Like many Middle Eastern cities before it, Beirut, Lebanon, is quickly becoming a hub of entrepreneurship. This progress is due, in great part, to improvements in political policy, a surge in local incubators, and increased access to funding. As these elements have come together, they have created the perfect atmosphere in which local startups can thrive.
Here are only a few of the most innovative startups in Beirut today:
Established in 2013, Myki makes it easier for users to manage and protect their passwords. Though it keeps each password offline on the user’s phone, Myki utilizes P2P encryption technology to sync directly with each user’s computer or mobile device and input passwords when needed. The app also enables users to create backups of their accounts and store them on a computer.
Though Myki takes advantage of the cloud, it does not rely on cloud storage to manage user passwords. This keeps all sensitive data away from sources that hackers could easily access.
Young Lebanese entrepreneur Elias El Haddad founded his startup, Boshies, in 2016 after deciding to re-popularize the famous tarboosh (also commonly known as a “fez”). This iconic piece of headgear was once a staple of Lebanese culture, but it fell out of fashion around the 1960s. El Haddad has sought to redesign the tarboosh to make it more appealing to a modern Middle Eastern audience and encourage more individuals to connect with their heritage.
Boshies has re-imagined the tarboosh in four different colors: burgundy, beige, khaki, and black. This sleek design boasts a similar shape to the original style, but replaces the iconic tassel with one colorful stripe on either side of the hat. The brand has also created a line of knitted tarboosh beanies for a more casual look.
Tickle My Brain (TMB)
TMB is an online marketplace where individuals can seek assistance with nearly any writing project. Serving clients such as the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the American University of Beirut, the startup has built a diverse network of skilled writers and editors who specialize in numerous competencies. TMB’s resume writers, for example, help clients boost their job prospects by composing cover letters, CVs, and professional biographies. The startup’s editors can help individuals polish any research paper or essay. With other services ranging from copywriting to presentation design, TMB can affordably fulfill any writing need that its clients may have.
Marketed as “the future of Arab entertainment,” Cinemoz provides Middle Eastern users with online access to an unprecedented number of films. By simply creating an account, individuals can view a wide array of premium films from across the globe. Striving for convenience, Cinemoz allows its users to watch their favorite videos on mobile devices, computers, and smart televisions. The startup is able to provide all these features for free thanks to its advertisers, who cover the full cost of streaming services on behalf of each user.
Play My Way
An educational tool for children, Play My Way is helping minimize the playtime spent on tablets and mobile phones. This app runs while children are using other applications, giving them pop-up questions every few minutes. In order to get back to their entertainment, kids must first answer these questions. With subjects ranging from English to mathematics, Play My Way is ensuring that children exercise their brains even during play. At the end of playtime, parents can review the questions that their children answered and determine if they need to work on certain areas of learning. Play My Way has even implemented a classroom edition that helps educators assess their students’ capabilities in different subjects.
Since its crowdfunded inception in 2012, Happin! has been providing individuals across the Middle East with a means of staying up-to-date with events in their area. This app enables its users to connect with local news using the location services on their mobile devices. Individuals can easily customize their notifications so that they will receive push alerts for certain types of incidents. Whether they wish to remain abreast of police activity or heavy traffic, they will receive instant notification of any developments taking place nearby.
Through Happin!, individuals can also create their own reports about emerging situations in their area and upload photographs to provide more information. The app additionally allows its users to comment on any news story and share reports through their social media accounts.
A mobile application specifically designed for women in the Middle East, Sympaticus helps improve its users’ wellbeing by providing them with easy access to online therapy. Through this woman-built interface, individuals can connect with female psychologists and therapists who can help them navigate through difficult life situations such as personal loss, depression, and separation from a romantic partner.
People begin the healing process by meeting their online therapist and creating a trusting relationship with her. Afterward, users can work with the app to understand their psychological issues and learn therapy techniques that will assist in the management of stress. In a little over three months, Sympaticus users learn how to change their behaviors so that they can reach their goals.
To ensure that each user receives the care they need, Sympaticus had incorporated a number of key therapeutic features. For example, individuals can use the app to diagnose symptoms and find answers to their medical questions. They can also partake in a number of small “Self-Learning Activities” that help them expand their understanding of themselves.