UAE proptech startup Stella Stays enters Saudi market

UAE proptech startup Stella Stays enters Saudi market
Stella Stays offers holidaymakers, business travelers, and residents a seamless hospitality experience, through leveraging ground-breaking technology and modern service.
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Updated 24 May 2022

UAE proptech startup Stella Stays enters Saudi market

UAE proptech startup Stella Stays enters Saudi market
  • The Stella Stays Riyadh Olaya Tower, which will open its door in June, will offer modern, fully equipped, tech-enabled apartments and hotel suites

Emirati proptech startup Stella Stays has announced its expansion into Saudi Arabia, introducing the first tech-enabled residential hospitality concept in the region.

The Stella Stays Riyadh Olaya Tower, which will open its door in June, will offer modern, fully equipped, tech-enabled apartments and hotel suites, a co-working space, and recreational and commercial amenities.

Stella Stays offers holidaymakers, business travelers, and residents a seamless hospitality experience, through leveraging ground-breaking technology and modern service. Guests and residents in Saudi Arabia will be able to use the Stella Stays app to navigate the entire journey — from booking and managing their stays, checking-in, controlling smart home systems, to ordering a wide range of guest services. Payment terms are flexible and can be made through various methods, including debit, credit cards and crypto payments.

Riyadh and Jeddah are strategic locations for Stella Stays’ expansion with more than $1 trillion in real estate and infrastructure developments underway. The Kingdom’s economy has fueled solid growth in residential construction with developers progressing a booming number of freehold apartment projects. Saudi Arabia also offers some of the most attractive setup costs in the real estate sector in the region.

Mohammed Al-Ghussein, chairman of Stella Stays, said: “We are extremely proud of our launch in Saudi Arabia, and we believe that our vision for the future of living and hospitality aligns perfectly with Vision 2030, in transforming the Kingdom into a world economic center with blossoming tourism and entertainment industries. The speed of national development is phenomenal, with around 730,000 homes to be added to Riyadh by 2030.

Stella Stays aims to disrupt the Kingdom’s hospitality sector landscape by partnering with real estate developers and property owners, such as Four Direction Development, to provide an innovative residential hospitality concept, with unmatched profitability potential.”

Four Direction Development has extensive experience in terms of investment returns since 2014 with several development projects around the Kingdom.

“We are excited to announce our agreement with Stella Stays in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that will boost both the hospitality and travel industries. Stella Stays offers us, the property owner, hands-off management with real-time analytics that delivers significantly more income and less operational costs compared to traditional hotel models,” said Abdullah Al-Majed, co-founder at Four Directions Development.

Stella Stays’ real estate portfolio growth strategy in Saudi Arabia is through master leases or profit-sharing agreements with property owners and developers. To create a global real estate pipeline, the company uses proprietary algorithms that identify, evaluate, and select the most desirable properties around the world, based on location, financial projection, and trends.

Mohannad Zikra, CEO and co-founder of Stella Stays, said: ‘‘The digital economy, COVID-19, and tech-savvy millennials are driving massive behavioral shifts related to how people live, travel and work. Business travel is also bouncing back and increasing significantly, requiring the flexibility for longer stays.

When Stella Stays began operations in 2019, the average length of stay was three nights per booking. Today, the average length of stays has increased to 28 nights per booking, with many repeat guests and permanent residents. Stella Stays continues to capture these opportunities by creating modern living spaces, futuristic technology and a highly profitable business model. Our occupancy is now higher than the pre-pandemic level, reaching 100 percent around events such as Expo 2020 Dubai and the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix 2022.’’


11th RED Summit kicks off with focus on Kingdom’s giga-projects 

11th RED Summit kicks off with focus on Kingdom’s giga-projects 
Updated 30 June 2022

11th RED Summit kicks off with focus on Kingdom’s giga-projects 

11th RED Summit kicks off with focus on Kingdom’s giga-projects 

BARCELONA: The 11th Real Estate Development Summit — Saudi Arabia/ Europe Edition kicked off in Barcelona, Spain, with speakers discussing the Kingdom’s burgeoning real estate and tourism markets. 

“It takes two and a half hours to fly from one corner of Saudi Arabia to another; people don’t realize the size of the vastness, and the difference in climate and natural features. We will be introducing mounting points for skiing and of course, some of the best beaches in the world,” said Jason Addison, senior real estate adviser, BCG, and the panel chair.

The summit began on Wednesday morning in Hotel Barceló Sants with a welcome address by GBB and the summit host Sabina Ali, business development manager at Forbes Middle East. 

Following the welcome address, presentations were made on innovation, sustainability, and technology by Raya Ani, founder and design director of RAW NYC. 

The summit then hosted face-to-face meetings curated for each attendee, between buyers looking to source materials and architects, and suppliers. 

In the first panel, titled “Delivering a Destination,” three speakers took to the stage to discuss the significant giga-projects in the works: Saeed Albially, vice president of projects development at Knowledge Economic City; lan Williamson, group chief project delivery officer at The Red Sea Development Company; and Amr Salah, executive director of infrastructure and utilities for the Royal Commission of AlUla.

“We are building prestigious hotels; we are talking about 50+ hotels and resorts and social and extracurricular (centers) are going to be built in AlUla in the next four or five years max,” Salah said. 

“We are also signing a tramway for AlUla to connect all of the heritage and destination places in the area by an experiential tram. It is very ambitious and very unique, you can’t find a similar tram in the whole world that provides a luxurious experience to the customers while also fulfilling a transportation need,” he added. 

The panel also discussed ways that Vision 2030 is recreating the Kingdom as a world-class destination through giga-projects undertaken by the likes of The Royal Commission for AlUla and The Red Sea Development Company. 

“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the chairman of The Red Sea Project and AMAALA as well as that of other projects. He gave us the mandate to reach the very best global talent, the world’s best architects, the best engineers, and the world’s best interior designers, all of whom came on board and are now helping to accomplish our journey,” Williamson said. 

The panel also discussed real estate projects that go beyond host communities and serve not just the residents. 

Williamson said that The Red Sea Project currently has more than 500 consultancy contracts with world-renowned five-star hotels.

The panel members also stressed the importance of investing in human capital for the industry to truly prosper.

“Investment in the people of Saudi Arabia is a top priority for the crown prince,” said Salah. “Hiring more people in Saudi, training them and allowing them to gain experience with international firms — it is a goal by itself,” he added.


Saudi Arabia embraces multicloud to transform healthcare sector

Saudi Arabia embraces multicloud to transform healthcare sector
Updated 29 June 2022

Saudi Arabia embraces multicloud to transform healthcare sector

Saudi Arabia embraces multicloud to transform healthcare sector

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has deployed multicloud solutions from VMware to digitally transform the country’s public healthcare sector. The ministry can now offer secure, cloud-based services to public healthcare providers including hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies, significantly boosting their efficiency and enabling them to grow and innovate.

The Health Ministry is responsible for the country’s public healthcare service, which caters for a growing population of more than 35 million people. The ministry accelerated the transformation of its IT systems with the onset of COVID-19, which had put added strain on healthcare systems and increased the need for robust applications, such as booking platforms for vaccinations and remote access to patient records.

The MoH simplified its IT infrastructure by deploying VMware Cloud Foundation as the unifying platform for its cloud environment, spreading workloads across the clouds of service providers, including stc and Mobily.

“The Ministry of Health seeks to achieve the highest levels of excellence in healthcare in line with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030. This means having the best multicloud foundation to optimize operations, raise efficiency and drive innovation across the country’s healthcare providers,” said Khalid Almedbel, CIO, Ministry of Health. “Thanks to our digital transformation with VMware, all public healthcare providers will have access to best-in-class cloud services that will improve operations and boost healthcare provision for citizens and residents.”

With VMware Cloud Foundation, the ministry benefits from a complete set of highly secure software-defined services for compute, storage, network, security, Kubernetes and cloud management. When the solution is fully deployed, Saudi Arabia’s public healthcare system will benefit from the resiliency, agility and efficiency afforded by the shared cloud platform. Each healthcare facility will have access to virtual infrastructure and “as-a-service” applications, and will also be able to design and deploy applications from the cloud, giving them the freedom to innovate and provide world-class services to patients.

Saif Mashat, Saudi Arabia country director, VMware, said: “The Ministry of Health’s transformation with VMware shows the power of multicloud to reinvent healthcare with highly efficient use of resources, and unleash new levels of agility and innovation. We look forward to working in partnership with the ministry as it continues to move workloads to the new environment and offer more cloud-enabled services to healthcare providers across the country.”

In the coming months, the Health Ministry is planning to deploy more VMware solutions including VMware Carbon Black for additional cybersecurity, VMware Workspace One for secure distributed working, and Tanzu to enable Kubernetes in vSphere, which will bring additional application development capabilities to the Kingdom’s public healthcare providers.


Hyundai County continues on the road to success

Hyundai County continues on the road to success
Updated 29 June 2022

Hyundai County continues on the road to success

Hyundai County continues on the road to success

The Hyundai County, a trusted bus across the Middle East and Africa, has been reimagined from the ground up.

Now known as “County New Breeze,” the Hyundai bus has been designed to be more comfortable and versatile thanks to the expanded choice of options, including the “Extra Long” model, which gives customers more seats and an impressive performance.

Following the success of the County, Hyoung Jung Im, head of Hyundai Motor Company Middle East and Africa, said: “For many years, County has been trusted by many customers in our region. County is the bus of choice for schools and educational institutions, businesses, and the public sector, delivering functionality, durability, efficiency, safety and comfort to passengers. Furthermore, the new County New Breeze continues the success story and offers well-designed features that ensure excellent all-around performance.”

Driving the County on a daily basis is Mohammad Khan, who works at Cosma Construction Co., transporting his fellow employees back and forth from work.

Describing his experience with the County, Khan said the vehicle offers “strong performance, very good durability, good total cost of ownership, comfort and safety.”

Salman Khan, who works at Eradat Transportation Co. as a company bus driver, said: “Compared with the other competitors, the County enjoys good space between the seats, has a comfortable driver’s seat and offers great performance.”

The County New Breeze, which was launched in 2020, comes with a choice of three wheelbase variants: Standard, Long, and Extra Long. There’s a selection of eight power plant options ranging from 100 PS to 170 PS. For improved safety, the vehicle has disc-type front brakes and dual airbags. Drivers enjoy the new crash pad and instrument panel that offer improved ergonomics and function.

Inside, improved driver ergonomics include a smaller diameter steering wheel, which gives drivers more space. At the center of the cluster is a 3.5-in TFT LCD that displays a wide range of information delivered with digital precision and speed.

Passengers also appreciate the County New Breeze due to the improved comfort made possible by the increased seating capacity. There are more seating configurations to choose from ranging from 14+1 (Standard) to a maximum of 33+1 (Extra Long). The Extra Long body range is also offered in 32+1, 29+1, 28+1, and 25+1 editions.

The County New Breeze comes with more choices and more power; engines and transmissions are tailored to operate reliably in extreme climatic conditions such as the blistering summer heat common in the region. Turbocharged, inter-cooled, and fed by the common rail diesel fuel injection system, the County New Breeze engines are available in 3.9 L (and 3.6 L) displacements.


PepsiCo partners with Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance water sustainability

PepsiCo partners with Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance water sustainability
Updated 30 June 2022

PepsiCo partners with Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance water sustainability

PepsiCo partners with Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance water sustainability

Leading food and beverage company PepsiCo has signed an MoU with the Saudi Irrigation Organization to enhance scientific cooperation efforts related to water conservation strategies.

This step will introduce best practices in the field of irrigation to resolve water sustainability challenges in the Kingdom. It will align the two organizations’ strategies and raise their contributions to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 for the sustainable use of water in agriculture.

The MoU has been signed in the presence of SIO President Dr. Fuad bin Ahmed Al-Sheikh Mubarak and PepsiCo’s Vice President for Corporate Affairs in MENA and Pakistan Wael Muhammad Ismail.

Based on the MoU, PepsiCo will participate in sponsored initiatives and projects that support water usage programs with modern water-saving agricultural technologies. The MoU will also develop the expertise and skills of Saudis by transferring knowledge and building capacity through practice. This will also significantly aid ongoing development in irrigation technology.

The agreement places a focus on conducting studies and research to gain new, important insights and empower Saudi farmers with an understanding of best practices. This collaboration will help pioneer innovative products, services, and approaches, highlighting how modern technologies can be applied across the country to positively impact Saudi communities through sustainable practices.

Ismail welcomed this step, saying it will positively contribute to enhancing water sustainability in the Kingdom.

“Through our cooperation with SIO, we will be able to positively contribute to sustainable agriculture and consider water usage responsibly, spreading regenerative agriculture practices and improving the livelihoods of people in the agricultural supply chain in the Kingdom. Bolstering underserved populations is essential to making the entire food system stronger and we look forward to showcasing the impact of this strategic partnership with SIO,” he added.

SIO President Mubarak also stressed the importance of this MoU, which he said seeks to ensure the sustainability of water resources, food security and expand agricultural areas in the Kingdom.


UK university opens up International Pathways Program scholarship for international students

UK university opens up International Pathways Program scholarship for international students
Updated 29 June 2022

UK university opens up International Pathways Program scholarship for international students

UK university opens up International Pathways Program scholarship for international students

The International Pathways Program (IPP), recently launched by Coventry University in the UK, supports students who want to obtain a UK degree but might not have either the education level to match the degree requirements or do not have the English language level required for UK higher education study.

With the addition of a £3,000 ($3,600) scholarship contribution to study at Coventry University under the IPP, it’s never been easier for students to be on track to achieving their career aspirations.

Fund your studies

An IPP student scholarship worth £3000 can help reduce the cost of tuition and help fund students’ studies, while living abroad.

Plus, being able to access either one of the two different campus locations (Coventry and London) allows students to take control of how and where they want to be educated.

The Coventry site gives them access to all the facilities and amenities they would expect from the main Coventry University campus. Voted the UK City of Culture 2021, students don’t want to miss out on the exciting city-center life that Coventry has to offer!

The London campus is an iconic tourist attraction, being England’s capital city. It leads in world entertainment and is the heart of the UK’s trading and finance and service industries. Students can explore the city whilst receiving a quality education in English and subject-specific modules.

Diverse studies for diverse programs

Having three different study routes within the IPP caters for students’ own unique background. There is a flexibility of choice for students to tailor to their own circumstances through a combination of multiple academic intakes a year, and an English access level to suit their needs.

The study routes include:

• International Foundation Year (those just starting their higher education journey)

• International Year One (those with stronger academic and English ability to accelerate their studies for bachelor’s year two direct study)

International Pre-Master’s (those needing support in academia and English before settling into a master’s program)

Students can enter Coventry University with peace of mind, knowing the IPP offers progression to over 140 degrees.

Maximizing your success, one self-contained module at a time

Academic delivery is taught in modular blocks where students can expect to learn one module at a time without having to worry about end-of-year exams. This allows them to focus all of their efforts on achieving the best results possible for each area.

English language is taught first

English modules are at the heart of every IPP, with all study routes being front-loaded with English modules. This ensures students are in the best position to improve their language skills, to better grasp key learning concepts when the subject-specific modules begin. It also encourages a solid understanding to set them up for academic success.

For more information, interested students can check their eligibility and learn how they can apply by visiting the university website (https://www.coventry.ac.uk/international-pathways/).