In May 5, 1961, moments before blasting off on his historic space voyage, astronaut Alan Shepard couldn‟t help thinking “that every part of this ship was built by the low bidder,” according to press reports from the time. That‟s the anecdote Ben Rothke, a senior security consultant in New York for BT Professional Services, a leading IT security firm in El Segundo, Calif., uses to describe the flimsiness of the system billions of people depend on to access everything from e-mail to bank accounts: a username and password. “This is the Achilles heel of electronic security. [This] authentication mechanism … was broken 20 years ago,” says Rothke.
Rising fraud — victims file some 25,000 complaints monthly to the federal government‟s Internet Crime Complaint Center for hundreds of millions of dollars — is driving demand for beefier measures. Among the fastest growing: biometrics, which uses individuals‟ unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and iris scans. The market for the technology is still peanuts — U.S. sales were less than $1 billion in 2009, the latest year for which data are available — but biometrics is the fastest-growing major segment in the electronic security business, according to the Freedonia Group, which expects the market to hit $6.6 billion by 2019. By then, half of electronic access controls will be biometric, double what it is now, according to the Cleveland (Ohio) business research firm.
Bloomberg – Link
On June 30, 2011 Keystone Equity Partners, the General Manager of Growthgate Capital Corporation has organized the “First Annual Private Equity Roundtable”, at Jumeirah Emirates Towers – Dubai.
The Private Equity Roundtable was intended to provide an opportunity for a candid discussion between panelists and attendees about issues facing Private Equity firms in the GCC, as well as reviewing the merits of Private Equity investments in privately owned business from the point of view of professionals, practitioners and owners. The roundtable was attended by a select group of business owners, practitioners and professionals from the MENA region and beyond.
Oman Air Cargo unveiled its Pan-GCC custom bonded truck services connecting Muscat with Salalah and other GCC countries. Hailed as a milestone in the annals of Oman Air achievements, this service will be effective from 1st June 2011.Oman Air cargo Introduces PAN-GCC Trucking
Growthgate Capital Corporation, the GCC based specialist buyout firm, announced that it has reached a final agreement to acquire 30% of Rubicon, MENA’s leading digital content production & animation company. Rubicon is a pioneer in k-12 education content, currently used in many countries across the region such as Jordan, Oman, Algeria and Morocco. The company has the largest 2D and 3Danimation studio in the Middle East, and is executing location-based entertainment projects in two destinations of above a billion dollars development budgets. Rubicon is also involved in the licensing and merchandizing business of its own IP in addition to the IP of major studios and independent parties in the U.S. In October 2008, MGM studios and Rubicon announced that they are producing new episodes of MGM’s Pink Panther series to air on Cartoon Network channels worldwide. The 78 episodes are scheduled to be completed end of 2009 while talks about production of subsequent seasons of the Pink Panther & Pals are currently underway. Rubicon is the creator of “Ben & Izzy” a successful children TV series that aired in Ramadan 2008 on MBC. The series is based on the adventures of two youngsters: one American and one Arab who travel back through ancient times and meet a glorious band of scientists, travelers and poets, taking viewers on a fantastic new journey in each episode. “Ben & Izzy” is a contestant at the International Emmy’s under the Children Category Award at the 2009 Cannes Festival. Rubicon has recently also started the production of a 3D CG theatrical movie about the “Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” for worldwide release in December 2011. Rubicon operates out of Amman, Dubai, L.A., and Manila. The company forecast revenues for 2010 are in excess of $100 million, and it plans to invest circa US$M75 over the next three years in various productions. Both Growthgate and Rubicon being privately held, the value of the transaction was not disclosed.
Ms. Randa Ayoubi, founder and CEO of Rubicon stated: “We are very excited to partner with Growthgate whom we found to be an investor with vision and foresight, not just a financial investor. Growthgate with its forward-thinking mandate, professional management and results-driven ethos, seems to be a nurturing ground for regional champions, something that is still largely lacking in the Middle East”. Ms. Ayoubi added: “The animation landscape in the Middle East, as well as, edutainment has not taken centre-stage in the boom times of 2005-2007. Other sectors overshadowed the opportunities that lay ahead in this growing segment which addresses hundreds of thousands of students and millions of young viewers”. The industry remains fairly untapped and the estimated pent up demand for animation in the region remains significant. In recent years (2007) Dubai launched the Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC) to provide students training through different courses; and Jordan has established the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts, chaired by Ms. Ayoubi, in partnership with the University of Southern California – School of Cinematic Arts. Further commenting on this transaction, Ayoubi said “The creative value chain of Rubicon is quite unique in the emerging markets where few animation firms combine creative content with high-quality production capacity, proprietary IP developments and; co-partnership projects with major US animation studios”.
Growthgate -managed by Keystone – follows a ‘buy and build’ investment strategy that is set on partnering with the management of growth-orientated businesses and, together, steering their courses into becoming enduring, large-scale organizations. This deal marks the fifth direct equity investment by Growthgate since its capitalization in mid 2007, and the first in the ‘Edutainment & Animation’ sector. Growthgate’s portfolio companies already comprise: Able Logistics Group (logistics & transport), Gama Aviation Holding (managed-private jets and aviation services), Roots Group (construction-related materials); and Averda International (environmental & waste management services).