Though it is home to a growing young population, the Middle East has been slow to adopt modern technologies such as smartphones. In more recent years, however, smartphone penetration has begun to increase across the entire region. By 2019, as many as 174 million Arab citizens will own a smartphone.
As the smartphone trend continues to gain traction in the Middle East, local entrepreneurs are leveraging their technical expertise to develop mobile application-centric startups. From managing daily transportation to making payments, these apps are helping to solve daily problems of all kinds.
Here are seven innovative mobile app startups to keep on your radar:
Egypt’s Rakna provides on-demand valet services to visitors of downtown Cairo. Instead of having to look for their own parking spots, users can connect to the app and select a vehicle drop-off point anywhere in the startup’s service area. Rakna will then send one of its highly vetted valets to pick up each vehicle and drive it to one of Rakna’s partner garages, each of which offers features such as CCTV cameras and security barriers to ensure the safety of each vehicle.
Through the app, users can track the location of their cars at any time and even pay for their valet services. Rakna charges either per hour or per day, depending on how long the vehicle needs to be parked. Once customers are ready to depart, another valet will conveniently bring their car to their location.
Headquartered in Saudi Arabia, B8ak has created an avenue through which users can access professional home services providers in their area. Any time a user has a service request, the app connects them to a verified handyman who can complete their maintenance project. B8ak features a menu of over 20 different services, including pest control, air conditioning maintenance, plumbing, and hardware recovery. Users can, however, customize their home services through the app if their needs fall outside of these more standard requests.
B8ak authorizes each of its service providers by putting them through quality assurance testing. They regularly undergo additional training and follow-up evaluations to ensure that they are providing the best service.
A groundbreaking fintech app, Bridg is making online banking easier for the residents of Dubai. Traditionally, smartphone users need a data connection to facilitate mobile payments. Bridg has eliminated the need for such a connection by running its payment services using Bluetooth technology. This system has not only simplified mobile banking for users, but it has also made it more secure. In lieu of QR codes or phone readers, Bridg allows its users to make payments from any credit card registered to the app. Whether they need to pay a delivery driver or purchase food on a flight, customers can do it all with this innovative platform.
A “trusted personal guardian,” AidMaid is making Saudi Arabian neighborhoods safer through its various emergency services. If a user feels unsafe, for example, then he or she can send an alert to friends and family. AidMaid will transmit the message when the user either presses the panic button or shakes the phone. The app will also notify nearby users who could lend a helping hand.
Parents can also use AidMaid to track their children’s location when they are away from home. Using the app’s live video streaming feature, they can watch their kids and keep them out of unsafe areas.
Since its inception in 2017, Halan has provided Egyptians with a reliable alternative to popular ride-sharing apps such as Careem and Uber. This platform is facilitating a new type of ride-sharing experience using tuk-tuks, motorcycles, and bicycles. Unlike cars, these modes of transportation make commuting more fuel-efficient and affordable for users.
Within its first six months of operation, the app garnered more than 100,000 downloads on the Android store. Halan has since looked into serving even more clients by expanding from Cairo to five other Egyptian governorates.
An app designed for clean-eating foodies in Egypt, Yumamia gives locals access to clean food at the touch of a button. Users can browse through the startup’s diverse menu of junk-free appetizers, soups, salads, and more before ordering portions of their favorite dishes. Within 60 minutes of receiving each order, Yumamia will prepare and deliver clients’ meals directly to their doorsteps. While they are waiting for their food to arrive, users can monitor their orders through the app.
Najm provides a way for Saudi Arabian motorists to report and manage vehicle accidents. While on the scene, users can photograph the damage, review insurance policies, and file initial reports. Concurrently, the app sends a case number to a nearby inspector, who then arrives at the scene to conduct an investigation. During the process, Najm users can track their accident reports directly through the app.