STARZPLAY, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, received its first independent debt financing in the region of US$25 million from Abu Dhabi-based Ruya Partners.
Secured on the basis of its financial strength and performance, the fund will be used to strengthening STARZPLAY’s geographic and customer reach, and acquiring and producing original content. The investment adds to the US$125 million secured since its launch in 2015 from STARZ, a Lionsgate company, State Street Global Advisors and technology investment firms SEQ Capital Partners and Delta Partners.
Ruya Partners is an independent alternative investment firm focused on private credit investments in developing markets. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi Global Market, it is a portfolio investment of Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, a JV between Mubadala Investment Company and Falcon Edge Capital.
STARZPLAY reaches over 1.8 million paying subscribers and installed on over six million devices. With a market share of over 32%, it recorded exceptional growth in 2020, including 141% growth in number of unique users.
Maaz Sheikh, Co-Founder and CEO of STARZPLAY, said: “This partnership demonstrates our ability to attract top-notch institutional investors as we drive growth and ensure a path to profitability. It strengthens our capacity to create original content, expand our footprint and cement our status as MENA’s digital champion. We now have the foundation for our plans to list STARZPLAY and create even more shareholder value.”
Rashid Siddiqi, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Ruya Partners, said: “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.”
Mirza Beg, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Ruya Partners, said: “We evaluated the model of STARZPLAY, which shows great promise for growth. As a creative enterprise with high-tech infrastructure, its success will inspire other UAE-based start-ups.”
STARZPLAY has focused on rapid growth with sound economics, reflected in expanding margins and strong earnings. With over 10,000 hours of premium content, STARZPLAY is available in 20 countries across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.