7 of the Most Interesting Startups in Amman

business

Following in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates before it, Jordan has cultivated one of the most prolific startup scenes in the Middle East. Although the country has always been famous for its archaeological site in Petra, in recent years it has made a name for itself in the realm of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The capital city of Amman has contributed the most to this progress, serving as a home for countless startups that work with clients throughout the region and across the globe. From online payment portals to luxury e-commerce sites, here are seven of the most interesting startups in Amman today:

 

  1. Jobedu

jobedu logoOne of Amman’s most influential “creative brands,” Jobedu helps designers from the Middle East and beyond bring their work to life. Anyone can submit a design to the startup, which will then transform it into various products for purchase. Those interested in a designer’s work can then shop for all manner of apparel, home goods, and art prints that feature these designs. By offering such a wide range of high-quality items, Jobedu makes it easier for artists to reach new audiences and sell their work.

 

  1. HyperPay

hyper pay logoKnown as the “fastest-growing payment gateway” in the Middle East, HyperPay has offered catered payment-processing solutions to businesses since 2010. The startup’s agile e-commerce solutions helps online as well as brick-and-mortar merchants improve their own businesses and enhance their customer-service capabilities by enabling them to take payments on tablets, desktop computers, and smartphones. With such a comprehensive digital platform at their fingertips, businesses enjoy seamless payment integration with any website and can offer superior data security for their customers. HyperPay’s services also prepare businesses for market growth by delivering back-end analytics about sales trends.

 

  1. TOP STEERING

top steering logoHaving achieved more than $1.5 million in funding from such investors as Oasis500 and GearUP Saudi Arabia, TOP STEERING has become the go-to source for automobile parts and accessories among users in the Middle East. Whether clients need to find spare parts for their cars or wish to add exciting embellishments to their bicycles, they can find all that they need at this online shop. Aside from basic parts, TOP STEERING boasts a comprehensive range of products, including automobile oils, sound systems, and vehicle-mounted cameras.

 

  1. Edzance

edzance logoEstablished in 2016, Edzance has created an online platform through which students and teachers can collaborate on academic work. Users begin by signing up for the startup’s expansive directory, which connects them to others using social networks at local learning institutions.

Edzance helps members of the academic community build relationships on several levels. Students can use the platform to meet other scholars and make new friends. Edzance also enables users to establish groups at their universities, share academic publications, and even create professional resumes.

 

  1. Sowt

sowt logoSince its inception in 2013, Sowt has worked diligently to make online communication more personable. In place of the traditional photographs and messages that appear on typical social media sites, the startup has created a network that focuses on the human voice. Sowt capitalizes on the innately human ability to communicate through speech by encouraging its users to interact with one another through vocal conversation.

Through the support of the European Foundation for Democracy, Sowt has grown into a unique podcast website. Its users can follow others on the platform, listen to their podcasts, leave voice comments, and even share their own content. Every podcast goes directly to the feeds in their network, thereby ensuring that their voice will be heard. With these tools, Sowt hopes to foster necessary conversations about important topics.

 

  1. Wysada

wysada logoAmman’s Wysada is looking to become the region’s top destination for high-end goods by serving as a “sales club” that is open only to registered members. These individuals can log in to the Wysada website each day and view available deals on posh home goods. Offering everything from dining accessories to furniture, the startup features these special deals for around four days at a time. Wysada sells the majority of its products at discounts of up to 70 percent, thus enabling its members to affordably pursue a luxurious lifestyle.

 

  1. Friendture

friendture logoIn 2016, entrepreneur Rola Fayyad established her startup, Friendture, to make traveling more exciting for all. Known for “digitizing travel experiences,” the company allows travelers to see cities in brand-new ways. Whether users are traveling for personal reasons or for business purposes, they can use Friendture to find thrilling activities and connect with other users in any location.

The startup also caters to the needs of those who are traveling in a group, providing a way for them to seamlessly plan their experiences. Through either the Friendture website or its accompanying mobile application, these users can also chat about their vacation ideas, share photographs, and split costs. This eliminates the need to create several different online groups when arranging experiences and ensures better online privacy.

Those who manage their vacation activities through Friendture also have the opportunity to earn rewards points. For every excursion they book or offer, the startup will add loyalty points to their accounts.

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You Need to Know About These 5 Middle Eastern Food Startups

food

The Middle East has seen an influx of food-related startups in recent years. Several entrepreneurs from across the region have worked diligently to solidify their place on the local culinary map, delighting customers with succulent flavors. From food delivery services to brick-and-mortar establishments, these startups are making it easier for residents of the Middle East to enjoy their favorite cuisine.

In the future, the Arab food startup scene will likely witness even more growth due to local organizations such as Savour, a groundbreaking accelerator that caters to startups that focus on food. As the food startup ecosystem continues to thrive, it is important to recognize those businesses that have laid the groundwork for success in this industry. Following are a few of the Arab food startups that you need to keep on your radar.

 

  1. Eat

eat logoDubai-based entrepreneur Nezar Kadhem created his startup, Eat, after experiencing difficulty in booking a table at a restaurant in Bahrain. In an effort to make the process easier for businesses and consumers alike, he created a startup that helps restaurants in the local region to increase their bookings. Eat’s powerful reservation management platform gives restaurants greater oversight of the entire booking process, from analyzing key business metrics to creating seating plans. Restaurants can leverage these tools to enhance the dining experience for their customers and retain more business. Most recently, Eat partnered with TripAdvisor and Time Out Dubai to facilitate instant table booking features on both sites.

On the consumer end, Eat has developed a mobile application that offers customers a seamless way to make reservations. Rather than calling a restaurant to book a table, diners can secure a seat with just the touch of a button.

 

  1. Ripe

ripe logoSince 2011, Ripe has provided consumers across the UAE with locally grown and organic produce. By partnering with several organic farms from across the region, the startup has been able to provide fresh food to its customers through its Ripe Boxes. Clients can select from an array of these boxes, each of which features a variety of fruits and vegetables. Ripe Boxes change throughout the year depending on the growing season, thereby ensuring that customers receive only the freshest food.

The success of these boxes has since helped Ripe to expand its culinary influence. The startup regularly hosts Ripe Markets through which it sells its produce. In addition, consumers can find the organic goods that they enjoy through Ripe’s online shop, which has grown to include all manner of dairy, gluten-free, and meat products.

 

  1. Mumm

mumm logoFounded in 2015 by entrepreneur Waleed Abdel Rahman, Mumm serves as a source of home-cooked meals for clients across Egypt. Customers in more than a dozen areas can arrange to have a variety of inexpensive meals delivered right to their doorstep. Mumm’s affiliate cooks offer an array of meat dishes, soups, salads, and other regional favorites. Those looking for a delicious home-cooked meal can simply choose from one of the available options and select the type of delivery that they need. For single meals, Mumm guarantees delivery within 90 minutes. Those who need larger family meals or frozen fare will receive their orders within 24 hours.

Mumm customers can earn free meals any time they recommend the startup to their friends. For every invitation they make, customers and their friends can earn a credit of 35 EGP that they can use toward the purchase of any meal.

 

  1. NOLA Cupcakes

Nola logoAfter graduating from college, siblings Laila and Adel Sedky sought to tap into the most underserved market in Egypt’s dessert scene: cupcakes. This idea took shape in the form of NOLA Cupcakes, which opened its first store location in 2010. As the first business of its kind, it put gourmet cupcakes on the national map by offering a wide array of delicious baked goods.

Over the years, NOLA Cupcakes has introduced such delectable cupcake flavors as Tiramisu and Birthday Cupcake. Each month, the startup hosts a Cupcake Wars competition, during which time clients can sample the two flavors that are contending for the title of “Flavor of the Month.”

Following the success of its cupcakes, NOLA Cupcakes has since expanded to include a number of other sweet treats. Customers can choose from delights such as volcano cake, cronuts, and petit four.

 

  1. Cook-A-Box

cookabox logoAfter leaving his job at Groupon, Rasha Ismail established Cook-A-Box to provide more meal planning options to the busy residents of the Middle East. Instead of having to create their own weekly menus and go to the store for their groceries, customers can access recipes and their corresponding ingredients directly through the startup.

Every week, Cook-A-Box unveils a list of nine new recipes featuring cuisines from around the world. After its customers choose their favorites from the list, the startup will deliver a box of pre-portioned fresh ingredients to their doorsteps every day. The service not only saves customers time and eliminates hassles, but it also ensures that they have exactly what they need to create delicious meals throughout the week.

7 of the Arab Startups That Raised the Most Capital in 2017

funding

The Middle East is quickly becoming one of the most prolific entrepreneurial hubs in the world. In 2017, the Arab startup ecosystem became even stronger after several impressive funding rounds for local startups. Due to the support of venture capital firms, angel investors, and other entities from around the globe, a number of companies have stood out for their fundraising efforts this year. Following are seven of the Middle Eastern startups that raised the most capital in 2017:

1. Fetchr

fetchr logoDelivery startup Fetchr made headlines in 2017 after it secured a staggering $41 million in a round of Series B funding. While New Enterprise Associates Inc., led this fundraising round, Fetchr also garnered the attention of other local investors such as Iliad Partners, Majid Al Futtaim Holding, and Venture Souq.

Together, these entities helped Fetcher obtain the capital that it needed to facilitate growth across the Middle Eastern region and around the globe. Prior to its Series B funding round, the startup only had a presence in the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Aside from geographical expansion, Fetchr plans on using its funding to support improvements in proprietary technology.

2. Souqalmal

Souqalmal logoIn March 2017, Souqalmal announced that it had completed a Series B round worth $10 million. The startup, which is best known for its price comparison services, completed this round with the help of the Riyad TAQNIA Fund in Saudi Arabia. Other backers included GoCompare and the UAE exchange.

With this funding, Souqalmal aims to enhance its current technology and engage in more marketing campaigns. The startup has also set its sights on expansion. Looking to increase its lines of business, Souqalmal aims to reach audiences in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain before ultimately spreading throughout the rest of the Arab region.

Souqalmal has also initiated partnerships with GoCompare and the UAE Exchange designed to bring in more funding. These firms will contribute both the technology and consumer audiences that the startup will need for expansion.

3. Altibbi

AltibbiAltibbi is another Middle Eastern startup that completed a successful round of Series B financing in 2017. Led by DASH Ventures and Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), this round of financing brought the startup $6.5 million in funding. Altibbi reached this amount with the help of anonymous contributors and strategic investors such as RIMCO Investments and TAMM.

Since its inception in 2010, Altibbi has provided Middle Eastern audiences with medical information and access to physicians on-demand. Using its funding, the startup is looking to broaden its already extensive library of over a million pages of medical information and deepen its influence across the Middle East. With this assistance, Altibbi will be better prepared to improve health care delivery in the region.

4. Shedul

Shedul logoKnown across the Middle East for its innovative salon booking software, Shedul is another startup that achieved a funding victory in 2017 after securing $6 million from a Series A round. Headquartered in Dubai, the startup makes it easy for local salons to manage their operations by offering a platform that allows them to track point of sale (POS), customer appointments, and other daily processes.

MEVP played a key role in Shedul’s round of funding, with additional investments coming from Lumia Capital and BECO Capital. Although the startup’s founders made few announcements about their plans for the funding, they did express interest in expanding the company’s operations. Improvements such as these would only further bolster the success of Shedul, which garnered more than 40,000 clients in over 120 countries within its first two years of operation.

5. Pure Harvest Smart Farms

pure smart farm logoAn agribusiness startup based in Abu Dhabi, Pure Harvest Smart Farms made history in 2017 by completing the biggest round of seed investment in the Middle East. With a total of $4.5 million in seed investments, the startup surpassed a previous pre-seed round in which it earned $1.1 million. Pure Harvest completed its seed round following investment from global angel investors, technology partners, and a government-supported investment fund.

In response to concerns about food security in the Middle East, Pure Harvest has created technology that makes it more sustainable to farm in a desert climate. Using controlled growing environments, the startup makes is possible for produce of all kinds to grow even during the hottest times of the year.

6. Foodics

foodics logoIn September 2017, Saudi Arabian startup Foodics announced that it had raised $4 million from a Series A round of funding. Two local venture capital firms, the Riyadh Taqnia Fund and Raed Venture, were key to the success of this funding round, which was the first for the startup. With these new investments, Foodics will be able to increase its presence in the Middle East and possibly expand into the European market.

Since its inception in 2014, the startup has provided a comprehensive tablet-based POS system to local restaurants.

7. Now Money

now money logoAn up-and-coming startup based in Dubai, Now Money is the first company of its kind to provide mobile banking services to people with low incomes. In 2017, this groundbreaking startup attracted the attention of global investors, who altogether contributed $1.46 million in support of it.

Now Money took in significant investment from venture capital firms in both Dubai and the United States. Additional funding came from the Women’s Angel Investor Network and other undisclosed supporters.

7 of the Top Startups in Jordan

tech company

As the Middle Eastern entrepreneurial scene continues to grow, an increasing number of startups are emerging as leaders in their respective countries. In 2017, Forbes Middle East and the World Economic Forum each compiled their own lists of the top 100 startups in the region. These lists recognize the most innovative, well-funded, and influential startups from across the Arab world.

Several Jordanian startups appeared on these two prestigious lists for their groundbreaking work in every field ranging from online networking to e-commerce. Read on to explore a few of the top-ranked startups in Jordan today.

  1. ArabiaWeather

arabia weather logoThe Amman-based ArabiaWeather took the 10th spot on Forbes’ Top 100 Startups in the Arab World list, solidifying its place as one of Jordan’s most influential startups. Established in 2012, this company has since become the source for weather forecasting for audiences across the Middle East. ArabiaWeather leverages proprietary data and localized information to provide its clients with the most accurate weather reporting available.

On a business-to-consumer basis, the startup delivers weather data to individuals both online and through its app. Not only can users view traditional weather information, such as wind speed and daily temperatures, but they can also gauge how the day’s weather will affect their health and outdoor activities.

ArabiaWeather also focuses much of its work in the realm of business-to-business reporting. Working alongside all manner of oil and gas, construction, and airline entities, the startup helps its clients overcome weather-related challenges and improve their daily operations.

  1. Abjjad

AbjjadlogoA unique type of social networking site, Abjjad earned recognition on the World Economic Forum‘s list of 4IR Startups—those companies leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Designed specifically for lovers of literature, the startup has created a forum in which readers and writers can recommend books, find new favorites, and exchange creative ideas. People who sign up with Abjjad have access to the virtual bookshelves that make up the company’s online library. As users read and discover books, they can leave reviews and connect with others in the community. Any user can register additional books, which Abjjad will add to its library.

  1. MadfooatCom

madfooatlogoSince its inception in 2011, MadfooatCom has become the go-to source for eDebit payments in the Middle East. The startup, which took 17th on Forbes’ top 100 list, provides its clients with centralized electronic bill presentation and payment (EBPP) capabilities.

At any time of day or night, MadfooatCom users can access their billing information online and make any necessary payments. During this process, the startup facilitates a connection between customers’ banking institutions and billing entities so that every payment goes through securely and quickly. This service not only helps to reduce lines at billing centers, but it also increases the number of payment avenues and ensures that all parties are satisfied with the payment process as a whole.

  1. Aumet

aumet logoAnother one of the World Economic Forum’s top 100 startups, Aumet has created an avenue through which medical manufacturers, distributors, and healthcare organizations can connect with one another. The startup has designed its services to accommodate the daily needs of hospitals around the world. To this end, Aumet provides these end users with information about the latest medical products and access to the medical supplies that they need most. Through Aumet, hospitals can even find reviews of individual products and suppliers. As a result, the company is enabling suppliers to facilitate easier ordering processes for their clients while simultaneously boosting their sales.

  1. ShopGo

ShopGo logoRanked number 34 on Forbes’ list of the Top 100 Startups in the Arabic World, ShopGo works hand-in-hand with small businesses to help them grow into successful ventures. Since 2012, the startup has allowed budding companies from all across the Middle East take their services online. By utilizing the Magento e-commerce platform, ShopGo can provide its clients with the best solutions for their e-stores.

ShopGo can accommodate the needs of various small businesses, whether they operate from the home of a first-time business owner or have expert businesspeople at the helm. All clients can choose from several website themes that are specifically designed for e-commerce. ShopGo includes features such as multiplatform accessibility and dual-language capabilities, thereby enabling businesses to create the websites that they need.

  1. Kharabeesh

kharabeesh logoSince its inception in 2008 as a small art house developing its own animations for Middle Eastern audiences, Kharabeesh has grown into a multichannel website through which other digital creators can bring their most innovative media projects to light. The company, which boasts a collection of digital content across such genres as gaming, animation, tech, and travel, appears on the World Economic Forum’s list of top 100 startups.

As a producer of content, Kharabeesh has built a vast network of talented creators who use the site to host their work. These digital creators have the opportunity to collaborate with the startup’s team of experts on the development of their work so that they may best represent their own brand. Once the content goes live, Kharabeesh helps drive views so that the submission gets the most attention possible. Overall, the startup garners an impressive 90 million monthly views from its network of 5 million subscribers.

  1. Tamatem

tamatem logoA mobile games publisher in Amman, Tamatem is another addition to Forbes’ list of the Top 100 Startups in the Arabic World. The company regularly works with clients who want to reach wider audiences with the games they have developed. Tamatem assists these individuals by helping them localize their games to different areas of the MENA region. It also increases their monetization through in-app purchasing features. By offering services such as these, the startup is giving more game creators the power to tap into the ever-growing mobile-gaming market within the Middle East.

A Look at 7 of the Most Interesting Startups in Egypt Right Now

tech

Egypt is quickly becoming one of the most prolific entrepreneurial hubs in the entire Middle East. With startups in every industry from technology to housing, the country is a source of groundbreaking work in numerous areas. Amidst this growing startup scene are numerous companies that stand out due to their intriguing concepts and exciting services. Read on to take a closer look at seven of the most interesting startups in Egypt today.

  1. Breadfast

breadfast logoHeadquartered in Cairo, Breadfast enables locals to enjoy fresh baked goods every morning without needing to travel to the nearest bakery. The startup offers popular standards such as white and brown loaves, but it can also deliver a wide array of other breads such as baguettes, ciabatta, and brioche buns. Additionally, users can select from a number of regional favorites, including baladi bread and zaatar-flavored croissants.

Customers need only place their orders through the startup’s website any time before 10 pm the evening before they need delivery. The Breadfast team works throughout the night to prepare each of its baked goods for the next day. Customers then receive their orders directly at their front door at any time of their choosing.

  1. VOO

VOO logoAnother one of Egypt’s most interesting delivery startups is VOO, which allows its customers to transport items with the help of on-demand couriers. Both individuals and businesses alike can use the startup to ship any package to destinations across the greater Cairo area. Tapping into the “sharing economy,” VOO enlists the help of local freelance couriers who use their personal vehicles to make each delivery.

VOO is easy to use, requiring its customers to simply designate pick-up and drop-off locations for the items they are looking to deliver. They can also add other details, such as the size of the item and the recipient’s contact information, to make delivery easier for the couriers.

  1. Rescue App

rescue app logoShadw Helal, a 21-year-old medical student, developed the idea for her startup, Rescue App, after a friend of hers was frightened by a group of men following her down the street. To provide more resources to other women who feel unsafe during circumstances such as these, the young entrepreneur created an app that enables them to access help from any location.

Rescue App users who find themselves in dangerous situations need only confirm their emergency within the app. The app then sends out alerts to the startup’s network of volunteers, known as “rescuers.” Those who are within one kilometer of the user’s location can respond to the situation and offer aid. In addition, Rescue App connects with users’ emergency contacts to alert them of any potential dangers that the user may be facing.

  1. Chaino

chaino logoEntrepreneur Ali Zewail set out to create a new type of social network with his startup, Chaino. Along with his team, Zewail looked into the state of social media and found that online users are becoming more and more disappointed with what the available platforms have to offer. Dismayed by an increased focus on non-personal posts and a lack of true privacy, users have been looking for a different type of social media site.

Chaino seeks to address all of these concerns, providing a platform through which individuals can focus on being social once again. People can customize all aspects of their accounts, whether they want different groups of individuals to see different profile images or share certain posts with only their closest friends. Chaino gives its users the power to make their social-media pages more personal than ever before.

  1. Marj3

marj3 logoMarj3 is working with young Arab students to provide them with more opportunities for success. Within its first year of operation, the startup gained more than 70,000 active users seeking advisory services regarding study-abroad programs and educational funding options. Students can also sign up with Marj3 if they are looking for either general academic consulting or assistance in more specific areas.

However, the startup’s main focus is on scholarships. Marj3 lists more than 400 scholarships on the site, thus making it easy for students to find funding for educational opportunities across the Middle East. Through Marj3, they can even connect with scholarship awardees who can assist them with the application process.

  1. Qubix

qubix logoThe Cairo-based Qubix has been designing innovative, affordable residences for locals since 2016. Co-founders Karim Rafla and Youssef Farag are turning old shipping containers into living spaces and storefronts, utilizing the British concept of “cargotecture” in their design. Qubix equips each of its containers with insulation to prevent internal temperatures from becoming too extreme. By using pre-made containers, the startup’s founders can save money on construction and sell these structures at a lower price. Through its groundbreaking work, Qubix is helping solve a longstanding housing crisis in Egypt by providing housing alternatives to those living in underserved areas.

  1. Mermaid

mermaid logoSince bursting onto Egypt’s startup scene in 2015, Mermaid has become one of the top cleaning companies in the country. A graduate of the incubation program at AUC’s V-Lab, the startup offers a unique perspective on traditional home-cleaning services. Marketed as “the Uber for home cleaners,” Mermaid helps customers hire talented cleaning professionals (known as Mermaids) on an as-needed basis.

Mermaid offers several base packages that allow customers to arrange for essential cleaning services such as sweeping, bathroom cleaning, and dusting. For an additional charge, clients can purchase more customized cleaning packages.