7 of the Best Startups for Students in the Middle East

school

Between excelling in classes and following a busy schedule, student life can be difficult to manage. As such, those in the midst of their academic careers can often use a helping hand. For students in the Middle East, there are a number of startups that cater to their various educational needs. Whether an elementary school student needs after-school tutoring or a prospective university graduate is looking to discover his or her dream job, these companies are helping to guide these learners to a successful future.

Here are seven of the best startups for students in the Middle East:

  1. Acadox

acadoxHeadquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Acadox delivers a full-service Learning Management System (LMS) that is helping students everywhere to take charge of their education. Through the site, students can access course management tools and online classrooms that enable them to connect with educational resources from each of their lessons.

Acadox also features an innovative Community Social Hub platform, which allows student users to collaborate with one another and discuss course-related topics. All the while, users can seamlessly record their various academic achievements and monitor their progress directly through the LMS.

  1. Nafham

nafhamAvailable in five different Middle Eastern countries, Nafham provides tutoring resources to students of all ages. The startup’s founders established the site to help minimize the high costs of tutoring. To this end, Nafham features more than 20,000 free educational videos to its user base of 500,000 Arab students. Each of these learning tools corresponds with official school curricula, making it easy for students to find the help that they need with any academic field.

  1. Jibber Jabber

Jibber JabberDubai startup Jibber Jabber is looking to solve one of the most common problems that students face: a lack of organization. Between all their quizzes, lectures, and assignments, it can be nearly impossible for students to remain on top of their work and know what to prepare for which class on any given day.

With the Jibber Jabber app, however, students can easily input reminders for each of their courses directly onto an interactive calendar. This innovative platform displays a dot for each task that is due on each day of the week, making it easy for users to see their volume of work at a glance. To keep students up to date with their coursework, Jibber Jabber even provides them with notifications for upcoming events and due dates.

  1. Smartable

SmartableNamed as one of the Forbes Middle East Top 50 Saudi Startups 2016, Smartable is helping to guide Arab high school and university students toward their dream careers. To this end, the startup has revolutionized guidance counseling by turning it into a game. Students who are looking for career direction can use one of Smartable’s numerous online tools to assess their skills and determine how their talents align with different job roles and university majors. With more than 800 scientifically tested evaluations available, users can test everything from individual skills to behavioral qualifications.

After assessing their career aptitude, students can then use the site to collaborate with advisors who will help them target their educational activities towards their future jobs. Throughout the entire career development process, students can connect to the Smartable online dashboard and earn points for each step they take towards their goals.

  1. Gradberry

gradberryThere is nothing more difficult for university students and new graduates than finding career opportunities in their area. They can begin their search by utilizing online tools such as Gradberry. Upon signing up with the site, students must complete a talent profile that will highlight their skills to potential employers. Gradberry seamlessly integrates with its users’ Github accounts and professional portfolios to make this process easier.

Students who are looking to hone their professional skills can also take part in one of Gradberry’s numerous online courses. From Adobe Photoshop to personal finance, these lessons cover a wide array of career-oriented competencies.

  1. Synkers

synkersFor university students, finding help with their studies is not always an easy task. Whether they are looking to prepare for their GRE or simply need to improve their GPA, students can find whatever help they may need through Synkers. This Lebanese startup is helping more than 20,000 students across the Middle East connect with over 700 local tutors.

Via a mobile application, Arab students can easily choose which subject or topic they would like to cover and receive a list of available tutors who specialize in that area of study. They can then choose a tutor based off of factors such as where they live and how much they have to spend. The Synkers app then makes it easy for them to schedule time with their tutor at home, on campus, or anywhere else.

  1. Wade7

Saudi entrepreneur Wesam Yaghmour designed his startup, Wade7, with Arabic students in mind. He created a platform through which they could supplement their mathematics education with entertaining video content. With the help of talented engineers and educators, the startup has developed over 1,000 videos and exercises for students at every elementary grade level.

These mini lessons take a different approach to traditional mathematics courses, which introduce educational concepts in hypothetical situations. Wade7’s content helps young students hone their mathematics skills by applying each idea to a real-life example. The startup’s services are also less expensive than traditional tutoring, which ensures that all Saudi students will have access to the educational tools that they need.

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You Need To Be Watching These UAE Tech Startups

tech

There is no doubting the United Arab Emirates’ status as one of the biggest entrepreneurial hubs in the Middle East. Within this thriving scene are a growing number of technology startups that are taking consumers by storm due to their exciting innovations and groundbreaking services.

The sector can attribute its growth to the numerous economic free zones and venture capital firms within the UAE, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. With resources such as these available, technology entrepreneurs will only continue to bring new startups to the region.

The current community of tech startups in the UAE specializes in everything from app development to business services. Read on to explore a few of the UAE-based startups that you should be watching right now:

Bebuzzd

bebuzzdServing nearly 100,000 users across the UAE, Bebuzzd is revolutionizing customer loyalty for both consumers and businesses alike. The startup regularly works with companies in nearly every industry, providing an avenue through which they can increase their business.

Through its online interface, Bebuzzd allows businesses to create a customer loyalty program that best fits their needs. Whether they are looking to entice new clients with exciting deals or encourage existing customers to refer their friends, businesses gain the opportunity to engage consumers in dynamic ways. The Bebuzzd platform can connect with nearly any point-of-sales system, making it easier for businesses to implement their new loyalty programs.

Consumers can also enjoy a number of benefits by using Bebuzzd as they shop. Not only do the loyalty programs facilitated by Bebuzzd allow customers to access exclusive coupons for their favorite hotspots, but they are also able to earn points for each visit. This innovative rewards system thus results in greater savings and encourages repeat business.

Shedul

shedulBased in Dubai, Shedul is helping to simplify the appointment-booking process for beauty and wellness specialists around the globe. The startup has created an innovative digital scheduling program that makes it easier for users to operate their businesses.

Shedul’s online interface comes with more than just scheduling services, however. Using the client management feature, business owners can gain a comprehensive view of their customers’ past and future appointments, as well as analyze their service preferences. In addition, salon owners can deploy electronic reminders to keep their clients up-to-date with upcoming appointments. Shedul can even enable businesses to take appointment bookings directly through their websites and social media accounts. These services are available free of charge to the startup’s customer base of nearly 200,000 hair salons, personal trainers, acupuncturists, and more.

Duplays

duplaysEntrepreneurs Davinder Rao and Ravi Bhusari established their startup, Duplays, after failing to find a way to connect with other recreational sports players in Dubai. Since starting with a small group of 20 friends in 2007, the company has grown to serve more than 100,000 members of all ages and nationalities. On a weekly basis, around 5,000 of these individuals play in one of Duplays’ recreational sports leagues. Those who are looking to become more active can use the site to look through the list of available leagues and find one nearby.

Duplays also features a booking portal through which its members can reserve time to play at local sporting venues. In addition to its services for individual members, the startup regularly collaborates with companies that are looking to host branding events for customer outreach and team-building activities for employees.

ServiceMarket

servicemarketAvailable to consumers in the UAE and several Middle Eastern cities, ServiceMarket is making it easier to get help with home services. Through the site, individuals can connect with trustworthy companies that specialize in common services such as air conditioning repair and home cleaning. Focusing on a total of 25 service fields, ServiceMarket can also help users find car insurance, event caterers, and movers. All users can ask for a quote and read company reviews before booking the service they need, which helps them find the right contractor for their budget.

ServiceMarket can also provide a number of unique benefits to business owners. Those who become partners with the startup gain the opportunity to market to new customer segments in their area and receive feedback.

Apphitect

apphitectSince its inception in 2008, Apphitect has become the top mobile application developer in the UAE. In the past nine years, the startup has assisted in the creation of more than 600 apps for clients around the world. Apphitect’s diverse portfolio includes mobile apps for banking institutions, restaurant chains, and healthcare providers. The startup has also branched out into emerging technologies such as wearables and augmented reality, which enables the company to better serve its clients.

Focusing on both Android and iOS platforms, Apphitect works hand in hand with its clients to design applications that will fit their business needs. The startup’s development team then takes on the task of coding each app in a way that will ensure both stability and ease of use. At its Dubai-based lab, Apphitect puts the finished design through several rounds of testing. This step allows the startup to determine how its apps will function on different devices and in unique user situations.

A Look at 7 of the Most Innovative Startups in Beirut

Beirut

Like many Middle Eastern cities before it, Beirut, Lebanon, is quickly becoming a hub of entrepreneurship. This progress is due, in great part, to improvements in political policy, a surge in local incubators, and increased access to funding. As these elements have come together, they have created the perfect atmosphere in which local startups can thrive.

Here are only a few of the most innovative startups in Beirut today:

  1. Myki

MykilogoEstablished in 2013, Myki makes it easier for users to manage and protect their passwords. Though it keeps each password offline on the user’s phone, Myki utilizes P2P encryption technology to sync directly with each user’s computer or mobile device and input passwords when needed. The app also enables users to create backups of their accounts and store them on a computer.

Though Myki takes advantage of the cloud, it does not rely on cloud storage to manage user passwords. This keeps all sensitive data away from sources that hackers could easily access.

  1. Boshies

Boshies logoYoung Lebanese entrepreneur Elias El Haddad founded his startup, Boshies, in 2016 after deciding to re-popularize the famous tarboosh (also commonly known as a “fez”). This iconic piece of headgear was once a staple of Lebanese culture, but it fell out of fashion around the 1960s. El Haddad has sought to redesign the tarboosh to make it more appealing to a modern Middle Eastern audience and encourage more individuals to connect with their heritage.

Boshies has re-imagined the tarboosh in four different colors: burgundy, beige, khaki, and black. This sleek design boasts a similar shape to the original style, but replaces the iconic tassel with one colorful stripe on either side of the hat. The brand has also created a line of knitted tarboosh beanies for a more casual look.

  1. Tickle My Brain (TMB)

TMBlogoTMB is an online marketplace where individuals can seek assistance with nearly any writing project. Serving clients such as the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the American University of Beirut, the startup has built a diverse network of skilled writers and editors who specialize in numerous competencies. TMB’s resume writers, for example, help clients boost their job prospects by composing cover letters, CVs, and professional biographies. The startup’s editors can help individuals polish any research paper or essay. With other services ranging from copywriting to presentation design, TMB can affordably fulfill any writing need that its clients may have.

  1. Cinemoz

cinemoz logoMarketed as “the future of Arab entertainment,” Cinemoz provides Middle Eastern users with online access to an unprecedented number of films. By simply creating an account, individuals can view a wide array of premium films from across the globe. Striving for convenience, Cinemoz allows its users to watch their favorite videos on mobile devices, computers, and smart televisions. The startup is able to provide all these features for free thanks to its advertisers, who cover the full cost of streaming services on behalf of each user.

  1. Play My Way

PlayMyWaylogoAn educational tool for children, Play My Way is helping minimize the playtime spent on tablets and mobile phones. This app runs while children are using other applications, giving them pop-up questions every few minutes. In order to get back to their entertainment, kids must first answer these questions. With subjects ranging from English to mathematics, Play My Way is ensuring that children exercise their brains even during play. At the end of playtime, parents can review the questions that their children answered and determine if they need to work on certain areas of learning. Play My Way has even implemented a classroom edition that helps educators assess their students’ capabilities in different subjects.

  1. Happin!

Happin!logoSince its crowdfunded inception in 2012, Happin! has been providing individuals across the Middle East with a means of staying up-to-date with events in their area. This app enables its users to connect with local news using the location services on their mobile devices. Individuals can easily customize their notifications so that they will receive push alerts for certain types of incidents. Whether they wish to remain abreast of police activity or heavy traffic, they will receive instant notification of any developments taking place nearby.

Through Happin!, individuals can also create their own reports about emerging situations in their area and upload photographs to provide more information. The app additionally allows its users to comment on any news story and share reports through their social media accounts.

  1. Sympaticus

SympaticuslogoA mobile application specifically designed for women in the Middle East, Sympaticus helps improve its users’ wellbeing by providing them with easy access to online therapy. Through this woman-built interface, individuals can connect with female psychologists and therapists who can help them navigate through difficult life situations such as personal loss, depression, and separation from a romantic partner.

People begin the healing process by meeting their online therapist and creating a trusting relationship with her. Afterward, users can work with the app to understand their psychological issues and learn therapy techniques that will assist in the management of stress. In a little over three months, Sympaticus users learn how to change their behaviors so that they can reach their goals.

To ensure that each user receives the care they need, Sympaticus had incorporated a number of key therapeutic features. For example, individuals can use the app to diagnose symptoms and find answers to their medical questions. They can also partake in a number of small “Self-Learning Activities” that help them expand their understanding of themselves.

A Closer Look at the Growing Startup Scene in Riyadh

Riyadh

As the largest economic power in the Middle East, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has become no stranger to startups. Over the years, the nation has sought to expand its industrial portfolio beyond oil in favor of more entrepreneurial pursuits.

KSA’s strategic plan for its economy has even led to the establishment of an unprecedented amount of support entities for its budding startup ecosystem. Between 2006 and 2015, the Kingdom tripled the number of incubators, funding organizations, and co-working facilities that support the needs of its entrepreneurs.

The largest number of these institutions are located in the capital city of Riyadh, which is home to more than half of all such organizations in the country. Thanks to the contributions of these support networks, the city’s entrepreneurs have flourished.

Today, Riyadh has the most active of all startup scenes in KSA, with businesses in every industry ranging from digital health to education. Read on to take a closer look at the startups that are part of Riyadh’s growing startup ecosystem:

Launder

launderlogoFor those who lead busy lifestyles, completing daily chores such as laundry can seem like an impossible task. Launder is helping make it easier for Riyadh locals to keep their garments looking and feeling fresh by offering on-demand laundry and dry cleaning services to its clients. Whether they are at their computers or on the go, individuals can arrange for the startup to pick up their items at any time. In as little as one day, Launder will clean, press, and deliver their clothes right to their front doors.

Looking to make its services as simple as possible, Launder allows its clients to select from an array of laundry tiers. The startup’s “Relax” service caters to individuals who need regular garment cleaning services, offering a wider pickup window and more flexibility. Launder clients can also choose the “Soon!” service, which ensures that they will receive their cleaned garments within six hours of pickup.

The Hub

With a member base of nearly 100,000 individuals, The Hub leverages the most current technologies to help its users manage all their upcoming events. Instead of needing to type out lengthy invitations, search for venues, and handle an influx of reservations, individuals can centralize all their event planning duties onto one platform.

The Hub streamlines general event management, allowing hosts to send reminders to their guests and make edits at any time. Attendees can also use the site to view crucial event details before the date arrives.

Qaym

QaymlogoMarketed as the “Yelp of Arabia,” Qaym has brought the power of the online review to the people of Saudi Arabia. Locals can turn to the site to read and write reviews of eateries throughout Riyadh. The site’s users can browse through the latest restaurant additions, discover popular hotspots, and view photos of the dishes at each. Qaym also boasts a review section for restaurants in different categories, allowing users to find everything from burgers to East Asian fare.

In addition to its review services, Qaym allows restaurant owners to register their businesses online. This gives them the opportunity to not only garner awareness for their eateries, but also to interact with their customers and respond to comments in real time.

Junnah

Junnah LogoAn innovative digital health startup, Junnah is helping Arabic users change their habits and pursue healthier lifestyles. The website utilizes a combination of health programming, fun challenges, and support services to help its users meet their fitness goals.

In cooperation with trusted medical professionals, Junnah has developed training exercises and meal recording tools for locals. The site also uses interactive health monitoring services to help its users stay up to date with their progress. Through this online interface, users can connect with devices such as the fitbit and Jawbone UP to make monitoring even simpler.

These health solutions are helping work towards the goal of minimizing the occurrence of Type 2 Diabetes in Saudi Arabian communities, which experience some of the highest rates of the disease in the world.

Rwaq

RwaqlogoOne of Riyadh’s premier education startups, Rwaq has helped more than 500,000 students enhance their academic journeys with its innovative learning tools. With the help of global partners such as Cisco and Microsoft, the startup has created an online platform through which students can access complimentary educational materials of all kinds.

Whether they are looking to hone their skills with Microsoft Excel or learn basic first aid, students can use Rwaq to find courses that align with their particular area of interest. However, students are not the only ones who can benefit from this resource. Individuals and professionals from all walks of life can use the site to expand their knowledge.

Sawwagy

Sawwagy logoMany of Riyadh’s residents use either a personal driver or car to get around each day. For many of these individuals, managing these services on a daily basis can be challenging. Local startup Sawwagy has unveiled a mobile application that makes it easy for its users to track their drivers and contact them with ride requests at any time.

Through the app, individuals can also follow their personal car during each ride, receive vehicle maintenance notifications, and ensure that their chauffeur is driving safely. Sawwagy also allows its clients to purchase Swazi Pro mobile devices for their drivers. These phones are specifically built with the app in mind, prohibiting drivers from disabling location services and making ride scheduling easier for the user.

6 of the Top Startups That Graduated from Accelerator Oasis500

oasis500logoThe success of the startup ecosystem in the Middle East would not be possible without the numerous support networks that are helping entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to light. One such entity is Oasis500, an Amman, Jordan-based organization that provides acceleration, mentoring, and funding to early-stage startups. With these resources, startups leave the firm fully prepared to turn their concepts into successful enterprises.

Over the years, Oasis500 has worked with numerous startups in the technology and creative fields from across the Middle Eastern region. Here are a few of the graduates that have made the biggest impact in their respective industries.

  1. SocialDice

socialdicelogoSince joining the Oasis500 acceleration program in 2014, SocialDice has become one of the top hiring services startups in the Middle East. Co-founder Saed Shela formulated the idea for the company after struggling to navigate the hiring process at his former job. Upon posting an open job position for a technical worker, he received resumes from thousands of job seekers. The sheer volume of applicants made it difficult to find the most qualified candidates and keep in contact with them throughout the hiring process. Shela then set out to develop technology that would simplify the internal hiring process for other companies.

Today, SocialDice utilizes this technology to provide hiring solutions that firms need to publicize open job positions, collect resumes, find job candidates online, and more. Using the startup’s branding features, firms can easily develop a careers website that will attract more job candidates with SEO content that adheres to the company brand and requires little effort. SocialDice also makes it easy for firms to manage all of their job applicants within a single interface, thereby centralizing hiring efforts for the entire team.

  1. Play3Arabi

play3arabi logoFocused on the entire Middle East and North Africa region, Play3Arabi works with game developers to publish their work in the local market. The startup primarily caters to the needs of those who create mobile games in Arabic, providing all the resources that they need to reach an audience of over 300 million individuals who speak the language. Play3Arabi begins by finding Arabic developers, after which they work with them on the advertising and release of their game titles. In addition, the startup regularly works with its clients to localize their games for specific Arabic audiences across the MENA region.

Over the years, Play3Arabi has built a diverse portfolio of mobile games. One of its most successful titles is Heidi: Alpine Adventure, a game which follows a girl named Heidi as she travels through the hills with her friends. Play3Arabi has also helped publish the game Arab Racing. Those who download this title have an opportunity to race through five different Arabic locations along with other online players.

  1. MeGraduate

MeGraduate logoAlso known as Middle East Graduate, MeGraduate helps students achieve their educational dreams at universities across the globe. To this end, the startup provides web-based consulting services to students who do not know how to further their education or otherwise need assistance meeting their academic goals. By working with the team at MeGraduate, students can begin the process of applying for educational programs ranging from undergraduate degrees to work training courses. The startup can also help them to select specific programs and universities depending on their academic skills, ensuring that they make the most of their education.

  1. Feedeed

fedeed logoAnother top graduate of Oasis500 is Feedeed, a website that allows Middle Eastern businesses to find skilled professionals for their digital needs. By simply searching for the work they want to have done, consumers are instantaneously matched with a qualified expert. Feedeed thus eliminates the need to bid on services offered from multiple professionals at once. Instead, clients can directly contact an expert, agree on a quote together, and seamlessly make payments using the same online system.

Using this interface, Feedeed clients regularly seek professional help with services such as translating text into technical language, creating videos, and building corporate websites. Regardless of which services they seek, clients can ensure that they will finish their projects efficiently and without exceeding their budget.

  1. Hashdoc

hashdoc logoFor those in the professional realm, locating and accessing the documents that they need to complete their work can prove a daunting task. The Middle Eastern startup Hashdoc is making this process easier by creating a database of more than 300,000 industry documents. Entities in every industry ranging from human resources to education can use this collection of data to find the resources they need. Whether they are looking for white papers or presentation templates, users can access documents that focus on their sector.

Moreover, Hashdoc allows professionals to upload their own files to the site. They can either provide them for free or require their audience to pay for more exclusive documents. No matter which level of contribution they choose, users gain the opportunity to boost their impact online and add to professional discussions in their fields.

  1. Websity

websity.me logoIn April 2013, Websity joined the acceleration program at Oasis500. Since then, the startup has taken the Middle Eastern market by storm due to its one-of-a-kind website development tools. Using Websity, online users can create stunning websites without the need for expertise in either graphic design or coding.

Instead of turning to expensive web design services, individuals can work with the startup to develop either personal or professional websites at a much lower cost. Websity also allows its clients to customize their websites using different background images, font styles, and pre-made site sections.