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:
|# 1||Careem||Mudassir Sheikha, Magnus Olsson, Abdullah Elyas||On-demand car service||2012|
|# 2||Fetchr||Idriss Al Rifai, Joy Ajlouny||GPS-based shipping||2012|
|# 3||Mumzworld||Mona Ataya||Online retailer of children's apparel and items||2011|
|# 4||The Luxury Closet||Kunal Kapoor||Marketplace for pre-owned designer labels||2011|
|# 5||HolidayMe||Geet Bhalla, Digvijay Pratap||Customized travel services||2014|
|# 6||SellAnyCar.com||Saygin Yalcin||Online used car dealer||2013|
|# 7||Mybox||Bader and Fahad Al Kalooti||On demand home services||2013|
|# 8||Compareit4me||Jon Richards, Samer Chehab||Financial products comparison site||2011|
|# 9||Souqalmal.com||Ambareen Musa||Financial products comparison site||2012|
|# 10||ReserveOut||Khalil Shadid||Online restaurant guide and booking||2012|
|# 11||GlamBox||Shant Oknayan, Christos Mastoras, Fares Akkad, Marc Ghobriel||Subscription-based retailer of beauty products||2012|
|# 12||MoveSouq.com||Bana Shomali, Wim Torfs||Moving and home services||2013|
|# 13||Bayzat||Talal Bayaa, Brian Habibi||Health insurance comparison site||2012|
|# 14||Growl Media||Dinesh Lalvani||Edutainment apps||2013|
|# 15||Nibras||Ammar Khayyat||Online courses for employees||2011|
|# 16||RoundMenu||Zaid Jawad, Ali Sinaei||Online restaurant booking and review||2012|
|# 17||YouGotaGift.com||Husain Makiya, Abed Bibi||Electronic greeting and gift cards||2013|
|# 18||Enerwhere||Daniel Zywietz, David Philipp||Commercial-scale solar panels||2012|
|# 19||SnappCard||Alborz Toofani||Manages loyalty points||2012|
|# 20||Designer-24||Sara Alemzadeh, Ranya Khalil||Online designer dress rental company||2014|
|# 21||Nabbesh||Loulou Khazen Baz||Freelance work marketplace||2012|
|# 22||Pi Slice||Genny Ghanimeh||Micro-lending platform||2013|
|# 23||insydo||Tanaz Dizadji||Online guide for the U.A.E.||2014|
|# 24||Remitr||Kanchan Kumar, Sandeep Jhingran, Altaf Ahmed, Sandeep Todi||Money transfer app||2016|
|# 25||Mini Exchange||Sarah Jones||Online retailer of children merchandise and womenswear||2014|
|# 26||Lamsa||Badr Ward, Anas Shami||Arabic digital content for kids||2013|
|# 27||Shedd||Tariq Zabian, Alex Hutley||Fashion reseller app||2015|
|# 28||TaskSpotting||Karim Aly, Dirk Stevens||Customer rewards||2014|
|# 29||MENA Network||Salim Akil, Kamila Mavadin||B2B marketplace||2014|
|# 30||OfficeRock.com||Christopher Queitsch, Rami Al Saleh||Online retailer for office supplies||2012|
|# 31||BitOasis||Ola Doudin, Daniel Robenek||Bitcoin wallet||2014|
|# 32||Wrappup||Rami Salman, Ayush Chordia, Rishav Jalan||Smart recorder||2015|
|# 33||Melltoo||Morrad Irsane, Sharene Lee||Reseller marketplace||2014|
|# 34||InstaShop||Ioannis Tsioris, Ioanna Angelidaki||Grocery delivery app||2015|
|# 35||UrbanBuz||Mustafa Sadek, Salam Saadeh||Customer loyalty and engagement platform||2013|
|# 36||GEEKS||Mousa Yassin, Fathi Al Sharif, Ala Majaj||On demand computer repairs||2014|
|# 37||Boxit||Premlal Pullisserry, Abraham Thomas, Joby Mathew||Connects consumers with storage facilities||2016|
|# 38||Laimoon||Ihsan and Zaid Jawad, Abed Bibi, Husain Makiya||Job board||2011|
|# 39||Collectionair||Valerie Konde, Olivier Varenne||Online art gallery||2011|
|# 40||Pixelbug||Dany El Eid||Augmented reality tools||2012|
|# 41||Wing||Muzaffar Karabaev||Delivery service||2016|
|# 42||ChefXchange||Karl Naim, Marc Washington||Book private chef||2015|
|# 43||THE LIST||Andreas Skorski||Marketplace for luxury collectibles||2016|
|# 44||ShortPoint||Sami AlSayyed, Anas Nakawa, Serhiy Shekhovtsov, Ala Albatayneh||Intranet developer||2015|
|# 45||Votek||Lojain Jibawi, Sawsan Saeed||Arabic voice recognition||2014|
|# 46||SocialDice||Saed Shela, Nael Ramadan||Recruitment site||2014|
|# 47||Unnyhog||Pavel Ignatov, Margarita Belorukova, Andrey Apanasik||Game developer||2015|
|# 48||LoadME||Sebastian Stefan, Sebastian Morar, Claudia Pacurar||On demand truck transportation||2014|
|# 49||MENA Commerce||Moustafa Mahmoud, Ahmed Hassan||Data management and analytics for retailers||2013|
|# 50||Justmop.com||Kerem Kuyucu, Ali Cagatay Ozcan||On demand home cleaning services||2016|
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.