UAEpreneurs – the initiative designed to support young entrepreneurs from the Middle East – selected 13 startups from more than 100 applicants to present to potential angel investors at an Investor Day in Dubai.
UAEpreneurs is an initiative to support young Middle East entrepreneurs and startups, launched by Dubai-based Innovest and supported by The University of Manchester Middle East Centre in Dubai, which helped screen and select the applications and will provide access to professional development opportunities for the startups.
At the Investor Day, each startup made a five-minute pitch concluding with the ‘ask’ – the investment required to take their business to the next level. The 13 startups asked for a combined total of USD4.75m, with individual pitches ranging from USD100,000 to USD1million. Some of the startups are already in discussion with potential investors in the UAE.
UAEpreneur attracted interest and applications from startups in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and the UAE. Most of the startups are digital businesses targeting the B2B and B2C sectors. The prospective investors were both individuals and entities willing to invest seed funding of USD50,000-250,000 to help start up or scale the businesses.
One of the participating startups was Cairo-based Foorera, a mobile application that connects riders with car owners to create carpool to work or university or even travel between cities. Speaking at the Investor Day, Mohamed Shehata, CEO & Co-founder of Foorera, said: “It was a good opportunity for us to be accepted and invited by UAEpreneurs to Dubai to pitch our business. We have been contacted after the event by VCs and investors who see a big market and good potential in what we provide. The event gave us a chance to meet with a high profile investors and get exposure to a big market like the UAE, where we see good potential for our startup.”
Moatassem Moatez, partner at Innovest Middle East and a UOM alumnus, commented: “Entrepreneurs and startups represent the future of every economy, creating jobs and driving innovation. UAEpreneurs attracted some outstanding digital business ideas from among the 100 applications. Our original plan was to select 10 startups but in the end we invited 13 to the Investor Day, reflecting the quality of the business ideas. The investors attending have already showed interest and we are now helping the startups get the practical support, finance and skills they need to succeed.”
Randa Bessiso, Middle East Director at The University of Manchester, added: “Our team was impressed by the quality of the entrepreneurs, who all presented their ideas with passion. They had found market opportunities, developed workable solutions to real-world issues, and built business models that they now want to scale through additional investment. They certainly demonstrated the quality of young entrepreneurs across the Arab world and the business creativity found in even the most challenging regions.”
UAEpreneurs is also supported by Johnson & Johnson Middle East, Startupgrind, and MENACatalyst.
Summary of Top Startups for Investor Day 2019
- Localyser - is a review management Web application that helps multi- location restaurant groups to easily monitor, respond and analyze their online reviews from across the Web (Google, Zomato, TripAdvisor, etc.) all from one place. With over 200 restaurant clients across the region such as Meraas, Shakespeare, Gourmet Gulf and Jananah, we bring all of the outlets' reviews to clients. From there, marketers can respond directly from the platform, generate reports and launch review request campaign through email and sms. We are a team of two at the moment and growing since we officially launched in early 2018. Our plans for 2019 is to build a more robust platform, launch an app and hire a sales team across the GCC.
- CharterClick - is a real-time online yacht charter booking platform based on a 2-sided marketplace concept, with an attached CRM solution. On the client side, we provide a real time service to our customers, that significantly speeds up the booking process, and greatly enhances the overall experience, by eliminating the unnecessary communication and improving the customer service level. On the other side, we provide a fully customizable CRM solution for every service provider who comes on board, so they can efficiently manage their fleet, no matter whether it is already being present on our platform or not. Please visit us at charterclick.com
- Fittpass - is an online fitness marketplace that allows consumers to buy 1 day passes and memberships online to any fitness facility of their choice within our network, all at negotiated rates. Making working out extremely easy, flexible and cost effective.
- Teacher’s Hub - is an educational recruitment platform connecting schools and teachers. Unlike other job boards, Teacher's Hub has a filtration system for applications to ensure that all candidates’ profiles - educators or administrators - are relevant to the education field
- Dakakenna - is an e-commerce platform that helps consumers in Iraq to buy products available in their city.
- AlSaree3 - is an online application operating in Baghdad and Dubai. Alsaree3’s mission is to facilitate the process of ordering and delivering food for the customers.
- Tripdizer - is a travel tech startup based in Egypt. Tripdizer offers complete personalized itineraries to travelers that resonate with their budget and interests, using a homegrown algorithm integrated with AI, to ensure an optimized travel experience based on the inputs of thousands of other travelers. Since our inception, September 2017, We have generated more than $300,000 in revenues from almost 10,000 signups. We have achieved a growth rate of 55% Quarter over Quarter. All of that was done with a very limited team of 8 employees and limited initial funding of $60 K.
- Xpence - is the Gulf regions first neobank designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Xpence is addressing the number one challenge faced by entrepreneurs in the UAE; opening a bank account. Xpence is a digital only neobank for freelancers, solo entrepreneurs and startups. Xpence combines intelligent bookkeeping and banking in one beautiful app. Xpence makes opening a business current account and managing finances much simpler; it’s not your average business current account! Xpence takes the pain out of business management by providing time-saving tools such as automated expensing, bookkeeping, invoicing on the go, and VAT calculations. At Xpence, we allow users to monitor their cash flow in real time by letting users know when invoices have been paid, when their expense cards have been used and how much they owe to vendors. Xpence also removes the headache of petty cash from the office, which reduces the chances of fraud, eliminates stacks of receipts from the office and the need for completing time-consuming expense reports. We take the headache out of managing finances by automating bookkeeping, and it let entrepreneurs concentrate on building their businesses. Xpence is licenced by the FRSA at ADGM and is a member of the ADGM FinTech RegLab.
- Foorera - is an innovative cloud-based platform and a mobile application that helps co-riders connect to create carpools anywhere in the city to work, university, special events or even travel between cities. We provide quick, responsive, and safe services in the transportation field.
- Trift - is a marketplace of trips designed by travelers curated with inspirational content. Based on an affiliate model of marketing, a huge part of the commission goes to the trip designers.
- WeDeliver - is the first crowdsourced “on-the-way” technology-driven delivery service for businesses in the MENA region. We build innovative technology to utilize the extra space in couriers’ vehicles by connecting businesses with items to send with drivers heading in the right direction. Anyone can be a courier, to deliver anything, any time!
- Mix&Muesli - tailored made muesli mix, we firmly believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and a healthy breakfast should be accessible to all. However, when people try and make healthy choices, they are unaware that most foods, including kids cereals, contain processed sugar and preservatives. We wanted to create a way for consumers to choose 100% natural ingredients, with no chemicals, for a healthier muesli.
- Yanzo - leading the introduction of Conversational Commerce in the Middle East. We have a unique mix of automation and human interfaces, that allow us to handle customers’ requests from communication till execution, only through texting! We generally do requests in the verticals of retail, services, bookings, and food. We are integrated with the most used chat and social media applications WhatsApp/Facebook messenger/SMS/Twitter.