While many investors are focused on more developed markets and startup ecosystems, the Middle Eastern entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to grow. Numerous high-profile acquisitions have been announced this year. In addition, big corporations and major private enterprises are taking chances and engaging in startups as the region’s investors mature. Recently, a unique business aspect has garnered much interest: the B2B industry. This would be challenging to achieve a sophisticated and ever-evolving industry without cooperation.
It’s been fascinating to watch the MENAP nations build trust and expand around the region throughout that period. So, we have listed the top 10 Middle East startups to watch in 2022 to understand the above statements.
How The Middle East Became The Utopia of Investors?
The apparently unending bad news about the Arab world is sufficient for the ordinary observer to reconsider engaging in the territory. However, a savvy investor understands that now may be the perfect moment to invest.
The demand for emerging facilities across healthcare, education, and technology necessitates major investment, and exposure to a growing young generation with disposable wealth presents prospects.
Education and health care remain attractive investment prospects, with programs like the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda prioritizing the development of a world-class schooling system to diversify the economy.
Technology is indeed quickly gaining traction as a crucial investment sector in the area. This initiative has received support from the authorities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Both have established Fintech startup accelerator programs, and Dubai’s government has said publicly that all official transactions would be blockchain-powered by 2020.
The Top 5 Middle East Startups in 2022
Abwaab is an Educational Tech organization for the secondary school level in the MENA region. Abwaab was formed just before the epidemic and has grown tremendously in the last 18 months.
The corporation says that its number of active users has increased by ten times in the 2020/21 academic year alone, albeit we don’t know how low the baseline was the year before. The company positions itself as a supplement to publicly funded education, providing “bite-sized” micro-lessons corresponding to the national curriculum.
The value pitch is also compelling: Abwaab offers exams for test prep, chat and video coaching, and these bite-sized courses for $15 (the cost of an hour of tutoring in the nations they cover).
Their strategy has undoubtedly worked thus far, with the firm receiving a $5 million seed round in March 2021 and a $20 million Series A investment in November 2021. Their entire budget is $27.5 million till 2022.
Hyperspace is an immersive attraction company, headquartered in Dubai, that produces, builds, runs, and finances permanent ticketed attractions. In addition, they’re creating the world’s first native Extended Reality (XR) and Blockchain-enabled physical attractions.
HyperSpace is creating a tangible interface towards the metaverse, with purpose-built abstract surroundings that connect to virtual surroundings and lifestyles in real-time. In the second half of 2022, they expect to establish two amusement centers in Dubai. The created technologies will be brought to life in these ticketed centers, which will fuse the virtual and real worlds to develop a tangible social media environment that is interactive, adventurous, and immersive.
In November 2021, HyperSpace secured $11 million in equity and development seed investment to produce immersive entertainment attractions for the social media and metaverse generation.
The money will go toward developing unique technologies that will allow for transparent blockchain integration, real-time asset generation, and a live augmented reality (AR) overlay over actual space in an amusement park.
Despite boasting a large young population, two out of every three Egyptians are now unbanked, and just 40% of the population in MENA has bank access. Telda will arrive in April 2021 to address the issue.
Telda said that it is the first company to get a license from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to digitally issue cards and onboard clients under the CBE’s new regulations. And as a result, the firm has achieved significant success in a relatively short period of time.
Acquiring a partner institution to supply these services was a distinct difficulty the firm had to deal with. Telda had to persuade the bank that their services were complementary and wouldn’t completely overlap in order to do so.
Telda has won a $5 million pre-seed round to help Egyptians automate how they save, send, and spend money. Furthermore, Sequoia Capital, a top-tier VC with huge means, provided their seed capital. The VC led the early investment in Latin American digital bank Nubank eight years ago before it expanded substantially (currently valued north of $25 billion!)
Getbee is a shopping service established by CEO Thea Myhrvold that delivers a human sales associate to the shopper’s computer or mobile device.
Getbee enables sales reps to interact with customers online, in the same manner they would in a shop, offering product suggestions and completing purchases through video. In terms of sales exchange rate, average order size, and retention of customers, this innovative online shopping approach produces unparalleled results.
Technology partners like Shopify and BigCommerce are also incorporated into the platform. Dolce & Gabbana, Lancôme, and Dermalogica are among Getbee’s clientele.
Getbee, located in the United Arab Emirates, has secured $1.8 million in a pre-Series A round led by B & Y Venture Partners, Altitude Capital, and +VC, as well as strategic angels such as Careem co-founder Magnus Olsson. Getbee plans to use this money round to speed up its market acceptance with major retailers.
99starz, a Dubai-based startup, has developed a unique business strategy based on the notion of an open economy, which provides financial benefits to all players who contribute to the game environment.
Millions of players will benefit from 99Starz’s play and earn gaming paradigm. The key to increasing player rewards through collaboration is to create the broadest NFT yield ecology via guild combinations and NFT rentals.
This STZ coin is an ERC-20 utility coin that lets members of that 99Starz group collaborate and trade value. 99Starz intends to issue the STZ token as an Initial DEX Offering (IDO) on numerous launchpad platforms in early December.
This STZ token private sale garnered a total of $3 million for 99Starz, according to the company. 100% of the allotted STZ coins were traded throughout the private auction, receiving $3 million through investors. Due to the restricted supply of the STZ token, over 230 more investors attempted to join in the private sale, providing an extra US$12 million.
In the last several years, the volume of startups financed in the Middle East has gradually increased. In 2019, 564 companies in the area received funding. Moreover, new levels of investment, digital use, and B2B business shaping will continue to improve the company and customer experience in MENAP in 2022. As a result, these companies want to stay in business for the remainder of the year and beyond.