Top Startups / December 29, 2020
Asaf Fybish

Asaf is an investor and startup growth advisor. He specializes in organic marketing and he's our Chief of Stash

Top UAE Startups To Follow in 2021

The UAE is known for many things: the legendary city of Dubai, the rich and famous, and their glamorous cars, among so much more. In a nation known for its riches and prosperity, it may not be a surprise that they have a thriving and well-developing startup infrastructure.

Tech startups are the country’s bread and butter, with them being responsible for 88% of the deal value for the region. Between 2009 and 2019, the country saw 859 startup launches, with 76% of these being active and 52 of these existing. United Arab Emirates startups are robust and innovative, contributing to the country's thriving and growing startup ecosystem.

We've been creating lists of the top startups worldwide to watch out for in 2021. Several exciting startups have already come out of the country from the MENA region. In this list, we’ve selected the top UAE startups to watch in 2021.

 

1. Bridg

Year Founded: 2012

HQ: LA, California

Size: 11-50

Founder: Amit Jain

Bridg Website

Bridg is a fintech startup making waves in the sector by providing their smartphone payment system. Their system allows people to make payments using a Bluetooth-enabled smart device, even if only one of these devices is connected to the internet. The applications for merchants are also great as they experience smaller fees and an easier payment experience overall.

To date, the company has raised $165,000 from two investors, which are Turn8 and 500 Startups. We’re excited to see what this UAE startup can do in the coming year!

 

 

2. Careem

Year Founded: 2012

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 1001-5000

Founders: Abdulla Elyas, Magnus Olsson, Mudassir Sheikha, Wael Nafee

Careem Website

Careem is a travel startup that operates an online-based vehicle booking platform that helps travelers get into contact with drivers in their local area. Their app also allows users to see the cost of their booking before they make it and then to have the amount charged to their bank card, getting rid of the need to carry cash for travel.

Careem has already taken the automotive industry by storm, with $771.7 Million raised from 22 different investors, and the company has also undergone an acquisition from global giant Uber. Chances are, if you’re in the UAE, you can use Careem.

 

 

3. Quiqup

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 101-250

Founders: Bassel El Koussa, Danny Hawkins, Federico Ferraro, Rami Idriss, Tim Linssen

Quiqup Website

Quiqup is a supply chain management startup that specializes in providing same-day delivery for retailers and restaurants that deal with high levels of demand. This is a fantastic service as it allows businesses to continually work at their best ability, as they will always have the products they need to function. 

Quiqup has seen generous support from investors, highlighting the business model’s strength and the management team. Investments currently total at $47.5 Million from eight investors, with Delivery Hero and JOBI Capital being among them.

 

 

4. The Luxury Closet

Year Founded: 2012

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founder: Kunal Kapoor

The Luxury Closet Website

The Luxury Closet is a UAE startup e-commerce platform that lets its users get designer clothes without designer prices. They achieve this through their marketplace model that allows users to sell their pre-owned designer clothing to other people on the platform, which essentially makes the company the Ebay of luxury items.

As it stands, the Luxury Closet has received $18.1 Million in investment funding from 13 different investors. The company has also been active in the acquisitions market, buying out Guiltless, a Hong-Kong e-commerce startup with a similar business model.

 

 

5. Almentor

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 51-100

Founders: Abdelrahman Fahmy, Hesham Heikal, Husni Khuffash, Ibrahim Kamel, Ihab Fikry

Almentor Website

Alementor is an-learning and education startup that focuses on providing high-quality video training courses offered by leaders in the course’s specific field available to both consumers and businesses alike. You can also get access to books, in addition to paid courses and free tutorials.

Almentor has currently done well with securing startup funding, having secured $8 Million from four investors. Amongst these investors are Sawari Ventures and Endure Capital. With strong backing and growth in the previous years, Almentoris ready to break out in 2021.

 

 

6. Yallacompare

Year Founded: 2011

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 51-100

Founder: Jon Richards

Yallacompare Website

Yallacompare is a Fintech startup that serves as a comparison site for the costs of financial services. The company is far-reaching and has activities in nine countries across the Middle East and has managed to save its customers thousands of dollars every year on their various financial products. Users are even able to compare the pricing of their home insurance.

Currently, Yallacompare has received substantial investments, with a total of $21.7 Million across seven different investors. Among these investors are Gulf Insurance Group and Wamda Capital; with these investors behind them, Yallacompare is going to be a company to continue watching in the UAE.

 

 

7. Reserveout

Year Founded: 2012

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founders: Khalil Shadid

Reserveout Website

Reserveout is a revolutionary restaurant startup that will help both restaurants and consumers by allowing them to search for restaurants within their network and quickly make a reservation for that establishment in real-time. Even better, use of the Reserveout service is entirely free, which will entice even more people to use it. No longer would you have to have that awkward call about anniversary reservations.

Currently, Reserveout has received $5.4 Million in outside investment from four investors. Among these investors are Savour Ventures and iMENA Group. With time we will likely book many more restaurant reservations with their service.

 

 

8. GitHelp

Year Founded: 2015

HQ: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Size: 1-10

Founders: Ahmed Refaat, Karim El Husseiny

GitHelp Website

GitHelp, similarly named to the well-known software community, GitHub, provides a platform that can help software authors find software developers with the necessary skills that they’re looking for by using their matching engine. There are multiple avenues of communication available on their platform to promote effective reporting, and they also have pre-established frameworks for both small and large businesses.

As it stands, GitHelp has received $15,000 in investment funding from a single round of investment. Flat6Labs provided this investment. With the demand for software developers increasing, this UAE startup has a model for future success.

 

 

9. Plantshop.ae

Year Founded: 2015

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founders: Jimmy James

Plantshop Website

Plantshop is a unique e-commerce startup based around the sale of various indoor and outdoor plants. Also, customers would be able to purchase essential gardening tools, seeds to grow plants from scratch, and fertilizers to promote healthy growth. You can also get a range of tips on how to grow and care for your plants on their website.

Plantshop has achieved success in terms of investment with $250,000 raised between two investors. The investment comes specifically from Jazeer Jamal and 500 Startups.

 

 

10. Okadoc

Year Founded: 2018

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founder: Fodhil Benturquia

Okadoc Website

Okadoc is a health UAE startup that allows users to book appointments with medical professionals and get into contact with health providers faster and more efficiently. Patients can contact professionals from over 100 different disciplines, and healthcare providers gain access to a system that can seamlessly link with their existing systems. It is also free for patients, meaning those in need of medical care benefit the most.

Okadoc has currently attracted a healthy investment level, with $12.3 Million being raised from two different investors. These investors are the Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Ithmar Capital.

 

 

11. Book Any Act

Year Founded: 2020

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 1-10

Founders: Ahmed AL-Hassoni

Book Any Act Website

Book Any Act is a freelance professional services platform that allows people to match with freelancers, locations, or necessary equipment. This can range from finding a painter for your home, a photographer for your wedding, and many more. You can also book through their platform, which adds to the ease of use in their service.

Even though Book Any Act was only founded in October 2020, the company has already received $20,000 in startup funding from their pre-seed round. It looks like they will be blazing into 2021 with this hot start.

 

 

12. Babystore

Year Founded: 2018

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founder: Shibi Kabeer

Babystore Website

Babystore is an e-commerce platform centered around selling products that are essential to parents for their children, such as maternity products, cups for drinking, clothing, and even toys. This means that whether you have a newborn baby or a toddler, you’ll be able to find something suitable from Babystore.

Babystore has risen quickly since being founded in 2018 and has since gone on to raise $350,000 in startup funding from a seed-funding round. This United Arab Emirates startup is definitely going to be making waves in 2021.

 

 

13. Enerwhere

Year Founded: 2012

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 51-100

Founders: Daniel Zywietz

Enerwhere Website

Enerwhere is a sustainable energy startup that seeks to innovate in the sector by leveraging a hybrid power solution of solar-power combined with diesel. This allows Enerwhere to generate electricity at a much cheaper rate than regular diesel-powered generators, and their solutions can be taken anywhere. The company will enable customers to get their products on a short-rental, long-lease, or a purchase agreement.

Enerwhere has managed to achieve investment funding totaling $2.5 Million. With the cost-efficiency of their power generation, they can provide an excellent service to businesses that would typically pay a lot for their energy consumption. 

 

 

14. Drawdeck

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founders: Alex Dunn, David Hammond

Drawdeck Website

Drawdeck is an art and e-commerce startup that seeks to make the world of wall art affordable for people living in the Middle East. This works by providing a platform that allows artists to sell and display their works to potential buyers, who can scroll the platform in search of something they like. Better yet, each sale supports the artists that are producing the work, which allows them to continue their careers.

Drawdeck has received $100,000 of funding from a pre-seed round in 2015 and has not sought additional investment since. With beautiful designs and a great purpose, Drawdeck is a must-support UAE startup for anyone in the Middle East who loves art.

 

 

15. Keepface

Year Founded: 2017

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founders: Elsad Yusifli, Emin Vali, Vagif Abbasov

Keepface Website

Keepface provides an easy to use and unique solution, which lets brands run influencer marketing and other types of advocacy marketing campaigns by running all of these things through their platform, which helps increase the ROI gained by their clients. They also have features such as fake follower detection and deep analytics to vet the influencers for your campaigns.

Currently, Keepface has received one round of investment from a single source, totaling $450,000 from 500 startups. With advanced tools, coupled with the increase of influencer marketing in the last few years, Keepface may well be a brand to watch in the Middle East.

 

 

16. Pi Slice

Year Founded: 2012

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 1-10

Founder: Genny Ghanimeh

Pi Slice Website

Pi Slice is a Fintech startup provided by MicroWorld.org that seeks to provide a new funding avenue for “Micro Finance Institutions” (MFIs). This unique system works by matching companies and people that want to invest in MFIs in the Middle East and North Africa that can then provide micro-credit to people who need it. Pi Slice is a UAE startup that makes a real difference to people in need of a small amount of money.

Currently, Pi Slice has not received any outside investment. Still, with the micro-finance market looking like a grim necessity, it won’t be surprising to see Pi Slice continuing their excellent work in 2021.

 

 

17. Yallaparking

Year Founded: 2016

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 1-10

Founders: Craig McDonald

YallaParking Website

YallaParking is a Dubai-based startup that allows its users to search from over 700 parking spaces across their city and rent one based on your needs. You can pay and book your rented parking spot on their app, and then your access card will arrive within 24-hours, meaning you’ll be able to beat parking stress in Dubai.

Currently, YallaParking has received investment funding of $152,000 from 500 Falcons, and with parking being a consistent issue in the city, it is a must-have app if you live there.

 

 

18. Junkbot

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 1-10

Founders: Abdus Samad, Rajeev Mylapalli, Arun Kumar, Mohammed Sinan, Ehteshamuddin Puthur

Junkbot Website

Junkbot is bringing the sometimes painful but always satisfying world of DIY to children interested in robotics. Their service provides tutorials and specifically made kits for children to create robots out of discarded rubbish. This can include plastic water bottles, pieces of cardboard, and discarded coffee cups. These kits have different levels of difficulty to cater to different ability levels.

Currently, Junkbot has received a total of $30,000 in investment from two different investors, these being Hardware.co and TURN8. Junkbot is a startup that can promote sustainability, self-sufficiency, and other powerful ideas in children. Because of its unique service, it is definitely a UAE startup to watch in 2021.

 

 

19. Taka Solutions

Year Founded: 2012

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founders: Charles Blaschke IV

Taka Solutions Website

Taka Solutions is an energy and utility startup that aims to help customers by reducing their energy and utility bills without charging up-front. They offer financing on their services or a shared saving model where it still technically costs the customer nothing. There is also the option for the customer to pay for any engineering and equipment. No matter your situation, you can benefit from their solutions.

Taka Solutions have not received any outside investment at this time; however, with a business model specifically tailored to ensure that as many businesses can benefit from their services as possible, it may not be long before the company seeks to scale up.

 

 

20. Nabbesh

Year Founded: 2012

HQ: Dubai, UAE

Size: 11-50

Founders: Loulou Khazen, Rima El Sheikh

Nabbesh Website

Nabbesh is an employment UAE startup that operates an online marketplace for skilled individuals looking to find work in the MENA region. Their platform covers a wide range of industry sectors, including education, tech, finance, and many more, allowing talented individuals to highlight their skills and experiences to help them find work. There’s also a range of project-based opportunities available.

Nabbesh has received a respectable sum of outside investment with $1.5 Million being raised from Dtec Ventures, and with employment being highly sought after in the COVID-19 economy, job boards and ways to find jobs are going to be in increasing demand.

Top UAE Startups To Follow...
Asaf Fybish

Asaf is an investor and startup growth advisor. He specializes in organic marketing and he's our Chief of Stash

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