Egyptian entrepreneurs represent 14 of the 100 most influential tech startups in the MENA region, as chosen by the World Economic Forum. Some of them are names you’ll definitely recognise.
Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum and the International Finance Corporation sought the leading tech-related startups in MENA as part of their Startup4IR initiative; well... the results are in. Out of the newly-selected 100 most influential Arab region startups, 14 come from Egypt. The entrepreneurs chosen will be among the attendees at WEF’s annual regional conference, which will gather over 1,000 leading policymakers from over 50 countries near the Dead Sea in Jordan from May 19th to 21st.
The startup selections were made by some of the MENA’s leading entities in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, including Wamda, Flat6Labs, Kawar Investments and Leap Ventures. The jury chose the winners based on their work in leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), a term that describes the current era of progress in fields of information and communications technology.
Among the 14 innovators from Egypt were stars such as networking platform RiseUp, education tech site Natham, Egypt’s biggest green energy provider KarmSolar, home-cooked meal delivery service Mumm, and Vezeeta which made headlines last January after landing a $5 million investment. Other champions include internet personal shopping app Elves, free online learning platform Nafham, and Simplex, who were part of Cairo Scene's 25 under 25 in 2015. In particular, Egypt dominated the fintech selection, with big names such as banking network Fawry, online money circle Money Fellows - who were just awarded at the MIT Pan-Arab Start-Up competition - and payment portal Paymob, who were also selected amongst 2016's 25 under 25.
Egypt is one of the most represented countries on the top 100; however, the United Arab Emirates overwhelmingly tops the list, with 28 startups, including Bitcoin platform BitOasis and the ride-sharing service Careem. Twenty of Jordan’s top companies were selected as well, including Arabia Weather and OpenSooq.com.
Lebanon had nine winners; among them are Scriptr.io, an Internet of Things (IoT) application platform; and ArabNet, the digital business conference. Some other famous names from the top 100 are Yemen’s real-estate app Aqarmap, startup launchpad Magnitt from Iraq; and Uturn, the entertainment network from Saudi Arabia.
WEF MENA region head Mirek Duresk hopes that introducing entrepreneurs to politicians at the conference will help them expand their business perspectives to include regional development and their countries’ GDP as part of a holistic business model. “You can see the impact and ingenuity of Arab startups everywhere in the Arab world… to me, this is the biggest underreported story in the region,” he said.
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