The Middle East is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity that is seeing the launch of countless groundbreaking startups from nearly every vertical. More and more startups are emerging from this thriving ecosystem each year. Let’s look at a few of the most interesting up-and-coming startups in the Arab world today:
Arabee, a groundbreaking educational platform, claimed second prize at the fourth annual Dubai Smartpreneur Competition in 2019. The startup has capitalized on the expertise of parents, educators, and school leaders to develop a learning platform that helps young children acquire language skills more organically.
Arabee uses a mixture of reading materials, games, flash cards, and music to teach children the fundamentals of Arabic. Through this combination of learning tools, children hone skills in reading, speaking, writing, and listening while having fun along the way. With Arabee’s engaging content, youngsters are better able to retain what they’ve learned.
Arabee can be used in a variety of educational settings, from traditional schools to homeschool classrooms. In the future, the startup aims to become the preferred platform for language learning in schools across the UAE.
Experienced oil and gas worker Rashid Al Ghurair founded his startup, Cafu, to help drivers in the UAE access reliable fuel delivery services. The startup has since developed the Arab region’s first mobile application for fuel booking. With a name that represents the fusion of “car” and “fuel,” Cafu eliminates the need for motorists to drive to petrol stations to refuel their vehicles.
Whether they’re stranded on the side of the road or simply too busy to stop for gas, drivers can use the app to schedule a fuel delivery to their location. Cafu can also supply petrol for boats. When requesting a delivery, users specify the type of vehicle they have, their location, and the type of fuel they need. They can schedule fuel deliveries on a one-time basis or opt for regular fuel deliveries.
Since its inception in 2017, Maison Privee has amassed a user base of more than 10,000 guests seeking a new type of premium hotel experience. Headquartered in Dubai, the startup offers the luxury of a traditional hotel stay with the comfort, space, and unique style of an upscale residence. To this end, Maison Privee allows travelers to book stays at villas and apartments across the city; property owners can use Maison Privee as a flexible, easy way to earn revenue from their homes.
Every property listed on the Maison Privee site affords stunning views of Dubai and ample space, with guest services available on demand. This allows travelers to enjoy private, beautiful living spaces with all the convenience and features that they would find at a hotel.
Dress Come True
For brides like Eva Hachem, finding the perfect wedding dress isn’t easy. When she was planning to marry in 2016, Hachem found herself traveling across the UAE in search of the ideal dress. After giving up on boutiques, she considered customizing a gown of her own, but this option was out of her price range. Hachem did find a dress in the end, but was looking to sell it after her wedding—and discovered that there was an untapped market for used wedding gowns.
Hachem went on to establish Dress Come True, an online marketplace where brides and brides-to-be can exchange “pre-loved” wedding dresses. Users can search for gowns by price, size, and designer to narrow down their choices and find the right dress for them. In this way, Dress Come True is making designer dresses more accessible to brides in the UAE.
Barakatalan is a growing coupon website that emerged from its founder’s love of shopping for deals online. Himmi Bangia created her startup in 2017 and it has been thriving ever since, attracting a likeminded network of users who are looking to save money on online purchases. Barakatalan facilitates this by collecting deals and coupon codes from across the web and offering them in one convenient location. Featuring discounts in categories ranging from travel to apparel, the site allows its users to easily apply discount codes to their online purchases and save money instantly.
The trio behind Dubai-based startup Fixerman set out with a single goal in mind: to provide Dubai residents with more reliable repair services for their electronic devices. Upon studying the market, the three men saw that the majority of local repair providers relied on low-quality parts. Looking to provide a better alternative, Fixerman established service centers that comply with not only Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) standards, but also Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) requirements.
Fixerman is also revolutionizing the Dubai repair market in that its service centers are mobile and powered through solar energy. These “FixerVans” can go anywhere, so customers can schedule on-demand repair services and have a specialist come to their location. From smashed smartphone screens to laptop upgrades, the Fixerman team can repair almost any electronic device. The company also provides a two-year warranty with every fix, offering customers peace of mind.