The Middle East is home to a number of thriving startup ecosystems, but none is growing as quickly as Egypt. According to the 2018 MENA Venture Investment Report, Egypt experienced the biggest surge in investment in 2018, with a 7 percent increase over the previous year. In fact, nearly one-quarter of all startup deals in the Middle East that year went to Egyptian businesses.
The UAE may still hold the title of top investment destination in the MENA region, but Egypt is hot on its trail. This amazing growth is thanks, in no small part, to the growing network of innovative startups that call Egypt home. From personal services to health care, the country’s brightest rising stars are serving consumers in nearly every vertical.
Here are a few Egyptian startups that you should keep your eye on in 2019 and beyond:
Vetwork took home prize money from the RiseUp Summit for its groundbreaking on-demand veterinary services. Through this app, pet owners in Egypt can access the care that their furry companions need with only a few clicks of a button. Vetwork offers checkups and vaccinations to keep its pets healthy and happy. Pet owners can also use the platform to schedule grooming appointments with the startup’s team.
When booking services, users need only specify the type of service they need and when they would like their appointment to take place. Vetwork then sends a practitioner right to their doorstep, so they never need to leave home to keep their pets looking and feeling their best.
Following in the footsteps of such acclaimed ride-hailing platforms as Careem, Halan provides users across the Middle East with a new ride-booking experience. The startup caters to those who live in areas with streets that are too narrow to accommodate standard vehicles. Typical ride-hailing apps don’t have the fleets to serve these populations, which leaves many with no other option but to walk to their destinations.
With a presence in both Egypt and Sudan, Halan allows locals to book rides with motorcycles and tuk-tuk. With a name meaning “now” in Arabic, the startup provides these services on demand. Halan has also developed a delivery service for both businesses and individuals alike.
Halan users can rest assured that their drivers (known as “Captains”) will get them safely from point A to point B. The startup not only vets all of its Captains during the application process, but it also puts them through a rigorous training program.
Launched in March 2018, Etgawez attracted more than 4,500 users from across Egypt in its first five months of operation. The app makes wedding planning easy by aggregating information about nearly any service a couple could need into one convenient location. Through Etgawez, users can search for venues, hairdressers, videographers, and much more. They can look at different service providers in each category and read feedback from past clients. After selecting the right vendor for their needs, they will receive a discount of between 5 percent and 20 percent on each service.
The Meal Kit
Entrepreneur Abdel Rahman El-Mahdy founded The Meal Kit to provide students and others living on their own with a more affordable, convenient way to enjoy home-cooked meals. The startup eliminates the hassle of shopping for and prepping ingredients by delivering all of the materials that its clients need to cook their selected meals. The Meal Kit features dishes that its clients can prepare within 30 minutes, making it even easier for them to enjoy quality meals at home.
Vezeeta is quickly growing into one of the biggest health care platforms in the Middle East. With $23.5 million in funding, the startup has developed a site through which patients across Egypt can find doctors and book appointments. Users can search for health practitioners by area of focus, location, or name, and find those that meet their criteria. They can even read reviews from other users on Vezeeta before making their decision. With the option to book online or over the phone, patients can easily make appointments and get back to feeling their best.
Though headquartered in Egypt, ArabJobs is helping users across the entire Middle East find employment. More than 2 million individuals have registered with the site, which features information about available positions in nearly every industry. After uploading their CVs to ArabJobs, job seekers can begin looking for employment by type, location, or even company.
The founders of MayDay set out to address one of the biggest issues facing drivers in Egypt: a lack of reliable roadside assistance services. Available to motorists in Cairo and Giza, the startup helps its users access in real time nearly any service they may need. Upon receiving requests from drivers, MayDay will immediately dispatch someone to help with such issues as flat tires, fuel delivery, and towing. Users can access these services at any time through the startup’s 24/7 Customer Care Center.
Through its mobile app, MayDay offers an array of subscription options to motorists in Egypt. Not only does this ensure better pricing transparency, but it also eliminates any payment issues that would prevent service providers from assisting drivers quickly.