Online Encyclopedia Mawdoo3 Receives $1.5 Million in Funding

Online Arabic content was given a boost last month with the announcement that Jordanian startup Mawdoo3—a Wikipedia-like online Arabic encyclopedia—received $1.5 million in Series A funding from Dubai-based investor EquiTrust.

Initially founded as a student project in 2010, Mawdoo3 quickly filled a void in online Arabic content and has since grown into a team of 15 people, with the website consisting of more than 40,000 articles on topics ranging from cooking to religion.

According to Ehab al-Otibi, business and communication manager at Mawdoo3, in terms of the amount of online Arabic content, they now rank third, behind MBC and MSN Arabia. The website, he said, is growing by more than 1,000 articles every week and he hopes that the additional funding will help them to invest further in their content.

“We are aiming to become the number one Arabic content website and with such funds and support from EquiTrust we think we can do it,” al-Otibi said.

Demand for the website is also on the rise. In the last year Mawdoo3 saw it’s traffic increase by 500 percent. They now boast more than 20 million visits per month, of which 12 million are unique. According to al-Otibi, the majority of traffic is coming from Saudi Arabia (24 percent), followed by Egypt (13 percent), and Jordan (10 percent).

Mawdoo3’s content is created by a combination of freelance writers and volunteers. While anyone can create an account and contribute an article in a similar fashion to Wikipedia, all content is reviewed and edited for accuracy and quality, especially for articles on topics such as health. “We are focusing on delivering high quality information, and are really trying to provide the most accurate information,” said al-Otibi.