Six months after its seed funding round where its raised $3.6 million, Egypt’s Minly has acquired Dubai-based celebrity shoutout platform Oulo for an undisclosed amount. Minly, which is operational in the middle east and north Africa, is an entertainment and media startup that connects fans with athletes, singers and celebrities through personalized experiences.
On its own, Minly is doing exceptionally well. In about a year, the platform added 130,000 users and 1,000 celebrities to its platform. Its acquisition of Oulo is its attempt at taking over the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regions. Founded in 2020 by Kamal Nazha, Oulo is a video gifting platform. It currently has over 300 celebrities across Saudia Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan on its platform.
Oulo will be merged with Minly and will continue to operate under the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regions under the Minly name. Kamlla Nazha will join Minly as its Chief Commercial Officer, as part of the deal.
Months ago, Minly CEO Mohammed El-Shinnawy mentioned that the company was looking to increase its local celebrity acquisition teams across the MENA regions, while this hinted at expansion within the region no one saw an acquisition coming yet alone one in the GCC region.
Explaining why Minly chose to acquire Oulo instead of expanding into the GCC region on its own, CEO Mohammed El-Shinnawy said that “Whilst Minly’s expansion in the GCC market was possible without Oulo, this acquisition has significantly accelerated our expansion there. Our mission is to become the number one creator economy platform in the region, and speed to market is critical to achieving this”.
He also emphasized that the acquisition of Oulo adds important, as well as strategic, assets and partnerships to Minly. Kamlla Nazha also has a few things to say. “Historically, the majority of pan-Arab celebrities were either Egyptian or Lebanese. Therefore, combining forces unlocks immense synergies as, together, we dominate the two most important sources of cultural content”, he said.
The Minly-Oulo deal is the second major acquisition between an African and a GCC-based startup this year. It follows weeks after Qatar-based Meddy was acquired by Nigeria’s Helium Health. “We are the clear choice for stars in the region looking to create unforgettable, authentic digital experiences with fans. This acquisition will widen the gap, as the Oulo team shares the same mission and passion”, Kamlla Nazha added.