According to a recent report from Wamda, there’s no better place for MENA’s entrepreneurs to launch a startup than in the UAE. The nation has built a massive startup ecosystem that has birthed countless groundbreaking startups, some of which have even made incredibly lucrative exits.
The UAE’s startup scene isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Each year, countless entrepreneurs are flocking to the UAE to launch their most exciting startup ideas.
Here are some of the coolest startups operating in the UAE right now:
Since its inception in September 2019, payment platform Zbooni has garnered a user base of 25,000 businesses that are leveraging its services to sell their products online. Entrepreneurs Ramy Assaf and Ashraf Atia designed their app with merchants in mind, looking to provide them with the means to facilitate transactions using the most popular social media platforms.
Using Zbooni, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other businesses can easily serve their clients over chat, opening up new avenues for income online. When customers inquire about a purchase over chat, they receive a checkout card directly in the chat window. These links take them directly to a secure site where they can make a payment in a matter of seconds. Zbooni allows businesses to keep track of all orders as they come through, streamlining their sales reports and helping them capture crucial data about repeat clients.
Yalla Baby Box
For the last two years, monthly box-subscription service Yalla Baby Box has made it easier than ever for parents in the UAE to access all the products they need for their infants. The startup offers three standard boxes, each of which comes with different baby essentials (priced based on factors such as brand and number of items per box), but parents can also build their own boxes, easily adding their favorite items or building a shipment according to their budget.
From diapers and toys to items for mothers, Yalla Baby Box offers a myriad of products, and each box includes surprise gifts for parents and their little ones. Each box is designed to last until the next one ships.
Based in Ras al Khaimah, Bon Education leverages the concept of human experience design to help its business clients develop learning initiatives for their teams. Whether a company wants to launch a small-scale learning program or a company-wide initiative, Bon Education delivers end-to-end services to bring them closer to their learning goals. Bon Education has a hand in everything from stakeholder research to program reporting, allowing the company to provide highly sophisticated educational solutions to each client.
Over the years, the Bon Education team has built a diverse menu of learning solutions. Businesses can enlist the organization’s help to build career readiness programs, corporate training platforms, and even mentoring services. Bon Education has experience working alongside clients in every industry ranging from food and beverage to nonprofit work.
Helmii is looking to improve the quality of sleep for residents across the UAE with its unique business model. With a name meaning “dreams” in Arabic, the startup allows its clients to fully customize their beds using more than 4,000 combinations of colors, fabrics, and headboards. This is a departure from the traditional method of shopping for and designing beds in store, which Helmii founder Simon Moore noticed was often frustrating for consumers.
His startup simplifies this process by allowing customers to build their beds from the comfort of their own home. Helmii also offers a 40-night sleep promise, a 100 percent money-back guarantee that lets customers try their mattress for up to 40 days to ensure that it fits their needs.
Entrepreneur Tariq Sheikh originally planned to launch a private equity fund, but then he identified a gap in the Middle Eastern payment market that led him to enter into the world of fintech instead. His previous experience in market research showed him that there was a dire need for a payment portal that would allow consumers to make purchases and pay for them over time instead of paying up front. With inspiration from similar products that were taking off internationally, Sheikh launched PostPay.
PostPay integrates with businesses across the UAE. As consumers shop, they can select PostPay as their payment option instead of cash, debit, or credit. The platform then spreads their payments out across four installments, which don’t charge interest or require any other transaction fees. This system is ideal for consumers who can afford the items they want, but not all at once.
Described as the Airbnb of education, skilldeer promotes skill building among users by connecting them with seamless access to classes in Dubai. The startup works with instructors to create digital versions of their schedules, helping them increase their exposure and reach more clients. Those looking to build their skills can search for learning opportunities on the skilldeer website, which features all manner of cooking, fitness, and business-related courses. They need only specify a date and time and pick a class that fits their schedules before they can begin pursuing a new passion.