r/MiddleEastNews - Top 10 Middle East innovative startups to watch out for

This is an exciting time for Middle East based startups as venture capitalist and investor firms are seeking to invest in innovative ideas. April 21 is observed as World Creativity and Innovation Day, and an apt time to read through a list of top 10 innovative startups in the Middle East.

Across the Middle East countries, the business landscape is witnessing a dynamic change. The ecosystem of startups in the countries is changing the complete sight of entrepreneurship and investments in region, bringing a positive future in sight.

The startups range from finance, health, social media and transport, and provide the entrepreneurs “home grown” tech solutions for plethora of services to consumers, making a considerable difference. 2021 was a ground breaking time for innovative startups in the region, deemed to only further bolster in 2022. The top 10 Middle East startups breaking ground in innovation are:

***1. Playbook (***Social media platform for professional women)

Founder – Wafa Al-Obaidat

Funding – $700,000

Investors – Sanabil Investments, 500 Global, Faith Capital, WomenSpark and Strategic Angel Investors

This social media platform is designed specifically keeping professional women in mind. The platform currently enjoys 12,000 members. It provides women mentorship from female leaders from across different fields for their career progression.

***2. Nitros (***Online shipping and logistics management)

Founder – Awsim Asmi

Funding – $300,000

Investors – 500 Global and OQM Investments

Nitros, a shipping and logistics solutions provider designed for online sellers, offers technical solutions right from e-store to delivery to the customer. It also offers retailers to compare rates for shipping, and transfer money.

3. ekar (Personal mobility systems)

Founder – Vilhelm Hedberg

Funding – $34 million

Investors – Polymath Ventures and others

This peer to peer car sharing application offers on-demand access to car share network and also subscription based vehicle leasing. This startup is currently operating across seven cities in the region.

4. Sarwa (Fintech)

Founders – Mark Chahwan, Nadine Mezher, Jad Sayegh

Funding – $25 million

Investors – Mubadala Investment Co., 500 Startups, Kuwait Projects Co., Shorooq Partners, ADQ, Middle East Venture Partners

This fintech startup has over 50,000 registered users currently. The platform for trading offers hybrid model of on demand customer support and AI backed smart trading.

5. AlTibbi (AI backed healthcare company)

Founder – Jalil Allabadi

Funding – $50 million

Investors – Foundation Holdings, Hikma Ventures, Global Ventures and DASH Ventures

This is a digital health platform based in Middle East and North Africa region. This platform offers simplified, up to date and reliable medical information to its users. This subscription based telehealth company has grown to 2.4 million consultations per year.

6. Tamara (Fintech company)

Founders – Abdulmajeed Alsukhan, Turki Bin Zarah, Abdulmohsen Albabtain

Funding – $116 million

Investors – Checkout.com

This Saudi Arabia based fintech startup is based on “buy now, pay later” model. It offers ability to its online and in-store customers for paying in instalments or split payments.  

7. NOMADD (Desert Solar technology)

Founders – Cliff Barrett and Georg Eitelhuber

Funding – $7.8 million

Investors – KAUST and CEPCO

It is an autonomous waterless robotic cleaning solution that has been designed and tested in severe desert conditions of Saudi Arabia,

8. SWVL (Transportation)

Founder – Mostafa Kandil

Funding – $175 million

This Egypt based bus hailing service company operates globally. It is at present a unicorn and is listed on US Nasdaq.

9. Dawarha (Sustainability)

Founder – Mohamed Kabil

Funding – $1.9 million

Dawarha manufactures reverse vending machines which use artificial intelligence to reward consumers when they deposit empty single-use plastic bottles or cans.

10. Rology (Health tech)

Founders – Amr Abodraia, Moaz Hossam, Bassam Khallaf, Mahmoud elDefrawy

Funding – $1 million

This platform was first launched to fill the gap of radiologists and fix the high rate of latency in medical reports. This was done by enhancing image quality of scans and “matching cases from hospitals and radiology centers according to sub-specialization and expertise”.

This list of top 10 innovative startups in the Middle East region highlights the specific areas in which these platforms are striving to make a difference.

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