7 of the Most Innovative Digital Health Startups in Egypt

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Healthcare is becoming increasingly more digital as both patients and doctors alike turn to online platforms to seek and facilitate care. This trend is particularly common in Egypt, where countless startups are breaking new ground in terms of patient care, medical products, and access to healthcare.

Here are seven innovative digital health startups that you can find in Egypt today:

 

  1. El Dacatra

El_DacatraSince its inception in 2015, El Dacatra has made it easier for Egyptian patients to assess local doctors and hospitals. Those who are looking for a healthcare provider can compare different physicians through the site. El Dacatra helps its users make better decisions by connecting them to information about each doctor’s experience, reviews, and qualifications. Patients can also find contact information for each physician listed on the site, which simplifies the process of setting and managing appointments.

On El Dacatra, hospitals can post crucial information about their outpatient clinics, including which doctors work there and what types of surgeries they perform. The site also increases patient health awareness by allowing physicians to post original content about various health topics to the site.

 

  1. Medicobot

MedicobotAn innovative telemedicine startup, Medicobot has created a service that allows Facebook users to consult medical professionals through instant messaging. Within its first month of operation, the service received over 6,000 requests from patients. It has since remained popular among Egyptian users, allowing them to connect directly to nearly 600 physicians who specialize in many different fields of medicine.

Medicobot users can also search for physicians based on criteria such as their location and prior experience. They can then reach out to any physician and receive a free reply in as little as an hour. Not only does this system facilitate better connections between doctors and patients, but is also helps individuals seek care with less hassle.

 

  1. D-Kimia

dkimiaD-Kimia is revolutionizing the world of diagnostic medicine by creating its own ways to detect various diseases. To this end, the startup targets diseases’ nucleic acid signatures using tests that require little to no infrastructure. With these tools, D-Kimia aims to minimize the occurrence of diseases in areas that do not have the resources needed to treat them.

The diagnostic solutions at D-Kimia boast similar accuracy as the leading Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) techniques. The sensitivity of these processes has assisted the startup in its study of the Hepatitis C virus, which is prevalent in Egypt. Leveraging its diagnostic technologies, D-Kimia is developing a test that will make it easier and more affordable to identify this disease in local populations.

 

  1. Bionic Limbs

Bionic-LimbsBionic Limbs is helping lower the cost and increase the availability of prosthetics. The winner of the top prize at the Pharmaconex Investment in Healthcare conference and in the UNESCO Life Sciences and Healthcare category, the startup hopes to empower individuals with amputations more than ever before.

To this end, Bionic Limbs leverages its own research and development (R&D) capabilities to develop state-of-the art products. All of the startup’s innovations must undergo a research and clinical trial process that culminates in the publishing of a medical paper. This ensures that Bionic Limbs’ customers receive the best quality prosthetics.

Bionic Limbs’ latest product is a prosthetic hand that is both inexpensive and easy to use. Moreover, this item does not rely on motors or batteries. Like all the startup’s products, this piece is customizable to the needs of various clients.

 

  1. Vditory

VditoryA medical wearable startup, Vditory has developed groundbreaking eyeglasses to assist those with limited or no vision. The startup hopes to enable these patients to lead independent lives by providing a product that helps them more easily gauge their surroundings.

Vditory glasses are capable of reading any text that wearers see, whether it is in another language or inverted. The device also monitors the wearer’s surroundings so that it can tell him or her what objects are nearby and even whether he or she is outside or inside. Vditory can also detect the faces of others and tell wearers exactly who they are. This recognition software can even identify emotions and age.

 

  1. Tabibi 24/7

TABIBIHeadquartered in Cairo, Tabibi 24/7 is a telemedicine startup that helps patients access the care they need from the comfort of their own homes. Individuals can request medical services either online or by phone, after which doctors will make home visits. These physicians can see patients at any time of day and on any day of the week.

Tabibi 24/7 supports all of Egypt’s most popular health insurance plans, which makes it more convenient for people to seek the care they need. The platform also stores all users’ medical records for easy access.

 

  1. Bypa-ss

Established in 2017, Bypa-ss facilitates a more seamless exchange of healthcare information between physicians, patients, and medical centers through its innovative product, Health Tag. This wearable device allows patients to share their digital health records with their doctors via a web application. Providers can add new information to these records at any time and share them with other physicians. Patients also have access to Bypa-ss when they want to incorporate new records or if they need to find a healthcare provider nearby.

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Meet Some of the Most Interesting STEP Start 2018 Participants

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stepconferenceThe STEP Conference is one of the biggest entrepreneur-focused events in the Middle East, welcoming tech innovators and industry experts of all kinds. From STEP Money to STEP Digital, the conference features numerous events throughout the year that focus on the various needs of entrepreneurs.

In March 2018, STEP Conference held its annual STEP Start event in the Dubai Internet City free zone in the UAE. This gathering is specifically designed for aspiring entrepreneurs and those who are just embarking on their startup journeys, offering access to mentorship, educational sessions, pitch competitions, and more. The 2018 STEP Start conference also highlighted the work of more than 250 startups from across the regional technology industry.

Here are some of the most interesting startups that took part in the 2018 STEP Start conference:

 

ReportCard (UAE)

reportcardlogoDelivering intelligent management solutions for schools, ReportCard helps educators create more personalized learning experiences for students. From grade schools to universities, institutions of all kinds are using the platform to streamline classroom management and school operations.

Using one convenient online portal, educators can view and share class schedules and lesson plans. They can also manage profiles of individual students to ensure that they are attending their classes and completing their assignments. School administrators can use ReportCard to handle staff payroll and to automate invoicing.

ReportCard also provides key insights into school facilities, staff, and financials. With these reports, institutions can make more informed decisions.

 

WNNA (Bahrain)

WNNAlogoWNNA leverages artificial intelligence to offer recommendations to users looking for things to do in their local area. Through either its website or mobile application, users can find new activities to try, places to eat, and even travel opportunities. They can even randomize their choices to discover even more exciting places and experiences. Over time, the platform will tailor the suggestions users see based on their previous decisions.

 

Eat Clean ME (UAE)

eatcleanHeadquartered in Dubai, Eat Clean ME is making healthy eating more accessible for city residents. The startup has collected the area’s healthy eateries on one site, allowing users to search for restaurants based on location and dietary requirements and order meals for delivery. Whether someone is looking for a restaurant with vegan options or a café that serves gluten-free fare, they can find the healthy option they’re looking for on Eat Clean ME. The startup also leverages the expertise of nutritionists to provide users with curated meal suggestions each week.

To help Dubai locals eat even healthier, Eat Clean ME has also developed its own Healthy Handbook. This manual focuses on a number of important health and wellness topics, such as food allergies, key nutrition terminology, and different types of diets.

 

Rafiq (Egypt)

rafiqlogoBuilt for Android smartphones, Rafiq provides users with a virtual assistant that facilitates more interactions with their mobile devices. The platform makes it easier for phones to recognize voice commands in various Arabic dialects. Rafiq began with only the Egyptian dialect, but has plans to expand to others in the future.

The winner of the Unbound Bahrain startup competition, Rafiq helps users get more out of their smartphones. For example, they can use voice recognition to conduct searches on Google, make phone calls, or open apps. However, Rafiq is also known for its focus on third-party services. Through the platform, users can arrange a ride with Careem and find new products on Souq. Soon, the startup hopes to implement food delivery and hotel reservation services into the app as well.

 

Weytr (UAE)

weytrlogoWeytr is making it easier for restaurants, clubs, and hotels to take guest’s food and beverage orders while also enhancing the overall customer experience. Through this smartphone- and tablet-enabled app, users can browse the menus at their favorite establishments by inputting its designated Weytr code. Once they make their selections, they can place and pay for their orders within seconds. The app alerts the establishment’s staff, who prepare and serve the order. Weytr is available in five different languages, and it can convert menu prices to any currency in the world.

Weytr benefits more than just customers, however. By giving businesses more control over their food and beverage ordering systems, Weytr helps them maximize their revenue and serve customers faster. For example, Weytr alerts staff of incoming orders before clients even finish paying, which reduces the time spent fulfilling each order. And by providing an easy-to-use interface for orders, Weytr aims to increase customer spending by 20%. Businesses can also use the app to create promotions for specific customers or products.

 

Nester (UAE)

nesterlogoAn innovative “shared parking marketplace” in Dubai, Nester helps drivers find places to park throughout the city. Using the startup’s mobile app, users can scour their destinations for Nester-friendly buildings in the area. They can view how many spaces are available, how much they cost, and what ratings other drivers have left. Once they find a building, they can book a space for as little as a few hours or as much as an entire month. This solution is helping alleviate parking issues in Dubai one space at a time.

Nester also allows parking spot owners to list their own spaces on the app, which can help them earn extra money each month. They can adjust the space’s availability, so they can still park when they need to.

5 UAE Free Zone Dos and Don’ts You Need to Know about

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become a hub of entrepreneurship in recent years, welcoming aspiring business owners from both the local region and the entire globe. For expats, however, the process of establishing a startup can be a tricky one. Typically, you’ll need to enlist the help of a local sponsor to set up a new business in the UAE, and this individual must be the owner of at least 51 percent of the establishment.

Free Zones are the only other option when it comes to opening a startup in the UAE. These are somewhat akin to offshore firms, facilitating free trade within their boundaries. Instead of needing to set up a Limited Liability Company with a sponsor, you’ll be able to open your business as a 100 percent owner. Your startup will also be exempt from taxes on imports and exports, and it will enjoy access to all the ready-made facilities that it needs for success. The only condition is that you must establish your startup in one of the designated free-zone areas, which means that you can’t just set up shop anywhere in the UAE.

Even so, free zones may be the best choice if you’re an expat looking to found a startup in the UAE. As you get everything in order, you should learn about these important dos and don’ts to ensure that you follow the correct free-zone protocol:

 

DO explore your options.

business

The UAE is home to nearly four dozen free zones, which are spread throughout every one of the seven Emirates. Certain free zones may be a better fit for your business than others, so you should do due diligence and explore this multitude of options before settling on a final decision.

Many of the UAE’s free zones focus on more generalized businesses. The Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone, for example, has housed over 4,000 businesses since its inception in 2000. This sector features four distinct parks, which welcome startups that specialize in everything from technology to business. Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone is another zone that welcomes many different types of startups. The oldest free zone in the UAE, it is situated near the Jebel Ali Port and the Al Maktoum International Airport. This prime location makes it easy for businesses to transport products anywhere in the world.

If free zones like these aren’t right for your startup, then you could consider setting up in one of the UAE’s more industry-focused areas. Businesses that work in the realm of information technology would benefit from operating within the Dubai Internet City free zone, for example. Financial startups have several options, including the Al Maryah Free Zone in Abu Dhabi and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

 

DON’T overlook the costs.

Establishing a startup in a UAE free zone isn’t always cheap. You’ll need to allot funding towards visa and licensing payments before you can even open your doors. In addition, free zones typically charge far more in yearly rental fees than you will pay in other areas of the UAE. To rent out office space in the DIFC, for instance, you’ll be paying as much as $3,000 for every square meter. As such, you’ll need to plan carefully and choose a free zone that will accommodate your budget.

However, it’s not easy to anticipate every free-zone-related fee. For example, licensing your startup isn’t usually expensive, but it can come with a number of hidden costs. Between access fees and administration expenses, you could find yourself facing charges that you didn’t expect. Therefore it’s always beneficial to save extra money in case you encounter any of these hidden costs.

 

DO establish a bank account.

bank account

After licensing your startup in a UAE free zone, you must create a bank account for your business. Thankfully, there are countless financial institutions that you can work with. The UAE has many of its own banks, from the Commercial Bank of Dubai to Emirates NBD. If you’re more comfortable working with an international banking institution, then you can find choices such as Barclays and Citibank as well.

Whichever bank you choose, you shouldn’t immediately open an account that requires high minimum balances. Instead, you should base the size of your account on the needs of your startup. Look for a simple bank account with low fees to begin with.

 

DON’T forget to register for a visa.

As an expat, you will need to obtain a visa in order to live and work in the UAE. You must also register visas for your employees. However, the number of visas that you can acquire will depend on the free zone in which you wish to establish your startup. Once you determine how many visas you will need, you must ensure that all applicants complete an entry permit. If you fulfill the required criteria of this permit, then you may submit a status adjustment and undergo a fitness exam. Successful completion of these steps will enable you to obtain your Emirates ID and visa, which will allow you to open your startup.

 

DO seek help if necessary.

You may not feel completely prepared to open your startup in a UAE free zone, even if you’ve followed all the right steps. If you find yourself lost during the process, then you shouldn’t be ashamed to seek help. Try reaching out to other entrepreneurs who have established startups in a free zone. They’ll know better than anyone how to find the most affordable office spaces and how to tackle any issues with administration.

You’ll also need to complete government paperwork to register your startup in a UAE free zone. Most of these documents will be in Arabic, so you should hire a translator to help you if you’re unfamiliar with the language.

5 of the Best FinTech Startups in the UAE

startup

After a somewhat slow introduction to the region, financial technology, or FinTech, has become a thriving industry in the Middle East. However, this sector is growing the fastest in the UAE, which has invested heavily in financial advancement in recent years. FinTech can also attribute its local popularity to the UAE’s minimal regulations surrounding finance, focus on private investments, and geographic location.

The UAE, which is home to the FinTech hub of the Middle East, has attracted the attention of international FinTech startups from the likes of Canada, India, and Singapore. More importantly, this sector has also given rise to a number of local startups. Focused on everything from online payments to financial investments, the UAE’s homegrown FinTech startups are helping solve financial issues for consumers and businesses in the region.

Here are a few UAE-based FinTech startups that you need to keep on your radar:

 

  1. Sarwa

sarwalogoEstablished in 2016, Sarwa is making it easier than ever for Arab consumers to capitalize on investment opportunities. The startup begins its process by asking its clients about their financial situations and the goals they would like to achieve. Based on this information, Sarwa builds a customized investment profile that’s designed to maximize returns. Clients can add money to their portfolios at any time, after which the startup will handle all rebalancing and reinvesting activities on their behalf.

Sarwa offers three tiers of investment pricing. With a minimum balance of $2,500, clients receive basic investment services for an advisory fee of 0.85 percent per month. This fee drops to 0.7 percent for those with at least $50,000 in their investment portfolios and 0.5 percent for those with a balance of more than $100,000.

 

  1. Beam Wallet

beamwalletBeam Wallet has grown into the UAE’s most popular mobile payment application since first bursting onto the local FinTech scene in 2012. The app, which boasts more than 700,000 users, facilitates cash-free payments by acting as a digital wallet. Individuals can add their credit cards directly to the app, which then allows them to pay for meals, fuel, and other goods at any Beam-enabled store. They can complete these payments by simply tapping their smartphones to the designated terminal.

Beam delivers more benefits than just simplified payments, however. Users have the opportunity to earn rewards any time they make a payment through the app. Unlike other loyalty programs, these rewards are available in the form of dirhams instead of points. This makes it easier for Bean users to redeem their available rewards at the businesses they visit most often.

 

  1. Payfort

payfortlogoSince its inception in 2013, Payfort has created a unique payment portal for Arabic buyers and sellers looking to facilitate safer online transactions. Online businesses can leverage this payment network to integrate online transactions with their websites. Payfort works with more than 50 shopping carts—from Shopify to Instashop—to provide better checkout options for its members.

Utilizing Payfort’s digital payment methods, businesses can make it easier for their customers to make purchases from any location. This eliminates much of the hassle surrounding online payments because it lowers the friction associated with transactions and eliminates the need to redirect to outside payment services. Payfort also provides the foundation that sellers need to accept both local and international currencies, which helps them boost their revenues more easily.

Payfort helps protect buyers and sellers during transactions by delivering agile fraud protection services. Leveraging the most advanced risk management and fraud detection tools, the startup provides the secure payment methods that its customers need.

 

  1. MyMoneySouq

MyMoneySouqWith a name meaning “marketplace” in Arabic, MyMoneySouq has created an avenue through which UAE consumers can learn about new financial products and improve their money management skills. The site allows visitors to browse for products in four main categories: accounts, insurance, loans, and cards. No matter which type of product they are seeking, MyMoneySouq helps them find all the information that they may need to select the most suitable ones for their budgets.

MyMoneySouq makes this process even easier by providing financial calculators to its customers. Using these tools, individuals can easily determine how much they will need to pay towards their loans each month or how much interest they will earn on deposits.

 

  1. Beehive

beehiveIn 2014, Beehive became the first digital peer-to-peer (P2P) finance marketplace in the UAE. The startup focuses primarily on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), providing them with access to the low-cost financing that they require for growth. On the other hand, Beehive helps local investors connect to assets that will elicit higher returns down the line.

To this end, Beehive leverages crowdfunding solutions to simplify the traditional process of investment. The startup’s process begins when businesses apply for financing. During the “reverse auction” period, investors have the ability to bid on their requests and propose their own repayment rates. Once businesses choose their favorite offers, they receive their funding and pay back the agreed upon amount each month. Working through Beehive thus mitigates risk for investors while minimizing the cost of loans for businesses.

You Need to Know About These 7 Arab Fashion Startups

human

Fashion has become an essential part of the e-commerce industry in the Middle East. From design houses to independent retailers, fashion startups of all kinds are making it easier than ever for consumers to explore new styles and connect with up-and-coming designers. Arab fashion startups will only continue to shape the face of e-commerce in the region, so it’s crucial to follow the ones that are making the biggest impact.

Here are seven fashion startups to watch in the Middle East today:

 

  1. Fashtory

fashtory logoEntrepreneur Alanoud Al Mubarak established Fashtory to address the underserved fashion sector in Saudi Arabia. The firm has created a platform through which emerging designers can reach buyers, retailers, and other fashion lovers around the world.

For buyers, Fashtory eliminates much of the hassle surrounding the search for exciting new fashion pieces. Whether shoppers are searching for the latest menswear or looking to purchase new shoes, they can navigate the startup’s directory of products and designers from across the globe. Fashtory does most of the work, so its users can get exactly what they want or discover entirely new styles.

Fashtory also makes it easy for small-time and new designers to expand their fanbases by connecting them to its diverse global network. Through its mobile application, the startup allows designers to categorize both themselves and their stores so that they will appear in relevant customer searches.

 

  1. La Reina

la reinaFounded in 2016, La Reina has made it easy for Egyptian consumers to enjoy designer fashion without needing to own pieces themselves. To this end, the online platform allows locals to rent their wedding gowns, evening wear, and accessories to others. La Reina enables users to find the right look for any occasion by filtering results based on the color and size of the garment. Individuals can even search by designer, so they can shop their favorite styles and looks.

After users select the items they would like to rent, La Reina will either deliver the items to their front doors or send them to nearby fitting venue. The startup makes returns easy by allowing renters to arrange for pick-up or drop their items off at one of its locations. Since its inception, La Reina has enabled its dress owners to earn nearly $200,000 in rentals.

 

  1. Namshi

namshilogoNamshi caters to the demographic of young, stylish Arab consumers who are looking to experience new styles and fashion brands. The startup has cultivated a stock of more than 500 different labels from both regional and international designers. By following emerging fashion trends, Namshi ads hundreds of clothes, shoes, and accessories to its stock every week. The startup also sells items from its own in-house fashion line.

 

  1. Rozan Designs

rozan logoIn 2014, twins Rawan and Suzan Alsadi brought “hijab-friendly” fashion to Dubai with the founding of their startup, Rozan Designs. The entrepreneurs combined a love of fashion with their background in finance to establish a fashion house that creates high-end clothing for both those who dress in hijab and those who do not.

Rozan Designs debuts two collections every year. In the past, the startup has created both seasonal collections and special collections for brides to be and Ramadan. Rawan and Suzan collaborate on every piece they sell, leading everything from the design phase through the distribution of each collection.

With the help of social media influencers, Rozan Designs markets its products through its Instagram account, which boasts more than 34,000 followers. The startup then conducts its sales on Whatsapp and Modacorner.

 

  1. Mema Jewelry

MemalogoJewelry designer Mema Al Shafey has been developing elegant, high-quality necklaces, tiaras, rings, and more since 2012. She sells the pieces through her startup, Mema Jewelry, which is helping Egyptian women make fashion statements with bespoke accessories.

All of the startup’s designs feature 18k gold and 925k silver fitted with gemstones, making it easy for even the trendiest fashionistas to find something they will love. In the past, Mema Jewelry has also outfitted a number of local celebrities.

 

  1. BFrow

BFrowThe Tel Aviv-based BFrow has created a unique forum for fashion lovers, designers, and others in the industry. The startup’s name references the “frow,” a fashion term which refers to the first row at fashion shows. Just as the frow provides audiences with an optimal view of the catwalk, BFrow hopes to give its users the best portal into the fashion industry.

To this end, BFrow leverages machine learning to create and deliver fashion-related articles to its network of readers. Much of the site’s content also focuses on lifestyle topics and beauty products. Fashionistas can even publish their own articles to BFrow, which helps them reach wider audiences and engage in new collaborations.

 

  1. Zaam Designs

zaamlogoA unique fashion brand in Egypt, Zaam Designs has been creating high-quality handbags and clutches for consumers since 2012. Entrepreneur and designer Ahmed Azzam leverages both contemporary aesthetics and vintage flair to create his designs, which cater to both male and female clients. Zaam Designs produces each of its pieces at its Cairo workshop, thereby guaranteeing that they are of the best quality in terms of both craftsmanship and materials.

Based on these brand principles, Zaam Designs consistently unveils innovative collections that feature an array of materials and silhouettes. This changing aesthetic has helped the startup cater to those of varying taste and fashion sense.