Jordan: Ranking High in IT
The recent ranking of Amman as one of the world’s top cities for internet start-ups has highlighted Jordan’s success in the IT sector. The list, compiled by Rachid Sefrioui, the founder of venture capital firm Finaventures, ranked 10 cities on the basis of availability of talent, infrastructure and capital, legal environment and evidence of entrepreneurship.
Sefrioui calculated his list in relative terms, meaning that “a city with $200m in seed and venture capital may achieve a better ranking than a city with more capital, simply because other human, legal and infrastructure factors scored higher”. According to Sefrioui, the list attests to the vibrancy of each city’s entrepreneurial community, no matter how large or small.
While IT heavyweights Palo Alto and Los Angeles topped the list, Amman came in 10th place. Sefrioui told Bloomberg that due to a lack of traditional economic opportunities and capital, Jordanian entrepreneurs have gone the do-it-yourself route, starting their own companies and leveraging the internet to access global markets.
A sample of some of Jordan’s best-known internet start-ups include Dakwak, a translation tool and localisation service website; digital artist marketplace Taltol; the competition-based employment recruitment agency Fakker; and Arabic-language audiobooks provider Masmoo3.
Many of these start-ups have the website Maktoob to thank for their success. In 2009, Yahoo! paid $164m to acquire Jordan’s Maktoob, an Arabic web portal offering email, search, social networking, payments and auction services.