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In ev­ery is­sue, we bring you a list of star­tups from the MENA re­gion that you should keep an eye on. This win­ter, our se­lec­tion of star­tups cov­ers ev­ery­thing from hy­dro­pon­ics to me­dia en­hance­ment plat­forms. An ad­dress sys­tem for the dig­i­tal age, Ed­dress was thought up by Le­banese com­puter en­gi­neer Ronny She­bly while he was try­ing to or­der food on­line. She­bly grew in­creas­ingly frus­trated as he had to re­peat­edly en­ter his ad­dress to get his or­der through. She­bly hap­pened to work at In­ter­act, a de­vel­op­ment com­pany run by se­rial en­tre­pre­neur Karim Khoury, known best for his work on Symba, an elec­tronic bill pre­sent­ment plat­form. To­gether, the two men con­cocted Ed­dress, an on­line ser­vice that sim­pli­fies ad­dresses by turn­ing them into six char­ac­ter codes, which can then be shared with friends and de­liv­ery ser­vices or can be in­te­grated with ship­pers, billers, e-com­merce plat­forms, and ser­vices like Uber. The com­pany, which se­cured $215,000 on May 1st, 2015, also sees huge po­ten­tial in scal­ing glob­ally with about 150 coun­tries lack­ing proper postal codes. And with a num­ber of global and lo­cal com­peti­tors al­ready avail­able - think Loc­name and En­wani - scal­ing fast is paramount for its suc­cess and sur­vival. Ed­dress was also se­lected by the Web­sum­mit in Dublin, one of the largest web con­fer­ences in the world, to par­tic­i­pate in the AL­PHA pro­gram of 2015. Coun­try of ori­gin: Le­banon Date of launch: late 2015 Cat­e­gory: Elec­tronic ad­dress sys­tem Es­ta­teup is a Uae-based crowd­in­vest­ing plat­form con­nect­ing real es­tate de­vel­op­ers to in­vestors by of­fer­ing them equity in­vest­ments into up­com­ing projects. As such, the ser­vice opens the door for smaller in­vestors to en­ter into the real es­tate de­vel­op­ment game. Ev­ery pro­ject is open for 90 days. If the tar­get is reached within that pe­riod, the pro­ject goes to ex­e­cu­tion. Once the tar­get is reached, in­vestors have the abil­ity to track the sta­tus of the pro­ject while an in­de­pen­dent fidu­ciary, along with the pro­ject man­ager, will over­look the com­ple­tion of the pro­ject and the sales of the in­ven­tory. Once the sale is com­plete, the in­vestors re­ceive their re­turns. What’s more, users can fol­low ex­pe­ri­enced in­vestors on the plat­form to learn about the real es­tate sec­tor, min­i­mize their risk, and col­lec­tively in­vest in the most fi­nan­cially fea­si­ble projects. Prior to Es­ta­teup, the founders, Aakar­shan Kathuria and Nilesh Jad­hav, had closed 35 deals in 5 years, rais­ing funds for de­vel­op­ment projects and po ol­ing in a group of in­vestors for prop­erty pur­chase in the UAE, Mum­bai, and Lon­don. In or­der to di­ver­sify fur­ther and tar­get a larger pool of in­vestors, Es­ta­teup was brought to life in 2015. The con­cept might be new to the re­gion, but there are ex­tremely suc­cess­ful crowd in­vest­ing real es­tate plat­forms world­wide, in­clud­ing Fun­drise, Real­ty­mogul, and Crowd­street. With over 180 projects in the pipe­line for Expo 2020 Dubai, the op­por­tu­nity for growth is huge. Ac­cord­ing to Kathuria, Es­ta­teup might be more at­trac­tive to de­vel­op­ers than banks, who are more selec­tive when it comes to pro­vid­ing fi­nanc­ing for de­vel­op­ment. “In terms of in­vestors in the UAE alone, our tar­get mar­ket is the B&C sec­tor (21.5%) and the high net worth in­di­vid­u­als (4.7%). In to­tal, that puts the mar­ket size at 2.17 mil­lion in­vestors. It would also be eas­ier to track the progress of dif­fer­ent projects if we fo­cus on Dubai first. We first want to cap­ture this mar­ket and ob­tain a strong foothold, and then we will take this model to other Gulf coun­tries,” says Kathuria. Coun­try of ori­gin: UAE Date of launch: 2015 Cat­e­gory: Real es­tate / crowd in­vest­ment From Pales­tine comes Grav­ilog, a free Ara­bic health­care app fo­cused on preg­nant women. It is the most re­cent app de­vel­oped by Mo­bis­tine, a com­pany that de­vel­ops Ara­bic med­i­cal and health ap­pli­ca­tions. Mo­bis­tine is the only Arab com­pany to date to make it to the fi­nals of Masschal­lenge 2013 in Bos­ton. Mo­bis­tine is the brain­child of Husni Abu Sam­rah, who al­ready has about 30 apps in his port­fo­lio that have col­lec­tively gen­er­ated 1.5 mil­lion down­loads. So what does Grav­ilog do? Upon in­stal­la­tion, users are asked a few sim­ple ques­tions to cre­ate their Elec­tronic Med­i­cal Record (EMR). Based on their ERM, the app can pro­vide health tips and in­struc­tions that help avoid preg­nancy com­pli­ca­tions. The app also in­cludes track­ers to mon­i­tor the users’ health as well as that of the baby. Ad­di­tion­ally, it in­cludes au­to­mated re­minders for all re­quired preg­nancy tests, rou­tine doc­tor’s vis­its, and med­i­ca­tion sched­ules, among many other things. The app is also avail­able to doc­tors. The sys­tem al­lows them to cre­ate EMRS for their pa­tients to bet­ter keep track of their health sta­tus, med­i­cal test re­sults, and ul­tra­sounds. The sys­tem is fully se­cured us­ing SSL and all trans­ac­tions are en­crypted to en­sure se­cu­rity and user pri­vacy. Grav­ilog was de­signed un­der the full su­per­vi­sion of doc­tors work­ing at Har­vard Univer­sity hospi­tals in the USA; the de­vel­op­ment it­self took place in Pales­tine. Coun­try of ori­gin: Pales­tine Date of launch: 2015 Cat­e­gory: Health­care

Lum­lim is a video en­gage­ment and en­hance­ment plat­form based in Ye­men and founded by Mo­hammed Ab­dul­baqi. The ser­vice uses mo­bile and web so­lu­tions to en­hance the en­gage­ment with video con­tent. It em­pow­ers brands, ad­ver­tis­ers and me­dia con­tent cre­ators with in­no­va­tive on­line ser­vices and tools that they can use to cre­ate a two way en­gage­ment with view­ers in real-time. Its com­pan­ion-screen ap­pli­ca­tion em­pow­ers smart devices with a unique Au­to­matic Con­tent Recog­ni­tion (ACR) tech­nol­ogy that en­ables fans to iden­tify their fa­vorite on­line video con­tent and adds the pos­si­bil­ity to dis­cover re­lated con­tent and tag con­tent for later use. The ACR is based on a sound fin­ger­print­ing al­go­rithm that can iden­tify any me­dia con­tent by rec­og­niz­ing a few sec­onds of any au­dio stream. Lum­lim un­leashes the pow­ers of me­dia by turn­ing dig­i­tal con­tent from sim­ply be­ing au­dio-vis­ual to be­ing part of an in­ter­ac­tive medium of en­gage­ment. This, in turn, trans­lates into more monetization streams to brands, me­dia cre­ators, and ag­gre­ga­tors. Coun­try of ori­gin: Ye­men Date of launch: 2015 Cat­e­gory: Me­dia An agri­cul­ture com­pany based in Le­banon, Life­lab is ded­i­cated to de­sign­ing and build­ing in­tel­li­gent self­op­er­at­ing ver­ti­cal hy­dro­ponic farms that mul­ti­ply the yield of any given farm plot by 10 to 15 times. Those are in­door farms, com­pletely au­to­mated and cli­mate con­trolled. Un­af­fected by sea­sonal change, th­ese farms are ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing crops all year long. What’s more in­ter­est­ing is that they are re­sis­tant to pests and dis­ease in­fes­ta­tions, and are highly ef­fi­cient re­gard­ing their en­ergy re­quire­ments us­ing 95% less wa­ter than tra­di­tional farms. The tech­nol­ogy has been com­pletely de­vel­oped lo­cally, and with lo­cal tal­ent, us­ing over 90% lo­callysourced com­po­nents. Life­lab also runs a 6,000 sqm model farm, which serves as a show­case for the tech­nol­ogy and pro­duc­tion tech­niques, and also as a prof­itable rev­enue source for the com­pany. In Novem­ber 2015, the com­pany won first place at the Hyundai Startup Com­pe­ti­tion. Coun­try of ori­gin: Le­banon Date of launch: 2011 Cat­e­gory: Agri­cul­ture and IT From Jed­dah comes Vanoman, an on­line plat­form used to book heavy goods trans­port ser­vices in KSA. There are over half a mil­lion au­tho­rized trans­port ve­hi­cles in Saudi Ara­bia, 30% of which are not uti­lized. And while abun­dant, it is still time con­sum­ing to find one. What›s more, it is im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict the qual­ity of its ser­vice as very lit­tle is usu­ally known about them. Us­ing Vanoman, cus­tomers sim­ply cre­ate an or­der, free of charge, and re­ceive quotes in re­turn from a num­ber of ver­i­fied trans­port ser­vice providers from all over the King­dom. The cus­tomer then gets to check the pro­file of each bid­der and see pre­vi­ous cus­tomer re­views be­fore ac­cept­ing any quotes. Vanoman hopes to save cus­tomers up to 50% in costs as ser­vice providers com­pete against each other to be the win­ning bid­der. This busi­ness model is not new in for­eign mar­kets, think Texas-based Uship which is val­ued at over $20 mil­lion dol­lars. Coun­try of ori­gin: KSA Date of launch: 2015 Cat­e­gory: Trans­porta­tion Noon Edu is a Saudi-based on­line so­cial learn­ing com­pany that com­bines gamification with adap­tive and per­son­al­ized test prepa­ra­tion pro­grams. The com­pany, which was the win­ner of the Arab­net Startup Demo Com­pe­ti­tion in 2015, fo­cuses on stu­dents in Saudi Ara­bia and helps pre­pare them for the Qiyas, the stan­dard­ized ex­ams for high school stu­dents in the king­dom. In 2013, the com­pany won the Arab­net Ideathon com­pe­ti­tion, and has so far over 330,000 peo­ple us­ing its plat­form. The rea­son it made it to our list is be­cause in 2015, the com­pany launched Non Game, an on­line mul­ti­player test prep game that of­fers in­ter­ac­tive play for peo­ple study­ing for the same test. The game in­te­grates el­e­ments of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to adapt to stu­dents’ unique needs. Through the plat­form, stu­dents can rate ques­tions and an­swers and share them on Face­book or Twit­ter to en­gage their own so­cial net­works. Once a ques­tion gets highly ranked, a pro­fes­sional in­struc­tor will jump in to solve it. Coun­try of ori­gin: Saudi Ara­bia Date of launch: 2013 Cat­e­gory: Edu­tain­ment

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