7 Iranian Startups That You Should Be Watching Right Now

Iran

Along with other entrepreneurial hotspots in the Middle East like the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, Iran is giving rise to one of the fastest-growing startup scenes in the region. Undoubtedly, Iran has all the necessary ingredients to support its startup ecosystem. A significant portion of its population pursues careers in engineering, and the nation also has direct access to a number of underserved markets. In addition, the tech-loving population of Iran is quick to adopt cutting-edge products they see on the market.

It is this focus on innovation that has given rise to Iran’s diverse community of startups. Providing services in every industry ranging from e-commerce to digital media, these budding companies are leading the charge when it comes to building a powerful entrepreneurial ecosystem in Iran.

Here are a few of the Iranian startups you need to watch:

Tutti

TuttilogoEstablished in 2016, Tutti is looking to revolutionize Iran’s e-commerce industry with its online marketplace. The startup’s team has leveraged more than three decades of professional experience to create a website through which Iranian consumers can obtain exclusive discounts and deals on products. Tutti works directly with commerce experts to secure an array of products at the lowest price possible. New items are offered to members every day. However, each product has an extremely limited run of between one and two days. As such, users have to be quick if they wish to take advantage of every deal.

LaThème

LaThemelogoEntrepreneur Tina Maleki established her startup, LaThème, to provide a fashion outlet for the people of Iran. The startup’s website, which functions as both a fashion vendor and magazine, has become the destination for Iranians seeking luxury shopping online.

LaThème keeps its members up-to-date with the latest trends by regularly publishing content that highlights each season’s top fashions and provides a look at the most current street styles around the globe. In addition, the website helps readers copy the trends that they see using their own wardrobes. Members can also read up on tips for wearing different garments, hair style how-to’s and suggestions, and “what to wear” guides for various occasions. Profiles of various designers are also featured on the site.

Ponisha

Ponisha logoTehran-based Ponisha provides local entrepreneurs with a means of outsourcing their work to freelancers. Founder Nima Nourmohammady established his firm to connect freelancers with the businesses who need them. Though there are many global freelance marketplaces, Iranians can rarely use them because they cannot use Visa, MasterCard, and other common forms of payment. In addition, the majority of Iranians do not speak English well enough to make full use of these sites.

Nourmohammady overcame these problems by creating a freelance job website dedicated to Iran. Through Ponisha, entrepreneurs can create and advertise projects for any work they need completed. Freelancers bid on each project, thus allowing entrepreneurs to select the offer that best suits their budget. Once they complete their work, Ponisha makes it easy for entrepreneurs to pay each freelancer. Since 2011, the startup has built a community of nearly 120,000 freelancers and entrepreneurs across Iran.

AloPeyk

AloPeyk logoSince its debut in January 2017, AloPeyk has emerged as one of the top delivery service providers in Tehran. The startup works with local motorcycle couriers to provide its clients with inexpensive but efficient service. By connecting with AloPeyk’s iOS or Android application, users can request delivery service in a few steps. After inputting the pick-up and drop-off locations, they can select which courier they would like to use and follow their progress throughout the delivery. Individuals, online retailers, and restaurants are just a few of the users that turn to AloPeyk for their delivery needs.

EventBox

eventbox logoSpecializing in event management, EventBox provides all the professional assistance that its users need to create new events and discover upcoming events in their community. Whether they are looking to host a family reunion or convene a professional conference, users can customize event pages, sell tickets, and monitor their progress directly through EventBox. Individual users and event sponsors can then view each event listing and choose the ones they would like to attend.

Anetwork

anetwork logoAnetwork began as a digital advertising network but has since branched into the broader realm of digital media. Serving nearly 10 million users each month, the startup helps clients reach customers across the Iranian market. Anetwork users gain the ability to run their advertisements on more than 7,500 websites that reach an excess of 32 million people in Iran. Other services provided by the startup include SEO optimization, website design, and market analysis. Also one of Iran’s most prominent cost-per-click (CPC) companies, Anetwork assists clients with the creation of targeted advertising for mobile devices and video sites.

Reyhoon

Reyhoon logoSince 2015, Reyhoon has offered a convenient food ordering service to those living in Tehran. Via either the website or mobile application, users can input their location and see a list of nearby restaurants. They can view the menu at each eatery, see photographs of each dish, and read through user reviews. Reyhoon makes it easy for people to order food by allowing them to pay with cash, cards, or account credits. Users can also create accounts to simplify the process of placing future orders.

5 of the Top Beauty Startups in the Middle East

beauty

In the Middle East, markets ranging from travel to luxury goods have experienced rapid growth over the course of the last several years. Consumers from across the region have contributed to this positive economic trend through increased spending on beauty products.

The growing strength of the beauty market has piqued the interest of the region’s entrepreneurs, who have established startups that cater to the rising demand for beauty products in the Middle East. Here are a few of the top beauty-oriented startups in the Middle East that offer everything from cosmetics to salon booking services:

  1. Spoilee

spoilee logoThe team at Spoilee provides beauty experience booking services to the women of Saudi Arabia, who regularly spend billions of Saudi Riyal on cosmetics alone. In order to cater to the needs of this demanding market, the startup has cultivated a diverse network of salons across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Those looking to engage in beauty services can use the Spoilee app or website to discover new salons and book appointments. The interface makes it particularly easy for users to find salons that offer any treatments they may need, ranging from traditional nail and waxing to specialized bridal packages.

In addition to its consumer-driven services, Spoilee offers Saudi Arabian beauty salons a means of attracting new clients. Salon owners may add their businesses to the startup’s online community, through which they can arrange for crucial business services. For example, Spoilee can fulfill the marketing needs of its affiliate salons by helping them to build professional websites or assist them with their social media presence.

  1. GlamBox Middle East

glamboxlogoSince its inception in 2012, GlamBox Middle East has become one of the most revolutionary entities in the Middle East beauty sector. Serving clients in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the startup has made it easier than even for locals to remain on top of the current beauty trends. Individuals may sign up with GlamBox by purchasing three-, six-, or 12-month subscriptions. Each month, clients will receive a box filled with four or more surprise beauty samples. Every box contains a different mix of products, such as cosmetics, hair care items, and perfume.

GlamBox maintains partnerships with over 200 beauty labels from across the Middle East, which ensures that its subscribers can enjoy products from mainstream and luxury brands. Through the startup, subscribers can access all manner of beauty tips and tutorials that will help them to enjoy all the samples that they receive.

  1. Fabogo

fabogo logoWith offices in both the UAE and India, Fabogo (formerly Mazkara) connects clients with all manner of beauty and wellness services. The startup has built a long list of beauty venues that specialize in everything from hair removal to massage. By searching through this catalogue of salons and spas, users can glean important business information such as user reviews, locations, and phone numbers. Not only are customers able to book their next salon visit online, but they can also use Fabogo to pay for their services ahead of time. The startup also allows salon and spa owners to create special offers for its customers. As a result, businesses can garner the attention of potential clients while enabling them to save money on their favorite beauty services.

  1. BEEM

Beem logoIn 2015, BEEM burst onto the Dubai startup scene as a revolutionary “beauty concierge” for locals. Accessible through an iOS application, the startup removes the inconvenience of searching for reputable beauty salons and calling each one to find out if they have any openings. Instead, BEEM users can simply log in to the mobile app and search for a salon appointment in a few easy steps.

Users can begin their search by selecting the type of service that they want and noting when they are free for an appointment. Within these parameters, the BEEM app then recommends a number of reputable salons in the area and allows users to choose which ones they would like to visit. The startup then communicates customers’ appointment requests to the various salons, which can either accept or reject them depending on availability during the selected time slots. After receiving a list of accepted bookings, consumers can accept the one they want directly through the BEEM app.

  1. Feel22

Feel22logoHeadquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, Feel22 has become one of the country’s top online sources of beauty products. Since it launched in September 2016, the startup has worked to provide its client base with the biggest catalogue of items from both up-and-coming beauty companies and well-established brands. In fact, Feel22 has collaborated with over 70 brands and product distributors to supply its clients with more than 3,000 beauty products. Looking to create a better customer experience, the startup allows its customers to conveniently order either online or through WhatsApp. In addition, users can enjoy complimentary delivery and no-hassle returns with every purchase. The customized services have allowed Feel22 to serve more than 1,000 clients across Lebanon.

A Look at the Most Influential Telemedicine Startups in the Middle East

healthcare

The Middle East is in the midst of a growing healthcare crisis. As the local population has surged in recent years, the region has experienced an increase in healthcare costs, along with a decrease in available medical resources. In order to cope with this rising demand, numerous organizations across the Middle East have sought to revolutionize the way that healthcare professionals deliver care to their patients.

One area of focus is telemedicine, which allows people in different locations to securely transfer medical data and consult in real time. The field has attracted the attention of a growing number of entrepreneurs, who have established startups that offer unique telemedicine services for doctors and patients. Read on to explore a few of the most influential telemedicine startups in the Middle East.

AlemHealth

Alem HealthSince its inception, AlemHealth has delivered the telemedicine services that doctors need to provide treatment to patients in far-flung locations. Entrepreneur Aschkan Abdul-Malek first developed the idea for his startup after living in Afghanistan and Iraq for five years. During this time, he noticed that there were only a few doctors available to serve a disproportionately large amount of patients. This shortage of physicians, Abdul-Malek found, was common in developing countries and rural communities across the globe.

AlemHealth was his answer to this issue. The company provides an avenue through which patients, doctors, and medical centers can collaborate on treatment. When patients visit their local hospital, they can request their physician to send their medical images to AlemHealth. Leveraging its global network, the startup then securely transmits the information to specialists, who review it and make a diagnosis. Within 24 hours, the specialists send SMS, email, or hard copies of their diagnosis to the physician. The physician can then work with the patient to develop the most effective treatment plan. This unique telemedicine service has enabled AlemHealth to deliver critical healthcare to some of the world’s most underserved communities.

CareNow

Care Now Urgent Care logoBased in Dubai, UAE, CareNow places the power of healthcare directly in the hands of its users by allowing them to contact certified doctors directly through their smartphones. Through either video call or instant messaging, patients can consult with a physician and gain immediate insight into their medical conditions. In order to serve the diverse needs of its users, the CareNow platform can connect patients with specialists in fields ranging from pediatrics to mental health.

In addition to its patient-driven services, CareNow also provides a means for doctors to earn extra income. By becoming consultants via the platform, physicians can monetize the time they spend following up with their own patients and answering the questions that CareNow users ask. Moreover, the startup provides medical professionals with the unique opportunity to work with patients all across the Middle East. Participating doctors can even expand their medical knowledge by taking part in exclusive eHealth learning programs.

CardioDiagnostics

Cardio Diagnostics logoEntrepreneur Ziad Sankari formulated the idea for CardioDiagnostics after the death of his father, who did not have access to the care that he needed during a heart attack. The Lebanese native went on to obtain his engineering degree from an American university before establishing CardioDiagnostics. Through his startup, Sankari has created the first commercially available cardiac telemetry device. The wearable technology, called LifeSense, continuously monitors the wearer’s heart rate and other vitals so that it can immediately determine when abnormalities arise. In such cases, the device utilizes cloud technology to send the individual’s vitals and location to their doctor. As a result, patients are more likely to receive the care they need in time.

With offices in both Lebanon and the United States, CardioDiagnostics has garnered worldwide praise for its achievements in telemedicine. In 2011, the startup took first place in the US government’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I competition. Four years later, Sankari traveled to the White House to receive special recognition from President Barack Obama, who commended him for his innovative work.

Cura

curalogoCura is taking the Saudi Arabian digital health sector by storm with its telemedicine services. Headquartered in Riyadh, the startup is aiming to build a healthcare system in which any Middle Eastern resident can access the best care when they need it most. Through the Cura app, individuals can peruse a list of 150 certified physicians and consultants who work within more than 30 medical specialties. Users can also view each doctor’s qualifications, work experience, and reviews. Cura then makes it easy for users to contact their chosen physician, allowing them to privately consult with them and send any pictures, video, or audio that will aid in diagnosis. Instead of having to wait a day to see a doctor, patients are able to obtain reliable medical advice within minutes.

eTobb

etobblogoIn 2012, former marketing professional Sara Helou sought to revolutionize the Lebanese healthcare field after experiencing chronic backaches. When Google searches turned up no helpful results, she imagined a system that would allow patients to find and contact doctors directly online. With the help of a friend and two software designers, Helou debuted a directory of local physicians called MedHP. After successfully completing an acceleration program at Seeqnce in 2013, the team renamed their startup eTobb. “Tobb” is Arabic for “medicine.”

Since then, the company has built a diverse network of more than 1,000 qualified health professionals that individuals can contact at any time, from anywhere. Instead of needing to rely on the medical knowledge of their families and friends, users can ask health-related questions to real doctors directly through the eTobb mobile application, for free. In addition, users can pose questions anonymously, which makes it easy to inquire about any concern and receive a reliable response.

7 of the Most Innovative Startups in Oman

computer

Despite the impressive growth of entrepreneurial communities throughout the Middle East, the Sultanate of Oman has remained without one of its own until recently. With a growing population of expatriates and a booming economy, the country has been able to provide unprecedented support to its growing startup scene. Through outlets such as Startup Oman, the Sultanate has encouraged the success of its budding entrepreneurs. As a result, the Omani community can now enjoy the work of several groundbreaking startups. Read on to explore seven of the most innovative startups in Oman:

  1. Clickformeal

clickformeallogoSince its inception in 2012, Clickformeal has provided the Omani community with unique restaurant delivery services. Through this online portal, customers can peruse lists of eateries by searching for different service areas or specific businesses. In order to provide more variety to its customers, Clickformeal features restaurants that specialize in all types of cuisine, ranging from Omani to Mexican. During their search, customers can view menus from all the listed eateries and even see the ratings that other patrons have given each one.

Like other food-delivery websites, Clickformeal makes it easy for customers to place orders online. However, it has created a unique system that eliminates the need for credit card payments. Instead, customers can simply pay for their meals when they arrive at the door, making the ordering process highly secure. In addition, clients can earn digital CFMoney for each order that they place, enabling them to save on future orders.

  1. Genesis International, LLC

genesisinternationalllcQais Al Khonji, a renowned Omani entrepreneur, established Genesis International, LLC, in 2012 to undertake groundbreaking work across multiple sectors. Under his guidance, the startup has become a technical pioneer that has completed beneficial projects for the Omani community. Over the years, Genesis International has spearheaded initiatives in areas ranging from solar energy to electricity distribution. The startup has also engaged in another major undertakings that involved the creation of a “smart city” that sought to automate the process of making utility payments for locals.

  1. KI-BROS Productions

kibrosproductionslogoBrothers Yasir and Dawood Al-Kiyumi teamed up to create KI-BROS Productions, an innovative video production startup. Since graduating from Oman’s SAS Centre for Entrepreneurship, the startup has established itself as a major player in the local market by consistently producing high-quality content. KI-BROS Productions leverages a team of talented 3D artists, screenwriters, and editors to provide domestic and international clients with live-action and computer-generated videos. The team has particular expertise in melding these two mediums, which allows them to undertake any creative project that comes their way. In the past, KI-BROS Productions has worked with prominent clients such as Akassa, a children’s television program. The startup created the title sequence for the show in 2013 and 2014.

  1. ISO Catalyst

isocatalystlogoBased in Ruwi, ISO Catalyst works with organizations both in Oman and throughout the rest of the world to help them obtain the certification that they need to operate. With a team of 45 certification experts and auditors, the startup provides all the advisory services that entities need to not only meet industry standards, but to exceed them.

Whether clients need assistance to meet Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements or ISO 9001 standards, ISO Catalyst provides the necessary training to help them to achieve their goal. The firm even assists organizations during the final audit to ensure that they adhere to the requirements of the certification authority in their given industry. Over the years, ISO Catalyst has helped more than 2,000 organizations to obtain certification quickly and affordably.

  1. Alatool Muscat

AlatoolMuscatlogoSince 2012, Alatool Muscat has sought to revolutionize the Omani e-commerce industry by providing clients with a unique buying system. Every day, the startup offers a new deal to its subscribers, who have the opportunity to purchase it while it is still available. Alatool Muscat requires that its clients act quickly in order to take advantage of the daily deals. The startup allows its users to pay in a number of convenient ways: credit card, cash, or in-person. By 2016, these services had helped Alatool Muscat to garner nearly 90,000 subscribers.

  1. Khasab Sea Tours

kehabseatourslogoAnyone wishing to see the beautiful sights of Oman can look no further than Khasab Sea Tours, a tourism startup that connects travelers with one-of-a-kind experiences. Both locals and travelers from abroad can utilize the startup’s services to customize vacation packages that will take them across the Sultanate. One of the most popular excursions that Khasab Sea Tours offers is a ride to the Musandam Peninsula, where travelers can enjoy boat rides and view some of the area’s top cultural sites. The startup also offers a number of other exciting private boat trips that cater to the needs of small groups and large parties.

  1. Al Etijahat For Design

Another graduate of the Sas Center for Entrepreneurship, Al Etijahat For Design has become a major player in the Omani information and communication technology sector. The startup, which is based just outside of Muscat, was one of the first entities of its kind to provide custom design assistance to clients across the Sultanate of Oman. Al Etijahat specializes in all manner of online services, ranging from the management of client social media accounts to the development of video marketing materials. The startup’s primary focus, however, is graphic design. Through the work of its talented design team, Al Etijahat is able to create a diverse range of products such as infographics and e-magazines.

7 of the Top Travel Startups in the Middle East

travel

Among the many companies spawned during the current Middle East startup boom are those that cater to travelers. While a number of these startups target Middle Eastern residents looking for an easier way to plan and enjoy a vacation, others offer foreigners customized excursions to the region. Read on to explore seven of the Middle East’s top travel startups:

  1. HolidayMe

holidaymelogoWhen entrepreneurs Geet Bhalla and Digvijay Pratap discovered how difficult it was for Middle Easterners to make vacation arrangements, they decided to establish a startup that specifically catered to the needs of this market. Their company, HolidayMe, which allows clients to make customized travel arrangements around the globe, is now one of the top travel sites in the UAE.

Through the HolidayMe website or mobile app, individuals can book entire holidays or separately book hotel stays, flights, and activities. Customers can even arrange for getaways by category, such as shopping, nightlife, or eating. HolidayMe complements its impressive vacation offerings with seamless payments and dedicated customer service.

  1. Yamsafer

yamsaferlogoYamsafer leverages the most current technologies to deliver a comprehensive vacation booking experience to its clients in the Middle East. With access to more than 10 million hotel rooms, the startup provides the variety that its customers need to plan their dream trips. Though Yamsafer focuses primarily on providing travel accommodations throughout the Middle East, it also allows its users to book stays in such locations as Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

To make the booking process easier, Yamsafer allows clients to browse for hotels in either Arabic or English. If they need additional assistance before making a final decision, then they can contact the startup’s customer service team at any time of day. When clients are ready to organize their trips, they can take advantage of Yamsafer’s unique card-free booking services.

  1. The Travel Attaché

thetravelattachelogoThose in search of bespoke travel experiences should look no further than The Travel Attaché. Located in Dubai, this premiere luxury vacation startup gives clients access to more than 200,000 of the world’s top hotels and private getaways.

With The Travel Attaché, individuals can customize vacations that allow them to explore the frozen landscapes of Antarctica or relax on the beaches of St. Lucia. The startup’s team members boast a collective 50 years of travel industry experience, which enables them to offer individualized customer service and connect their clients with only the most exclusive vacation packages.

  1. Mateegi

mateegilogoIn a marked departure from more conventional travel services, Mateegi focuses solely on providing vacations within Egypt. Available to both locals and those visiting from abroad, the startup showcases the less frequented areas of the country and helps individuals connect with the local hotels and activities. By showcasing these unexplored locations, Mateegi is making it easier than ever for individuals to visit some of the most beautiful sites in Egypt. During the booking process, users can peruse the country’s available destinations and compare them with others before making a final decision.

  1. My Middle East

mymiddleeastlogoLooking to deliver highly personalized travel experiences to its clients, My Middle East allows individuals to build vacations that fit all their desired travel dates and personal desires. The startup begins the booking process by asking clients questions about what they are looking for in a vacation and what their “travel style” is. This enables My Middle East to provide customized vacation recommendations to each user.

With travel accommodations available for locations in Turkey, Croatia, and more, the startup can connect its customers with all manner of experiences and cultural excursions. Best of all, the company supports the communities it works with, training young people and partnering with women and small businesses whenever possible.

  1. tajawal

tajawallogoThose who book their flights and hotels with tajawal gain unique access to more than 15,000 vacation spots and 500,000 hotels across the globe. Whether through the startup’s app or on its website, individuals can filter by a wide variety of factors, like date, price, and popularity to plan extravagant trips and discover new possible destinations. The startup also regularly features travel offers on discounted flights and hotel stays. For additional vacation deals, clients can sign up for the company’s newsletter.

  1. Irhal

irhallogoIrhal, which means “go away” in Arabic, provides traditional vacation-booking capabilities for destinations in the Middle East and in exotic locations such as Australia and Indonesia. However, the company also offers special features on its website and mobile app that help its Middle Eastern clients maintain an observant lifestyle while traveling.

Whether they want to find a restaurant serving halal meals, know the location of the nearest Masjid, or see a list of local prayer times, users can quickly and easily view these options, which are categorized by city. Every year, Irhal also helps numerous clients plan their trips to Mecca.