MENA streamer Starzplay Arabia has secured debt financing of $25 million from Abu Dhabi-based independent investment firm Ruya Partners. The funding will be used to reinforce Starzplay’s geographic and customer reach as well as the acquisition and production of new original content. According to the announcement, the influx of capital, building on $125 million in funding secured since the company’s 2015 launch, will also support Starzplay’s future ambitions through a potential IPO.
Starzplay was the first SVOD platform to acquire a license in the UAE, giving it an early boost over competitors and spurring significant year-on-year growth that has established the company as one of the region’s leading streaming services. Reaching more than 1.8 million paid subscribers with its app installed on more than 6 million devices, Starzplay boasts an impressive 32% market share in the region.
“The financing for Starzplay is one of our first major investments in the tech sector in UAE. As a homegrown brand, Starzplay has disrupted the market and meets the increase in demand for home entertainment. The financing reflects our strategy of backing businesses with strong fundamentals and management teams that have a proven track of executing to plan and delivering long-term value,” said Ruya Partners co-founder and managing partner Rashid Siddiqi.
“This new partnership demonstrates our ability to attract diverse, top-notch institutional investors as we continue to drive growth and ensure a path to profitability,” said Starzplay co-founder and CEO Maaz Sheikh in a release. “UAE’s strong tech-entrepreneurial ecosystem, and this new investment will further strengthen Starzplay’s capacity to create original content, expand our geographical footprint and cement our lead status as the MENA region’s digital champion.”
Starzplay is available in more than 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan where it partners with 21 local telecommunications companies. The company also recently teamed with Discovery Inc. to launch Discovery Plus for its subscribers across the MENA region.