Minly, an Egypt-based creator economy platform, has announced the closing of a $3.6 million seed round to enable stars to create authentic, personalised connections with their fans across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The round was co-led by 4DX Ventures, B&Y Venture Partners, and Global Ventures. It also included participation from other leading regional funds and a cast of highly strategic angel investors.
Commenting on the development, Peter Orth, Co-Founder & General Partner, 4DX Ventures, who will be joining the board, said: “Minly is fundamentally changing the relationship between celebrities and fans in the MENA region, and has an enormous opportunity for growth. The team has both the ambition and the expertise to build a full-stack digital interaction platform that could change the way digital content is created and consumed in the region. We’re thrilled to partner with Minly and to help them reach their full potential.”
The company has experienced rapid organic growth since launching in late 2020 and already has more than 50,000 registered users on the platform, along with a list of tier A regional celebrities.
Through Minly, users can buy personalised video messages and shout-outs from their favourite celebrities, getting unprecedented access to the talent they admire most. In turn, celebrities get to connect with their fans on a deeper level.
Minly has been able to attract some of the top talents in the region to the platform, including Tamer Hosny, Fifi Abdou, Assala Nasri, Dorra Zarrouk, Hazem Imam, and Mahmoud Trezeguet.
The pandemic has helped boost interest in the platform, particularly as in-person events have all but disappeared. Minly is offering celebrities an authentic and personal way to continue to interact with their top fans.
One such top star on the platform is acclaimed singer, actor, and director Tamer Hosny, with more than 50m followers across social media.
“I’m very excited to be on Minly, connecting with my fans around the world,” he said, “I’m also super happy with the social impact that we’re making on Minly, as a portion of the proceeds goes to charities to help the less fortunate.”
Minly has broader ambitions to extend its products and services to become a full-stack passion economy platform that empowers content creators to deliver meaningful experiences across multiple mediums to their fans.
Mohamed El-Shinnawy, Co-founder at Minly, added: “With this new funding and the incredible group of partners that joined us, we are ready to scale across the region and introduce an exciting suite of new products. The creator economy is in its infancy and growing at lightning speed. We have the opportunity to build this category’s first unicorn in MENA. As a mission-driven team, it’s all about spreading this positivity and empowering stars and content creators to engage with communities from all walks of life. We’re also very proud of our collaboration with NGOs that create real on-the-ground social impact, such as the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation.”
Shinnawy, who brings more than 15 years of media and technology experience to the table, is the chief technology officer at Minly. He sold his first company, Emerge Technology, to a US-based media company. He has also delivered work for Hollywood’s top studios, such as Sony Pictures, Universal, Disney, Fox, and Warner Brothers, while playing a role in the global expansion of Apple TV+, Disney+, and Netflix to the MENA region.
Co-founded and led by Mohamed El-Shinnawy, Tarek Hosny, and Bassel El-Toukhy, with industry partners such as Tarek ElGanainy and Ahmed Abbas, Minly’s team brings together decades of experience from top firms in technology and entertainment.