There is no doubting that entrepreneurship in the Middle East is thriving. From the United Arab Emirates to Egypt, startups across the entire region are providing their customers with groundbreaking products and services. Here are some of the most promising startups you should be keeping on your radar:
Headquartered in Dubai, Derq is leveraging automotive technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the capabilities of vehicles and make it safer to drive. By allowing vehicles to “talk” to each other and providing assistance to motorists, the company’s innovative tech can anticipate and prevent traffic accidents. Derq has designed its smart solutions to function in any vehicle and driving environment.
Derq’s connected vehicle tech alerts drivers to potentially dangerous motorists in their vicinity. Using roadside scanners, the technology can determine if cars are swerving or driving too quickly. The system then alerts nearby drivers so they may avoid those hazards.
A graduate of the TechStars Mobility Accelerator, Derq is also using its connected vehicle tech to support the development of autonomous vehicles. This could help make roads safer by potentially eliminating accidents caused by human error.
A rising startup from Sharjah, Savarin is becoming well known across the UAE for its stunning desserts. Savarin’s executive pastry chef, Alannah Francesca, strives to create delicious offerings that provide a healthier alternative to sugar-laden sweets. She and her team use recipes that rely on the sugars in chocolate and fruit, which allows them to make desserts with less refined sugar. These creations have helped Savarin win the Salon Culinaire Gold Medal and the Association of Pastry Chefs Dessert of the Year Award.
Clients can order Savarin treats in batches of all sizes and for any occasion. The startup regularly provides its desserts to local restaurants, educational institutions, and event venues.
Ziifaf is a mobile application that is simplifying the wedding planning process for couples across the Middle East. This free-to-use platform acts as a digital wedding planner, providing all the tools users need to plan their perfect day. Couples can start by looking through the various wedding categories on Ziifaf. With options ranging from stationary to entertainment, they can easily find lists of vendors who can help them realize their vision for their wedding. The app can also auto-send invitations to guests.
As their wedding day approaches, couples can create a private page for their event to share their wedding details with others. As friends and family join their wedding page, they can share photos and other information in anticipation of the big day.
In Memory Of
In 2016, digital obituary platform El Wafeyat launched a new startup for people looking to honor their deceased friends and family through charitable giving. Known as In Memory Of, the site allows users to establish crowdfunding campaigns in their loved ones’ names. In collaboration with several Egyptian organizations, the startup has developed a diverse list of available projects from which users can choose. Whether they wish to support people who need heart surgery or provide water and electricity to underserved communities, users can set up campaigns for good causes. They can also donate money to existing projects.
An engineer from Lebanon, Ayah Bdeir leveraged her expertise to establish littleBits. Looking to spark innovation, the startup sells electronic “building blocks” that encourage children to use their creativity and invent new things. Each littleBits kit comes with color-coded pieces that, when used together, can create exciting gadgets of various sizes. The startup also sets up challenges that ask kids to solve fun problems. In addition, more than 3,500 schools around the globe use littleBits to teach their students about STEM, coding, and more.
Clayola has developed a simple, yet effective way for gardeners to ensure their plants get the water they need. This solution takes the form of a small clay pot, which users fill with water and place into the soil next to a plant. Since it is made from a porous substance, Clayola releases water into the soil slowly. Plants draw only as much water as they need, and very little is wasted—Clayola is up to 80% more efficient than traditional irrigation systems. With just a siphon, tubing, and gravity, the clay pot can extract water from a bucket or any other type of simple water tank. In this way, gardeners can keep their plants watered for a month without actually having to do anything.
Egypt has been experiencing a fitness revolution in recent years. More people than ever are turning to cycling, yoga, and other sports as they pursue active lifestyles. Startups such as The League have made it easy for locals to find new, exciting activities in their areas. To this end, the company creates and manages unique amateur sporting leagues for universities, companies, and schools. The emphasis is on fun and friendly competition, and a wide variety of sports and activities are available, from darts and table tennis to football and rugby.