In 2017, the UAE Ministry of Economy set out to provide technology startups from the local region and beyond with more opportunities for funding. To this end, the ministry established AIM Startup, an initiative that builds bridges between emerging startups and global investors. Every year, the organization hosts a startup showcase for businesses looking to pitch their ideas to new audiences. AIM Startup has become a major source of not only funding, but also thriving business partnerships.
This April, AIM Startup will welcome 500 startups from 25 countries worldwide. In 2018, the initiative highlighted an exciting group of startups from a broad range of industries, from transportation services to hospitality.
Here’s a look back at some of the most innovative AIM Startup participants from 2018:
Based in Cairo, Egypt, VoxEra is shaking up the regional telecom sector with its innovative communication solution for busy travelers. Unlike traditional phone services, which require users to pay roaming fees when they call or text while abroad, the startup offers a solution that provides free roaming.
Before they depart for their trips, users remove the SIM cards from their mobile phones and insert them into their VoxEra device. To activate their free roaming services, they must connect to the Internet and download the startup’s mobile application. The app allows them to keep in touch with their loved ones during their travels without the stress of roaming fees.
360Moms is a groundbreaking platform that aggregates information for mothers and families in the Middle East. Through the site, users can seek professional advice from more than 70 child development and parenting experts in its online community. These individuals answer questions from curious parents and write articles on the site. From pregnancy to parenting help, the site’s content is both informative and encouraging.
Aside from its written content, 360Moms provides information to parents through webinars and videos. The startup also frequently hosts workshops for those looking to learn about childcare, first aid, and other parenting topics. In addition, 360Moms offers the Mamas Rewards Card, which provides discounts on children’s activities and products, restaurants, clothing, and a variety of other goods and services.
Based in Jordan, Darajtee is providing locals with a reliable, eco-friendly option for their daily transportation. The startup has a fleet of dockless bicycles that allow users to make short trips around town at their leisure. By downloading the Darajtee app on their smartphones, users can scan the QR code located on the bicycle they would like to rent and unlock it for use. When they are done, they can leave it in any location for the next rider to enjoy.
Darajtee is targeting its service at students and travelers, focusing on the areas around universities and popular hotels in city centers. With adaptable frames suitable for both genders and comfortable seats, the startup’s fleet of bicycles is accessible to anyone.
Entrepreneurs Ahmed and Alla Albalushi founded Hadaya.om after recognizing a gap in the Omani e-commerce market. Along with their team, the pair sought to create an online service that allowed people to send high quality gifts to their loved ones. Hadaya.om boasts a diverse stock of gifts for men and women, including jewelry, colognes, perfumes, and watches, as well as additional options for sending flowers and sweet treats. This allows users to find the right present for any occasion.
The Dubai-based Oliv is an online platform for college students and recent graduates who are looking to connect with local job opportunities. Over 1,000 firms have turned to the site to find qualified job applicants in virtually every industry. Applicants can work with the Oliv team to create a profile that highlights their skills and career goals. The startup also supports its users during the interview process, providing online resources and offering training to help them make a great impression. Whether they’re looking for an internship, a part-time job, or a full-time position, young people in the Middle East can use Oliv to find opportunities that match their skills, career priorities, and interests.
Since its inception in 2016, Lexyom has made legal information and services more accessible to users in Lebanon and beyond. The team of founders, which includes both software specialists and experienced lawyers, created their startup to help people secure legal assistance quickly, on demand.
Lexyom relies on artificial intelligence to connect users to the legal services they need in a shorter amount of time. Natural language processing capabilities also enable the startup to translate legal jargon into layman’s terms. This makes it easier for users to understand Lexyom’s legal guides and articles, and to take control of their case.
Through Lexyom, users can also search for qualified lawyers in such specialties as real estate, criminal law, and family law. By providing on-demand access to legal services, the startup promotes faster, more affordable legal services.
Akyas is addressing one of the most pressing health crises affecting the developing world: diseases that spread via waste-contaminated water. To this end, the startup has developed a single-use toilet bag that helps to prevent human waste from contaminating drinking water sources. These kits enable users to dispose of human waste in a safe way, as the bag disinfects the waste and biodegrades over time. In addition, the kits include products for hand cleaning. Akyas is ideal for use in crisis zones and in communities that lack sanitary sewers.