Crowd-funding website announced for next month
Backed by four venture capital firms
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Zoomaal, an online crowd-funding platform dedicated to financing enterprises in the Arab world, will officially launch its activities this July. Zoomaal is a Lebanese-born concept founded by Abdullah Abssi and financed by four capital funds: MEVP (Lebanon), Wamda (UAE), Sawari Ventures (Egypt), and N2V (a Saudi-Jordanian joint venture).

The platform makes it easier for projects to raise funds directly through online audiences. Walid Hanna, Administrative Manager of MEVP said: “It is a community financing platform targeting innovators in the Arab world.”

He said that Zoomaal will help finance projects that require $5,000 or less, like event preparations, art projects, research, inventions, and social media.

Following the model pioneered by Kickstarter in the U.S., Zoomaal does not target startups looking for general funding, instead, it concerns startup projects that have a well-defined scope. “The concept is a donation-based model where projects offer gifts to their donors in return for their investments,” Hanna said.

This financing model is based on a previous agreement between the donor and the project owner, Hanna said: “If a donor chooses to support a T-shirt factory with $100, the factory owner could offer him special discounts on his future purchases, or free shirts.”

Zoomaal will take a seven percent commission out of the total funds raised for each project.

For donors, Zoomaal offers different payment models via Visa, Mastercard, or Paypal, and a number of prepaid options, including a partnership with Gate2Play.

Once the payment is collected, Zoomaal wires it to the project owner.

Zoomaal has already selected 25 projects which it will post online for crowd financing to coincide with its official launch. Projects belong to Lebanese, Egyptian, Tunisian, Jordanian, and Palestinian innovators, among others.
Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Jun 06, 2013