9 Startups Shine at the MITEF Arab Startup Competition
The ninth Arab Startup Competition, organized by MIT Economic Forum (MITEF) Pan Arab, was the biggest edition of the event to date. The competition was supported by Community Jameel and Zain, and received around 6,000 applications from 21 Arab countries (up from 4,275 in 2015). 30 finalists were divided in to 3 categories before pitching their ideas to a panel of investors and industry leaders at the King Abdullah Economic City on April 14, 2016. The winning teams hailed from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia, and were rewarded with cash prizes worth a total of $150,000. The winner of the Startups Track ($50,000) was the Kuwaiti startup Ghinwa which developed an app that directly enables karaoke performances with licensed songs. Second and third place went to Egypt’s Zamen newsfeed filtering app and Saudi Arabia’s B8ak marketplace for home maintenance services, respectively. The winner of the Social Entrepreneurship Track was a Tunisian startup that invented a hydropneumatic flushing system ($15,000). Lebanon’s Pathfinder, an app and tech-fitted belt that enables visually challenged people to navigate indoors and outdoors, earned second place, while the Jordanian inventors of an affordable prosthetic leg that offers great mobility came in third place . In the third and last category, the Idea Track, first place went to Egypt’s Tutorama platform for private tutoring services ($15,000). Second and third place went to 2 Moroccan startups: Deep OR, a data analytics and operations research software, and Ostor Lab, the developers of a mobile application vulnerability scanner. MIT Technology Review Arab Edition also announced this year’s Top 5 Entrepreneurs under 35: Ahmad Alfadel and Osman Baker from the King Abdullah University for Science & Technology (Saudi Arabia); Eve Tamraz from white Lab and Jean Nehme from touch Surgery (Lebanon); and Yaman Abou Jeib from Glean (Syria).