Like never before, the startup scene in the Middle East is flourishing with business-oriented technophiles, entrepreneurs, and untapped potential.
As technology continues to progress and advance globally, entrepreneurs in the Arab world are finding new creative and innovative ways to solve problems.
Last year, businesses in the MENA region received $560 million worth of investments. Since 2016, a notable 65 percent increase in investments was observed, with the UAE, which received the majority of investments, leading the Arab World in terms of startup funding deals.
Here are 10 Arab startups you should keep an eye on in 2018:
1. Alfan Group (UAE)
Alfan Group is a next-generation digital media company with over 1 billion monthly views and 350 unique channels across its network.
The company has been scouting and developing digital talents for more than 5 years with a vision of raising the level of content creation locally and connecting creators, brands, and viewers together. Alfan continues to expand and now runs operations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Toronto.
2. Artistia (Saudi Arabia)
Artistia.com is an online social marketplace that allows its users to buy directly from Saudi and regional producers, designers, and artists (local brands).
With a modern platform that fosters the new generation of creatives in the region, the company started with a vision to create a centralized hub for artists and designers to encourage local production.
3. SwitchDXB (UAE)
SwitchDXB is a health, fitness, and wellness mobile app that will inspire you to try fun, new, exciting things, ultimately helping you to live better and healthier.
From soothing rooftop yoga at sunset to energetic HIIT sessions in the water, there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. The SwitchDXB app allows it's users to book and pay for the sessions on demand.
4. ReportCard (UAE)
ReportCard's mission is to bring innovation to every educator. The company helps educational institutes leverage technology and data analytics economically to streamline the day to day operations and overall management.
In addition, through closer monitoring of progress, the platform adds an intelligence layer that identifies and highlights strengths and improvement areas of students.
5. Amal Glasses (UAE)
Amal Glasses, which combines the technology of 25 assistive devices for blind people into one single device, is a smart equipment based on artificial intelligence.
The smart glasses contain the world's first app store for blind people that allows its owners to download the latest applications.
6. Flochat (UAE)
Launched in October 2017, Flochat is a hybrid messenger platform that allows its users to chat, book, buy, browse, and share content within the messenger.
Flochat has integrated services with popular apps such as Groupon, Zomato, Uber, and Youtube.
7. Genr8 (UAE)
Applied to the current structure and operation of the power industry, Genr8 is a startup with a mission to promote clean energy neutrality through the means of a distributed exchange system based on the Blockchain technology.
8. Tap Payments (Kuwait)
Founded by a team of entrepreneurs with over 20 years of collective banking and payment services experience, Tap quickly evolved into the leading online payment service provider in Kuwait.
The company was established with the aim to revolutionize the way businesses manage their finances, providing easy, fast, and smooth online solutions with an innovative approach and user experience in electronic payments.
9. BonApp (UAE)
BonApp offers a simple and innovative solution to one of the world’s largest environmental issues, food waste in the F&B industry. The company's goal is clear: to place the lost value back onto food as something that should be eaten and not thrown away.
With the app, the team helps restaurants reduce their food waste by selling their surplus to consumers at discounted prices.
10. Yo Neighbor (UAE)
Launched in March 2017, Yo Neighbor is a UAE-based "sharing" app that enables its users to borrow items they infrequently use from each other.
Communication takes place on the in-app messaging platform but payments are made in cash, rather than on the app itself.
STEP Conference 2018
Between March 28-29, more than 6000 techies will gather in Dubai for the latest in entrepreneurship, digital, fintech, and future tech.
STEP Start will be the home-base for founders, startups, and entrepreneurs. It will feature startup mentorship sessions, a flagship pitch competition, and partner activations.
Speakers such as Womena's Elissa Freiha, Mumzworld's Leena Khalil, Omar Chihane from sellanyhome.com, and many others will take the stage at the conference.