Former Talabat CTO & Ex-Careem, Khaled Rashed, joins food-tech KASO as CTO

DUBAI, UAE: KASO, the leading B2B platform that digitizes procurement between restaurants and suppliers in the Middle East, is thrilled to welcome tech industry leader, Khaled Rashad, as their new Chief Technology Officer.Khaled, a distinguished technologist with two decades of tech expertise, comes on board after contributing to the success of the region’s most successful tech companies, Talabat and Careem, and global tech giants Microsoft and Amazon.Most recently as former CTO of Talabat, he drove technological innovation, making food and grocery ordering effortless for millions of customers daily. Furthermore, during his tenure as the Sr. Director of Engineering at Careem, Khaled built a tech team from the ground up, leading them through the Uber exit.On joining KASO, Khaled Rashad shared, "What drew me to KASO wasn't just the innovative tech or the business model, but the potential to reshape the entire food industry. Over the past years, I’ve seen the deep intricacies and possibilities within the food supply chain industry. At KASO, there's a genuine drive to address challenges and turn them into tangible benefits for restaurants and suppliers. There's so much we can do to shape a more efficient and sustainable global food system, and at KASO, I’m excited to make that vision a reality.”Manar Alkassar, Co-founder of KASO, said, “Having Khaled on board is more than just having a new tech leader; it’s about incorporating the insights and entrepreneurial spirit that drove successes, for household names like Talabat, Careem, Microsoft, and Amazon. His ability to drive tech-driven innovation is exactly what we need as we enter our next stage of growth.” A graduate of The American University in Cairo, Khaled is recognized for his passion for building impactful products and fostering high-performing and collaborative tech teams. With his vast experience building engineering organizations across Vancouver, Berlin, Madrid, Dubai, Cairo, and more, he brings a global perspective to KASO’s operations.With the addition of Khaled Rashad to its leadership team following the company’s $10.5 million seed round earlier this year, KASO continues to strengthen its role as both an industry disrupter and leader.KASO also thanks Frank Biedka, the outgoing CTO, who will continue to lend his insights and experience to KASO as an advisor. His leadership and expertise from his days as Zalando's CTO have been essential in KASO’s early-stage growth.

HALA appoints ex-Revolut CTO Saleem Arshad to drive ambitious global vision

Saudi Arabia's burgeoning fintech powerhouse is signaling its unwavering commitment to revolutionize its field’s landscape. Its latest activity on this trajectory is appointing Saleem Arshad as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Saleem, who brings over two decades of technology and innovation experience, will be pivotal in driving HALA's global expansion efforts, focusing on the UK and European markets.The day, marked a significant milestone for HALA as it welcomed Saleem Arshad into its leadership fold. With a distinguished career that spans the fintech spectrum, Saleem is poised to guide HALA into a new era of technological innovation and global prominence.HALA has set its sights on expanding its fintech footprint beyond Saudi Arabia. This decision to tap into international markets aligns with the company's vision of becoming a global financial force. Under Saleem's expert stewardship, HALA aims to strengthen its infrastructure and technology capabilities, ensuring it remains at the forefront of industry trends and customer expectations.Saleem Arshad's impressive career path is a testament to his dedication to innovation and growth within the fintech sector. Notably, he served as the Chief Technology Officer at Revolut, a UK-based super-app, where he played a crucial role in spearheading the company's expansion into the Indian market. Before this, he successfully built and launched the greenfield fintech venture W1TTY, demonstrating his penchant for groundbreaking projects. Saleem has also lent his expertise to established institutions such as HSBC, Barclays, and British Petroleum.The newly appointed CTO of HALA shared his excitement about joining the organization, stating, "I am looking forward to working closely with the senior management team to strengthen the business's technology capabilities further. Together, we will redefine industry standards and position HALA as the go-to financial institution for SMEs globally."In an era of technological disruption and evolving customer expectations, HALA's hiring of Saleem Arshad as CTO underscores its determined commitment to reshaping the fintech landscape. As HALA embarks on its journey to conquer international markets, Saleem's expertise and vision are set to play a pivotal role in making this ambitious global expansion a resounding success. With Saleem at the helm of HALA's technological innovation, this fintech trailblazer's future looks exceptionally bright as it endeavours to deliver cutting-edge solutions to customers worldwide.

WPP & Spotify announce first-of-its-kind global partnership

Spotify will be the first audio platform to be integrated directly into WPP’s products and solutions. WPP and Spotify today announced a new global strategic partnership that will enable WPP to offer its clients early access to Spotify’s innovative ad products, first-party intelligence and creative ways to reach engaged audiences at scale.  As part of the partnership, Spotify will become the first digital audio platform to be integrated directly into WPP’s products and solutions. This includes an exploration in connection with Choreograph’s insights platform. In a first-of-its-kind partnership, WPP will look to use Spotify to develop integrations that provide Spotify’s first-party occasions insights to help clients understand aggregated listening patterns in order to inform more creative and effective digital audio advertising strategies. WPP will work with Spotify to deliver market-leading thought leadership and scaled training programmes for its employees and clients that focus on digital audio creativity and Spotify's innovative ad products. WPP’s teams and clients will also benefit from early access to Spotify’s neuro-insights research focused on audience trends and insights. One of the first outputs of the partnership is a WPP client-specific version of Spotify’s Sonic Science insights study, conducted with WPP agency Mindshare, that details the connection between Spotify, digital audio ads and listeners. Working with research firm Neuro-Insight, Spotify recreated its Sonic Science Volume 1 study using audio ads from WPP clients to explore how their ads trigger engagement, emotional intensity, memory, and more. Notable findings include: Immersed Audience: Spotify consistently drives higher levels of engagement vs. other media formats like visual media (+24%), other audio media (+27%) and social media (+38%), with an increase in numbers from Spotify’s 2021 study1. Increased Ad Engagement: We found that listeners were more engaged with the ads from WPP clients in this study than in the 2021 study, with a 17% increase on ad engagement transference when listeners went from listening to music or podcasts to a real WPP client’s audio ad. Strong engagement in both podcast and music environments: The study showed that ad engagement remains high with listeners no matter if they were listening to music (+29%) or podcasts (+36%)2. Sonic Science Volume 1, Neuro-Insight and Spotify, June 2021IbidStephan Pretorius, Chief Technology Officer of WPP, said: “In the fast-evolving media and entertainment landscape, audio streaming has become an integral part of everyday life. At WPP, we recognise the power of audio as a critical component of marketing. The intent of this first-of-its-kind partnership is to integrate Spotify’s insights with the Choreograph platform to create more innovative and relevant ways to connect our clients with their customers.” Brian Berner, Global Head of Advertising Sales, Spotify, said: “We’ve long partnered with WPP to enable agency planners and buyers to make more informed decisions when planning for digital audio. With our new global partnership, we’re helping WPP clients modernise their strategy and planning. More than 550 million people across 184 markets come to Spotify every month to be entertained, to learn and to discover for nearly 2.5 hours each day. As we continue to drive innovation in audio and the advertising industry at large, partners like WPP are critical to delivering for advertisers, creators and audiences wherever they are.” Additional insights from the Sonic Science study, as well as tips for advertisers on how to get started with digital audio can be found here: WPP Sonic Science study.

Google announces Google for Startups Accelerator for Climate Change

Dubai: Google is announcing today Google for Startups Accelerator: Climate Change, a 10-week, equity-free hybrid program for Seed to Series A startups tackling Climate Change with tech. In partnership with Google Cloud, the Middle East and Africa program helps high-potential startups based in the Middle East and Africa grow with the best of Google through a mix of in-person and virtual activities, 1:1 mentoring, and group learning sessions.In addition to mentorship, the Google for Startups Accelerator: Climate Change program features deep dives and workshops focused on product design, business growth, and leadership development. Selected startups will also benefit from dedicated Google Cloud technical expertise and receive credits via the Google for Startups Cloud Program.Eligibility criteria includes-Startups demonstrating traction, ideally between Seed and Series A stage.Building a scalable product or service with a significant total addressable market and defensible growth model.Focusing on sustainable technology climate solutions, cleantech and green energy.Deeply technical, preferably leveraging technologies like Machine Learning and AI.Commitment from CTO and/or technical roles to participate and engage in required program sessions.Joyce Baz, Head of Communications at Google, said: "As more organizations navigate the necessary, sustainability-driven business transformations on the horizon, they’re looking for new tools and technology to help them. We believe the global startup ecosystem plays a pivotal role in accelerating their progress, which is why we’re excited to kick-off 2023 with Google for Startups Accelerator: Climate Change programs, and encourage startups in the Middle East and Africa to apply. These programs will focus on identifying, supporting and scaling startups that are building technologies to combat climate change. This is the first time we’re running the program in MENA, we’re looking forward to welcoming participants in our region at a critical time when technology can unblock and accelerate decarbonization of the economy."Through a combination of 1-to-1 and 1-to-many learning sessions, startups will receive mentoring from experienced engineers and business experts from Google and the wider ecosystem throughout the program. This support will be specifically tailored to the needs of the startups' businesses. Along with being paired with specialized Startup Success Managers (SSM) from Google, participants will also receive further training on how to use our best practices, tools, and personnel. At the end of the program, the cohort will present their achievements in a Demo Day in front of Google teams, mentors, investors, partners and key stakeholders from the Middle East and Africa startup ecosystems. After the program ends, startups will continue to receive support via the Google for Startups Accelerator Alumni program & network.