Digital Media Startup Telfaz11 Raises $9M

ArabNet Team, Jun 20 2018

Telfaz11, a Saudi Arabia-based digital media company, raised $9M in a Series A round of funding. The investment came from KSA-based Saudi Technology Ventures (STV) as lead investors with the participation of UAE-based early-stage funding platform, VentureSouq.

The startup plans to utilize the funding for capacity building intended for its plans in increasing the rate of monetized content, and for its strategic expansion plans in key neighboring markets. The startup also aims to direct some of the funding towards gaining deeper insights into existing and new audience segments.

Led by a team of young storytellers and tech savvy entrepreneurs, this is Telfaz11’ s first external funding, with the company growing from strength to strength since its launch in 2011, while being bootstrapped.

Telfaz11 is known in the Arab world for its narratives inspired from local culture combined with elements of humor. It aims at popularizing local entertainment with their original online content from YouTube videos, shows, branded show packages, and much more. Major clients of the team include national and multinational companies, such as STC, Mars, P&G, Uber, and Ikea, to name a few.

The Kingdom’s recent plans to invest $64 billion in a complete overhaul of its entertainment sector over the coming decade, as well as its plans to focus on building venues and inviting Western artists, can also be seen as a factor that aided the growth and acceptance of local entertainment players like Telfaz11.

Telfaz11 co-founder Alaa Yousef Fadan  mentioned, “Saudi Arabia’s ongoing wave of economic diversification has unlocked a new era of entertainment in the country, opening doors to a whole new world of opportunities for local players like Telfaz11, and attracting tremendous investor interest in the Saudi market. In our pursuit to become the definitive media technology company for the social age, increased investor confidence will help accelerate our long-term growth plans, expand our team, and explore new platforms and verticals.”

STV Partner Waleed Alballaa said, “We believe the digital and entertainment ecosystems in Saudi Arabia are ripe for disruption, and can unlock value on a regional level. Investing in Telfaz11 will further strengthen our commitment to investing in digital media trailblazers that are shaping the future of the Kingdom’s digital landscape through innovation and ambition.”

According to Fadan, the funding process took a few years for Telfaz11 as the founders wanted to wait for the right partners instead of just getting a monetary boost.

“We met with many potential investors, including STV’s founding team, but their fund wasn’t officially approved yet when we had first met,” said Fadan. “Last February, VentureSouq invited us to an investor round-up that they periodically organize, to present Telfaz11 to a group of institutional and angel investors. We knew right then that VentureSouq was the ideal partner we were seeking, and we commenced discussions about a potential investment from then on. Soon after, STV officially launched, and their fund was approved as well.”

The media and entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia is expected to grow as a whole. KSA-based startups play a crucial role in capitalizing on the Kingdom’s transformation currently underway. Fadan stated, “We believe that any region that would like to enjoy premium authentic storytelling, as well as export their authentic stories to the world, would benefit from Telfaz11’s offerings”.

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