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HomeTechnologyTech & the Focus on Consumers, Winning Formula for Middle Eastern Startups

Tech & the Focus on Consumers, Winning Formula for Middle Eastern Startups

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Tech-based startups that focus on consumers are gaining momentum in the Middle East. For this region, now is the best time to have a unique tech-related startup idea.

Seek Inspiration in Tech Startups in the Middle East Region Startups

Begin by building a solid base of entrepreneurial knowledge in the Middle East. Look to the local sources on how to start a business in the Middle East on ArabFinancials. The guides and articles featured on sites like this are compiled by industry experts. Local knowledge will always help when looking for funding. It will also help with understanding your market and customers.

Inspiration is also critical when it comes to a good startup. Middle East and North Africa (MENA)has a rich culture of leading startups worth surveying. A good example of an inspiring startup to look to is Swvl.

Swvl, the Unicorn in the MENA Listed on Nasdaq

Today Swvl is an international tech startup. The roots of the company are in Dubai. Swvl is an example of a Middle Eastern startup combining tech with consumer need to drive success. The company’s product is a semi-private public transportation option. The service meets the needs of customers unable to access or pay for private transportation. Swvl was co-founded by Mostafa Kandil at the age of 24, in 2017.

Recognize the Problem and Find Tech-Driven Solutions

Kandil recognized there are problems facing mass transportation systems in big cities. As one with an entrepreneurial spirit, he set out to create a viable solution. His company built a parallel system for mass transit. The service operates in and out of cities. Serving customers at hubs in ten large megacities across the ME region, Africa and Asia. The service is easily accessible and affordable for people from all walks of life. Customers can quickly book a new ride using a simplified app. The service itself ends with a high-quality private van or bus ride. The rides can be paid for with the help of a variety of different payment methods options.

Recognize the problem and find tech-driven solutions tech startups

Listening to People’s Needs

Swvl was created with the goal of empowering anyone to go where they need to. A safe enjoyable ride without restrictions on where or when they need to travel. Up to 80% of women worldwide have reported harassment while using public transportation. Swvl seeks to eliminate as much of this as possible.

Swvl has partnered with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, a female-led investment bank. Their business partnership resulted in Swvl’s $1.5 billion market value. The MENA region’s first tech unicorn. Remember a unicorn is a start-up with private owners evaluated at over $1 billion.

Ongoing Growth

Swvl’s Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) offerings allowed over one hundred worldwide organizations to cut costs. Swvl offers enterprise level solutions in the form of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Fleet optimization, dynamic routing, demand estimation and other transit services are available. These solutions have impressive return on investment with the savings in fuel and wasted manpower.

Without a doubt, Swvl is poised to take its next step and grow even more. Clear strategies, impressive managers, and proven business models put them in a great position. The company is aimed at both existing markets and emerging ones. Its focus on eco-friendly transportation solutions, SaaS, and TaaS options make them flexible. Their plans target a $15b billion valuation by the year 2022.

Abu Dhabi Startup Hub Accepts 100 Technology Startups

Hub71 is an important technology-focused hub in Abu Dhabi. There has been an incredible recent spike in interest since it was created in 2019. This interest is in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. The hub has received funding from Microsoft, SoftBank Vision, and Mubadala Investment Co. 100 start-up companies were chosen from 3,600 applications.

The interest in start-ups headquartering in the UAE is the result of investments made in local tech firms. Many have the potential of turning into tech unicorns. For example, ride-hailing app Careem based in the ME and Asia was purchased by Uber for $3.1 billion in 2020. Careem’s exit made history, as the largest exit of a startup in the area. Amazon’s purchase of e-commerce platform Souq for $580 in 2017, was the previous record.

Anghami is another MENA company with a service similar to Spotify for their region. They too have turned into a target for investment banks earlier in 2021 while waiting to be listed on the Nasdaq.


The Dubai Expo 2020 runs throughout 2021 at the Dubai Exhibition Center. That means you are only a flight away from experiencing true inspiration. There will be amazing collaboration opportunities of all types. The exhibition is an unparalleled display of human brilliance and gives plenty of inspiration for your own business. GITEX Global is another in-person event worth attending. If you are a young entrepreneur looking for a successful startup ecosystem GITEX is a good place to start. Show off your innovations, meet with tech industry experts, and investors.

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