Lebanon boasts a long history of talented entrepreneurs whose global brands have changed the faces of every sector from automobiles to technology. In recent years, there has been an even greater surge of new startups due to an influx of ambitious young entrepreneurs and foreign investment. Read on to learn more about a few of the Lebanese startups you should be watching:
After experiencing a break-up, et3arraf founder Cedric Maalouf established a groundbreaking Arabic dating site. With a name meaning “get to know” in Arabic, the company honors courtship traditions that date back thousands of years to connect young men and women looking for marriage. Et3arraf acts as a type of Khattaba, or matchmaker, for these individuals, while also helping them avoid scams and unwanted messages from other users. To this end, the site blurs the profile photos of each female user until she and her match become better acquainted. A personal quizzing system and spam prevention algorithm also minimize suspicious activity, so users can make better matches.
Though et3arraf began in Lebanon, it has since expanded its services to other countries across the Middle East. Perhaps its largest customer base is in Saudi Arabia, which is home to about 70 percent of the site’s users.
Since its inception in 2011, Game Cooks has served the community of gamers in the Middle East and around the entire globe. With its original office located in Mansouriyeh, the startup has initiated efforts to open a second location in San Francisco, California. Game Cooks employs a team of talented art directors, 3D animators, and game designers who have leveraged their passion for gaming to create a line of unique mobile applications. In addition to its Arabic games, Game Cooks has also released a number of games in English. Among its array of products are the arcade-style PolyBlast and the 3D combat-based Power Smash.
With locations in both Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, Presella is perfectly positioned to provide access to events across the Middle East. Individuals can browse the startup’s website to find tickets for any type of event, from popular concerts to educational workshops.
However, Presella’s most innovative feature lies far beyond its basic ticketing services. The startup has created an e-platform that enables its users to become event planners themselves. Those who do not have access to a large online audience or necessary funding can use Presella to create “risk-free” events, sell tickets, and market to individuals in their area. Afterward, they receive money from ticket sales directly through the site, which makes hosting a community event, performance, or any other gathering easier than ever before.
In an effort to bring the home address system into the 21st century, Eddress has created a revolutionary digital platform that simplifies traditional house numbers, city names, and postal codes. Those who constantly need to input lengthy addresses for their home or place of work can use the site to convert them into an easy-to-use, six-digit alphanumerical code.
Eddress hopes to make the process of finding and giving directions simpler for those living both in Lebanon and beyond. In addition, the startup also streamlines the process of online shopping with a widget for businesses’ websites. Even better, users can keep their unique code even if they move to another city or office. Eddress only requires that they change the associated address on its website, so they can seamlessly transfer monthly bills and other necessary contacts.
This Beirut-based startup provides data analytics software that is specifically designed for those in the food and drink sector. With the serVme system, restaurant owners can gain new insights into their sales and operations, so they can make necessary changes for success.
For example, the system gathers and evaluates data about customers’ orders, so restaurants can understand patterns and market trends. In addition, serVme helps business owners directly contact their patrons and facilitates targeted marketing to customer groups based on certain characteristics. This advertising approach can be more effective.
Tickle My Brain
A number of prominent media outlets, such as Entrepreneur Middle East and Startup Weekend, have featured Tickle My Brain and its writing services. Through its website, the startup allows individuals and business owners to connect with thoroughly vetted writing professionals. With their help, Tickle My Brain users can improve everything from business proposals to college application essays. The startup began with resume editing services and has since helped revise over 1,500 of these documents for clients around the world.
The team at Ziifaf created the startup with a vision of simplifying the wedding planning process. Through both a website and mobile application, the company places the decision-making power into its clients’ hands. Acting as a sort of wedding planner, Ziifaf allows its users to find venues, wedding entertainment, photographers, hair stylists, florists, and more. In addition, the site includes a wedding creation feature through which users can share photographs and “save the date” invitations. With all these wedding-related services in one place, brides and grooms can more easily find what they need to fulfill their wedding vision.