Every year, Fast Company releases a list of 50 startups, SMEs, and firms that have proven to be the most creative change-makers finding ways improve efficiency, reduce friction, or enhance operations. The New York-based magazine couples it with 44 more specific lists of top 10 most innovative firms, categorized by sector and region.
While the Middle East’s list includes four Israeli startups (one of which made it to the primary top 50 list), it also spotlights tech startups from Palestine, Dubai, Egypt, and Lebanon.
1. The Modist
This Dubai-based luxury e-commerce startup got selected for expanding its own collection of modest fashion and partnering with global boutique Farfetch to grow its reach. The Modist boasts a customer base hailing from 65 countries to shop for modest clothes such as floral silk dresses and fitted sequin jumpsuits.
Founded in 2017 by Ghizlan Guenez.
Total funding: $15 million.
This Cairo-based startup got selected for recycling e-waste and safely destroying data in the Arab world. RecycloBekia is the first company in the Arab world to offer green recycling of electronic waste. Under its belt, it has tech giants General Electric, Orange, Intel, and ExxonMobil. They sell their electronic waste to RecycloBekia and whatever can be refurbished is supplied in the local market and whatever cannot is sold to a separate recycling plant.
Founded in 2011 by Mostafa Hemdan.
Total funding: undisclosed seed round.
This Beirut-born off-shored startup (now San Fransisco-based) got selected for launching its wearable technology on swimming goggles. Priced at $249, Instabeat’s smart device gets attached to a swimmer’s goggles to provide real-time heart rate feedback, track strokes and laps, and offer detailed analytics to elevate performance and motivation in the water.
Founded in 2011 by Hind Hobeika.
Last round: Series B, $4 million.
This Ramallah-based startup got selected for designing and delivering mobile services to link people with jobs and connect aid agencies with communities that need help. Used across 15 countres in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Souktel is a mobile platform that connects aid agencies such as the Red Cross and Unicef to communities in need.
Founded in 2006 by Jacob Korenblum.
Total funding: undisclosed
This Cairo-born and recently Dubai-based startup got selected for linking patients in the UAE, Saudi, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya with doctors on its medical search platform. Vezeeta helps make booking doctor appointments hassle-free through their mobile app. The health-tech startup offers other digital solutions such as telehealth solutions and online ordering and delivery of medication.
Founded in 2012 by Amir Barsoum.
Total funding: $63.5 million
This Dubai-based marketplace got selected for building the largest heavy equipment rental marketplace in the Middle East. Tenderd is a marketplace that buys heavy construction machinery from contractors with idle equipment. Tenderd found a solution to a pain-point in the market. The construction industry had such a vague pricing system. That’s because the market was monopolized by brokerage. Companies looking to rent or supply heavy construction machinery from contractors had to go through a broker that charged a fee for rentals.
Founded in 2018 by Arjun Mohan.
Total funding: undisclosed.