Co. due to concerns over valuation and market volatility.

Arab News earlier reported that the group had selected GIB Capital to manage an IPO of a 30-percent stake in the Kingdom’s stock market. 

Known as Al Othaim Malls, the firm specializes in the construction, management and operation of shopping malls, entertainment centers, restaurants and cinemas.

 


OPEC secretary general Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo joins Atlantic Council 

OPEC secretary general Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo joins Atlantic Council 
Updated 03 July 2022

OPEC secretary general Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo joins Atlantic Council 

OPEC secretary general Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo joins Atlantic Council 

RIYADH: Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, secretary general for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, will join the Atlantic Council as a distinguished fellow in the Global Energy Center.

Barkindo will take part in the Atlantic Council after the conclusion of his term at OPEC on July 31, according to a statement. 

Serving as OPEC’s secretary general for six years, Barkindo has also played a crucial role in enhancing the cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries on stabilizing oil markets. 

The fellowship at the Atlantic Council comes amid an unprecedented rise in energy prices driven by geopolitical tensions, climate change impacts, and volatile markets.

“Barkindo brings a deep understanding of geopolitics in a volatile world that will further enhance the Atlantic Council’s approach to shaping solutions to global energy-security challenges,” said Frederick Kempe, president and CEO of the Atlantic Council.

The Washington-based center promotes energy security by working alongside governments, industry leaders, civil society, and public stakeholders.

Barkindo said: “I look forward to contributing to the organization’s work on a plethora of energy-related issues, at a time when the world’s eyes are focused on both short- and long-term energy market outlooks.”

 


TASI begins July in green following a dismal June: Opening bell

TASI begins July in green following a dismal June: Opening bell
Updated 03 July 2022

TASI begins July in green following a dismal June: Opening bell

TASI begins July in green following a dismal June: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks started their first trading session of July in green, following a dismal performance in June when the market lost 11 percent.

As of Sunday’s opening bell, TASI gained 0.60 percent to reach 11,591, while the parallel market, Nomu, added 0.17 percent to 21,622, as of 10:05 a.m. Saudi time.

This was led by a 3.03 percent gain in one of the Kingdom’s biggest lenders Saudi National Bank and a 0.26 percent gain in oil giant Aramco. 

Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Co. gained 3.37 percent to lead the gainers, while Bupa Arabia for Cooperative Insurance Co. slipped 2.51 percent to lead the fallers.

In the financial sector, the Kingdom’s largest valued bank Al Rajhi edged up 0.85 percent, while Alinma Bank climbed 0.90 percent.

Al Moammar Information Systems Co. added 2.22 percent, after being awarded SR34 million ($9 million) by Saudi Co. for Comprehensive Technical and Security Control as well as SR21.9 million by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

Abdullah Al Othaim Markets Co. edged down 0.19 percent, after reporting that it canceled the initial public offering plans for its malls unit.

Oil prices closed Friday with US West Texas Intermediate crude at $108.43 per barrel and Brent crude at $111.63 per barrel.