Like many other Middle Eastern nations before it, Lebanon has built the perfect ecosystem for technological innovation. This is especially apparent in the country’s startup sector. Over the years, Lebanon’s incubators and venture capitalists have invested in the most exciting, cutting-edge tech ideas that local entrepreneurs have to offer. As a result, the nation is on the cusp of becoming one of the most prominent technology hubs in the Middle East.
Here are five of the most exciting tech startups in Lebanon today:
Since its debut in November 2015, Mobsting has revolutionized the process of video creation. Whether people want to tell a unique story or capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment, they can use the company’s Android app to record a short video on their mobile device and then edit it, speeding up or slowing down portions of the footage and incorporating effects such as music loops. Once they perfect their creations, users can easily upload them to any social media site for others to see.
Based in Beirut’s Berytech Digital Park, PinPay, with its one-of-a-kind payment services, has taken Lebanon by storm. Unlike other digital payment methods that require desktop access, PinPay lets users manage their financial obligations directly through a convenient iOS or Android application.
The PinPay app lets its users make payments at any time and from any location. Instead of traveling to live merchants and waiting in lines, individuals can pay their bills and purchase all manner of goods and services directly through their mobile device.
PinPay users can also browse through their transaction history, change their methods of payment, and register different devices with their accounts at any time. All these unique payment services combine to make life easier for the startup’s on-the-go clientele.
Yamli’s founders drew inspiration for their new company from the events surrounding the war in Lebanon in 2006. At this time, Lebanese residents could only access important, war-related news by performing online searches in Arabic. However, Arabic keyboards were in short supply.
Consequently, users chose to use the Arabic chat alphabet called Arabizi instead. This inspired Yamli’s founders to create a site that would make it easy for Arabs to translate Arabizi into regular Arabic.
This idea has since evolved to include two unique products. The first, a Smart Arabic Keyboard, allows users to transliterate Latin script or pronunciations into Arabic text. This dynamic tool can understand and process multiple spellings of the same word, thus making it easy for users to find an accurate result in Arabic. In addition, the keyboard adapts to the text that different users enter, which helps it recognize dialects.
The second Yamli product is Arabic Search, which provides online search results in Arabic after users input the corresponding Latin-based spelling of each search term. Together, these products are enabling increasing numbers of Middle Easterners to browse the Internet with ease.
Launched in 2016, Meetwo is Beirut’s answer to traditional app-based dating services. Founders Abdallah El Amine and Sebastien Koubar sought to create a dating app that looked past the traditional algorithms and examinations that similar services use to match users. Marketed as the first app of its kind to pair users based solely upon chemistry, Meetwo seeks to provide its members a more realistic dating atmosphere.
Each Meetwo user completes a unique, 10-question Personality Test, which becomes part of their profile. Users are then free to browse through Meetwo’s Chemistry Finder, where they can see other members who live near them. If they with to connect with someone, then they must first pass that person’s Personality Test to ensure that there will be chemistry between them. Meetwo aims to use this game-like platform to make online dating as thrilling as live dating.
The Beirut-based Cashanta has paired shipping and travel to make it easy for its clients to send packages all around the globe. Typically, those who need to ship their wares either domestically or internationally need to pay large sums of money to ensure that their packages arrive safely at their destination. However, by using the Cashanta app, people who need to ship something (“requesters”) can basically “rent” space in a traveler’s luggage and have that person deliver the item. After travelers post how much available space they have in their luggage, clients search for who is traveling to their desired shipping location and select which people they would like to use to complete their delivery.
Cashanta allows clients to send packages with people who are traveling by plane or car, thereby allowing their deliveries to reach nearly any location. This alternative shipping method works for most items, from business products to mechanical components. Moreover, Cashanta provides people an easy way to make money while they travel.