As entrepreneurship flourishes in cities across the Middle East, several organizations have contributed to this ecosystem by supporting the work of promising entrepreneurs. Among the region’s growing list of accelerators and incubators is the Touch Innovation Program (TIP), an initiative that is providing the resources that Lebanon’s emerging startups and entrepreneurs need for success.
TIP works with up to 12 startups each year, during which time these businesses can participate in training and mentorship opportunities within the Touch Lab. This facility also provides physical space for everyday work, product launches, and meetings. Alumni of the program receive additional benefits, including tickets to Arabnet Conferences across the region and cost-efficient office space.
2018 marked an exciting year for the budding program, which has facilitated two program rounds featuring six startups each. Here are a few of the most innovative startups that have participated in TIP thus far:
TIP selected Crowd Powered as one of its finalists for its second round. This startup, which formerly participated in the second cycle at Flat6Labs Beirut, is an online marketplace for solar power solutions.
Crowd Powered can assist home and business owners in finding the right solar installations for their needs using information about their current electricity consumption. Through the site, clients can discover how solar panels can benefit them and work with the startup’s team to design their installation. From financial assistance to contractors, clients can access all the resources they need to start saving money and reducing their carbon footprint.
A graduate of TIP’s 2018 first round, ecomz provides business owners and individuals with an easy, streamlined platform for creating online storefronts. Users don’t need any prior experience with coding, e-commerce, or website building to establish an online store through ecomz. The platform allows them to incorporate themes that match their brand, with different options for color schemes, templates, and fonts. With their sites in place, users can easily add products and establish their own domain online.
Aside from these features, ecomz delivers a number of other important capabilities that users need to maintain profitable online stores. Not only does the platform support transactions in over 20 languages, but it can also process payments in every major currency. In addition, users can offer special deals such as discounts on select items, which allows them to scale their audience and drive profits.
Lexyom, one of TIP’s second round finalists for 2018, is the first platform of its kind in the Middle East to facilitate connections between lawyers and people seeking representation. The startup thoroughly vets all of its lawyers using an extensive onboarding system, thereby ensuring that it only works with trustworthy, fully qualified legal professionals.
Individuals can find the right lawyer by using Lexyom’s search parameters. Taking into account their location, the urgency of their case, and the practice area in which their matter falls, the platform directs them to the best lawyers for the job. From bankruptcy law to family law, the lawyers registered on Lexyom can assist users in a variety of matters. In addition, the site offers a free selection of articles on a range of legal topics, such as launching a business in the UAE, understanding the Dubai South Free Zone, and setting up a Lebanese limited liability company.
Another participant in TIP’s 2018 second round, Fallound helps its users pass the time with podcasts that cater to their interests and preferences. This app is designed for those who regularly work out, travel by foot, or drive every day. Fallound finds exciting content for its users to enjoy based on the topics they enjoy most and the time they wish to fill. Whether they are looking for entertainment or want to learn something new, the app connects them to podcasts that are timed precisely to their commute or given activity. Fallound also integrates with vehicle navigation software to provide users with a hands-free listening experience while driving.
The team at Hello Harold has developed a Facebook chatbot that streamlines the process of finding used vehicles in online classifieds. The bot, which is available as part of Facebook Messenger, leverages artificial intelligence and natural language processing to search digital markets in real time. By combining these findings with information from its database of 3.5 million cars, Hello Harold will generate the most accurate price estimates for its users. The chatbot can also tell customers where to take their transactions and help them determine the optimal time to purchase or sell a car.
Dentiflow has developed a groundbreaking clinic management system for dentists looking to deploy the latest solutions within their practices. The startup has optimized its intuitive interface for use on all browsers and mobile devices, which promotes better accessibility for busy dental practitioners and their staff.
Through the platform, dentists can fully manage their patients’ dental records in a secure environment that mitigates the risk of theft, human error, and other sources of data loss. Digitizing these records also enables dentists to maintain more accurate information for each patient.
Dental practitioners can leverage Dentiflow to manage patients’ appointment schedules and ensure they make their payments on time. This modern interface can help dentists go digital and centralize their most essential administrative processes.