Forbes Most Promising UAE Startups In 2016

Forbes Middle East, for the second consecutive year, has listed the UAE’s most promising startups. A total of 100 entrepreneurs were broadly categorized into the most promising startups and the startups to watch out for. Startups from consumer services sector dominated the lists, followed by businesses in ecommerce, financial services and the insurance sector.

“We are very positive for the exciting times ahead. With the country’s vision and several government initiatives on innovation, the UAE is among the leaders in accepting innovative ideas and support entrepreneurship,” said Khuloud Al Omian, Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Middle East.

Even in a tough year, venture capitalists continue to believe in the potential ideas of entrepreneurs and are providing the necessary funding to scale up their businesses. Top venture capitalists, corporate venture arms and angel investors from the region have provided around USD 175 million of funding to these businesses. In the ’50 most promising startups’ category, 28 startups gathered over USD 1 million of follow-on funding and 32 raised money from investors excluding friends and family. In the ’50 to watch’ category, 24 businesses are still bootstrapping.

“Startups are emerging among the most important growth drivers for regional economies. Mastercard has a long history of supporting startups and encouraging entrepreneurship across the world. Our flagship startup engagement program – Start Path Global – is already playing a role in fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs, giving early-stage companies an accelerated path to scale innovative solutions by providing them a variety of operational support, mentorship and investment,” said Raghu Malhotra, President, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.

The Top 50 Startups Include:

# 1CareemMudassir Sheikha, Magnus Olsson, Abdullah ElyasOn-demand car service2012
# 2FetchrIdriss Al Rifai, Joy AjlounyGPS-based shipping2012
# 3MumzworldMona AtayaOnline retailer of children's apparel and items2011
# 4The Luxury ClosetKunal KapoorMarketplace for pre-owned designer labels2011
# 5HolidayMeGeet Bhalla, Digvijay PratapCustomized travel services2014
# 6SellAnyCar.comSaygin YalcinOnline used car dealer2013
# 7MyboxBader and Fahad Al KalootiOn demand home services2013
# 8Compareit4meJon Richards, Samer ChehabFinancial products comparison site2011
# 9Souqalmal.comAmbareen MusaFinancial products comparison site2012
# 10ReserveOutKhalil ShadidOnline restaurant guide and booking2012
# 11GlamBoxShant Oknayan, Christos Mastoras, Fares Akkad, Marc GhobrielSubscription-based retailer of beauty products2012
# 12MoveSouq.comBana Shomali, Wim TorfsMoving and home services2013
# 13BayzatTalal Bayaa, Brian HabibiHealth insurance comparison site2012
# 14Growl MediaDinesh LalvaniEdutainment apps2013
# 15NibrasAmmar KhayyatOnline courses for employees2011
# 16RoundMenuZaid Jawad, Ali SinaeiOnline restaurant booking and review2012
# 17YouGotaGift.comHusain Makiya, Abed BibiElectronic greeting and gift cards2013
# 18EnerwhereDaniel Zywietz, David PhilippCommercial-scale solar panels2012
# 19SnappCardAlborz ToofaniManages loyalty points2012
# 20Designer-24Sara Alemzadeh, Ranya KhalilOnline designer dress rental company2014
# 21NabbeshLoulou Khazen BazFreelance work marketplace2012
# 22Pi SliceGenny GhanimehMicro-lending platform2013
# 23insydoTanaz DizadjiOnline guide for the U.A.E.2014
# 24RemitrKanchan Kumar, Sandeep Jhingran, Altaf Ahmed, Sandeep TodiMoney transfer app2016
# 25Mini ExchangeSarah JonesOnline retailer of children merchandise and womenswear2014
# 26LamsaBadr Ward, Anas ShamiArabic digital content for kids2013
# 27SheddTariq Zabian, Alex HutleyFashion reseller app2015
# 28TaskSpottingKarim Aly, Dirk StevensCustomer rewards2014
# 29MENA NetworkSalim Akil, Kamila MavadinB2B marketplace2014
# 30OfficeRock.comChristopher Queitsch, Rami Al SalehOnline retailer for office supplies2012
# 31BitOasisOla Doudin, Daniel RobenekBitcoin wallet2014
# 32WrappupRami Salman, Ayush Chordia, Rishav JalanSmart recorder2015
# 33MelltooMorrad Irsane, Sharene LeeReseller marketplace2014
# 34InstaShopIoannis Tsioris, Ioanna AngelidakiGrocery delivery app2015
# 35UrbanBuzMustafa Sadek, Salam SaadehCustomer loyalty and engagement platform2013
# 36GEEKSMousa Yassin, Fathi Al Sharif, Ala MajajOn demand computer repairs2014
# 37BoxitPremlal Pullisserry, Abraham Thomas, Joby MathewConnects consumers with storage facilities2016
# 38LaimoonIhsan and Zaid Jawad, Abed Bibi, Husain MakiyaJob board2011
# 39CollectionairValerie Konde, Olivier VarenneOnline art gallery2011
# 40PixelbugDany El EidAugmented reality tools2012
# 41WingMuzaffar KarabaevDelivery service2016
# 42ChefXchangeKarl Naim, Marc WashingtonBook private chef2015
# 43THE LISTAndreas SkorskiMarketplace for luxury collectibles2016
# 44ShortPointSami AlSayyed, Anas Nakawa, Serhiy Shekhovtsov, Ala AlbataynehIntranet developer2015
# 45VotekLojain Jibawi, Sawsan SaeedArabic voice recognition2014
# 46SocialDiceSaed Shela, Nael RamadanRecruitment site2014
# 47UnnyhogPavel Ignatov, Margarita Belorukova, Andrey ApanasikGame developer2015
# 48LoadMESebastian Stefan, Sebastian Morar, Claudia PacurarOn demand truck transportation2014
# 49MENA CommerceMoustafa Mahmoud, Ahmed HassanData management and analytics for retailers2013
# 50Justmop.comKerem Kuyucu, Ali Cagatay OzcanOn demand home cleaning services2016

The top entrepreneurs who have achieved remarkable success by developing their ideas into successful businesses were awarded in an event that also held a brief discussion on the challenges entrepreneurs face today. The event witnessed TURN8, a venture capital fund with an accelerator program, organizing a panel discussion on ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for Startups’. The discussion revolved around how a business idea can change an industry, what the common failures are and how to overcome them, as well as the most time consuming activities while setting up a business. The discussion concluded by looking how business impacts personal lives.

“The world is changing a fast phase today both individual and corporation have to keep phase with the technological changes and innovative methods of doing business otherwise it will be difficult to catch up and transact in today changing environment, We are blessed to be in a country like UAE where the leaders are focused on bringing in the technological changes and are giving path to innovative initiatives which create a very large space for startup companies to grow, having said this startup companies should not forgot that education from primary level to higher education is growing and demand for innovative technology integration shall grow,” said Nitin Anand, Director & Chair of the Executive Council, Skyline University College.

Companies were ranked on the amount of funding raised, backers, the size of the team and the potential market reach of each business. For the most promising list, startups had to be at most five years old.

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