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Top 25 emerging startups from the MENA region

Alok Soni
24th Dec 2016
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Recently, Economic Develpoment Board, Bahrain and Tenmou hosted MENA Angel Investors Summit 2016 in Bahrain. Here's a list of top 25 startups from MENA(Middle East and North Africa) region who pitched at the event.

With the world innovating at a pace never seen before, the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region is certainly feeling the heat. The oil well of the world is now ready to fuel its startup growth engines as well. Recently, the Economic Development Board (EDB) Bahrain and Tenmou, Bahrain’s first business angels company, came together with other partners to organise the MENA Angel Investors Summit 2016. The startup showcase witnessed the coming together of the 25 most promising emerging tech startups from the region.

mena-angel-investors-summit-2016-bahrain
A startup pitching at the MENA Angel Investment Summit 2016

Simon Galpin, Managing Director of EDB Bahrain, believes that it’s very important to capture the whole picture of startup activities in Bahrain and across the Gulf Cooperation Council (a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman). The MENA Angel Investor Summit was held with an aim of filling in the gaps in the local ecosystem and also building a bridge to let the public and private sectors work together in promoting the startups of the region.

He says, “Bahrain is positioned to be the startup hub for the GCC (and MENA).” He believes that EDB’s mandate to create jobs in Bahrain also gets fulfilled through this. With startup events, EDB is trying to bring the players of the ecosystem together in one place.

 

The 25 top-notch startups of the MENA region that pitched at the event were:

  1. GetBaqala – Started by ex-Vizury employees, GetBaqala is a hyper-local grocery delivery platform based in Bahrain. The startup aims to reach 300 orders per day by December 2017.
  2. Fish.me – Probably the most famous startup in Bahrain at the moment, Fish.me is an online marketplace for fish. The founding team consists of ex-fishermen and people from the logistics industry. It has more than 10,000 app downloads, over $150,000 in revenues, and an impressive 28 percent MoM growth.
  3. Malaeb App – Incubated at Tenmou accelerator in Bahrain, Malaeb App lets users book football fields in Bahrain.
  4. Manshoor.com – A content startup promising Arabic content for the new generation. Through translation, creation and curation, the platform aspires to give a voice to the new generation.
  5. myU – Kuwait-based myU is an app-based internal social network of schools connecting teachers and students. The startup aims to get three million users in the next four years. With more than 60,000 users and over 1,000 educators, it clocked revenues of $75,000 in 2016.
  6. Bookr – Bookr is a Kuwait-based salon and spa booking platform. The platform has over 100,000 downloads, with more than 25,000 registered users at present. The startup claims to get more than 1,000 new users every month.
  7. USKI App – Based out of Bahrain, Uski app lets you book movie tickets through your mobile. With the country having 120,000 seats in its cinemas, there is an opportunity of $438,000 per annum just waiting for startups.
  8. JumpSuite.io – An online marketplace for training (personal trainers) and nutrition plans to help you achieve your health goals.
  9. Taskty –An online marketplace for home services in the MENA region and one of the fastest growing startup in the area, Taskty has received more than 16,000 service requests till date and delivered 7,000 orders. The company has 45 percent returning customers, and has raised over $200,000 from Flat6Labs, Cairo Angels and others.
  10. ElWafeyat – An online platform for obituaries, memorials and funeral services.
  11. Dashroad – Dubai-based Dashroad is a hardware startup creating tools to make driving safer in the Middle East.
  12. Washmen – An Abu Dhabi and Dubai-based on-demand laundry service.
  13. Maharah – Based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Maharah is a mobile app for maintenance and civil work.
  14. Susurrus – The literal meaning of the word ‘susurrus’ is whispering or rustling. True to its name, this startup aims at making brands viral. It’s an online platform connecting brands with lifestyle influencers. The platform enables brands to run influencer marketing campaigns automatically.
  15. Precision Prosthetic Center (PPC) – This Jordan-based organisation is providing prostheses at affordable prices to amputees living in countries affected by war. The owner of PPC is the inventor and designer of the Swissleg prosthetic concept created in 2012.
  16. Nano Ebers – Nano Ebers wound dressings are electrospun nanofibers made from a high concentration of honey (greater than 50 percent) and chitosan, and exhibits the advantages of both the ingredients (strength and favourable on wound). The startup is targeting the wound management segment, which will be a $20.5 billion market by 2020.
  17. Deep OR – This startup provides an AI (artificial intelligence) solution for operating room management.
  18. Sajilni – 500 Startups-backed Sajilni is an event management platform.
  19. Kotobna – This Cairo-based startup provides a self publishing platform for aspiring writers.
  20. Ostor Labs – A cloud-based mobile application vulnerability scanner. The solution automates the analysis of the mobile application to identify security weaknesses and attention points and provides detailed recommendations to fix the identified vulnerabilities.
  21. Play3arabi – A mobile games publisher focused on the MENA region. Instead of building games from scratch, the company looks for successful games from all over the world that fit the region. They then license, localise, cultarise, and publish them in Arabic.
  22. ElMuda.com – This startup claims to be the Middle East’s premier online luxury fashion destination catering to modern women.
  23. Masmoo3 – An online platform offering Arabic audio books.
  24. Finengin – A collaborative web app for financial planning and managerial activities.
  25. Votek – A software startup specialised in developing speech recognistion solutions based on automatic Arabic speech recognition. The company has also developed a smart toy, which responds to and tells jokes, facts and stories, and plays games, among other activities.

Bahrain could be the launch pad for startups looking to capture the GCC region. But the country’s startup ecosystem is still in its early stages. EDB Bahrain is trying to take a lead in the region and prove its mettle. We’ll be back with a comprehensive piece on the Bahrain startup ecosystem soon. Watch this space for more.

 

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