ASA Ventures
Top 10 Startups in UAE
BY: ASA Staff Writer | Oct 31, 2018

The startup scene in UAE is flourishing like never before. The burgeoning entrepreneurial scene in this region is often attributed to the vast array of business opportunities. Moreover, the UAE has become the leading country in the Arab world in terms of startup funding deals, as business in the MENA region received some $560 million worth of investments in 2017, as well as a 65% increase in investments observed in 2016. Here are some of the most promising startups in UAE.


1. Careem
TYPE: On-demand car service
FOUNDER: Mudassir Sheikha, Magnus Olsson, Abdullah Elyas
YEAR: 2012

Careem is a transportation network company based in Dubai operating in more than 100 cities in 14 countries in the MENA region. Considered as Uber's top foe in the Middle East, the company is valued at around $1.2 billion as of 2017.

2. Fetchr
TYPE: GPS-based shipping
FOUNDER: Idriss Al Rifai, Joy Ajlouny
YEAR: 2012

Fetchr is a courier company in the Middle East operating an app-based on-demand delivery service model that allows individuals and businesses to set up scheduled pickups of items they want to send or receive. The company has secured external funding worth $52 million this year.

3. HolidayMe
TYPE: Customized travel services
FOUNDER: Geet Bhalla, Digvijay Pratap, Mansour Bin Madi
YEAR: 2013

HolidayMe is an online travel portal that enables travellers to plan and book their holiday experience online. The company boasts integrated travel services ranging from holidays, hotels, and flights to customers across the Middle East. The firms seeks to grow its tech and geographical area with Series B funding that brought its total investments to $23 million this year.

4. EKar
TYPE: Car-sharing service
FOUNDER: Vilhelm Hedberg
YEAR: 2016

EKar enables users to seamlessly search, book, and unlock cars safely for personal driving use. EKar and its competitor Udrive both won contracts with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority, providing a pay per minute hire service. The company has raised $16.8 million to date.

5. Callix
TYPE: Call center, outsourcing
FOUNDER: Arif Saiyad
YEAR: 2017

Callix is an intelligent customer happiness solutions provider that supports business owners by developing analytics based on client interactions. The company serves mainly SMEs by providing a team of multilingual customer service specialists that are accessible 24/7 in order to deliver efficient customer service these businesses. Its latest funding came from a seed round on May 2017.

6. Mumzworld
TYPE: Online retailer of children's apparel and items
FOUNDER: Mona Ataya
YEAR: 2011

Mumzworld is a bilingual e-commerce site for all things mother, baby and child. The site offers shoppers with various choices of baby products from the convenience of their home. The company serves more than 2 million mothers in the MENA region and ships to more than 20 countries. The company has raised a total of $20 million funding over 2 rounds, the latest of which came from a series B round in October this year.

7. Yallacompare
TYPE: Financial products comparison site
FOUNDER: Jon Richards, Samer Chehab
YEAR: 2012

Formally Compareit4me, Yallacompare is a rebrand aimed at supporting the company's growth in the Middle East. It enables users to compare banks and financial institutions from a diverse range of local and international banks. The company has launched their first car insurance aggregator in 2016. It has raised over $10 million in venture capital funding to date.

TYPE: Financial products comparison site
FOUNDER: Ambareen Musa
YEAR: 2012
COUNTRY: UAE is a financial comparison site in the Middle East. The company empowers consumers by bringing together in one platform all the latest deals on more than 3,000 banking, insurance and education products in UAE and Saudi Arabia. Its total funding has amounted to $15 million in 5 funding rounds as of last year.

9. PayTabs
TYPE: Online payment processing solutions
FOUNDER: Abdulaziz Fahad Aljouf
YEAR: 2014
COUNTRY: Saudi Arabia

PayTabs is a financial technology firm that offers merchants and individuals a one-stop solution for all requirements needed to manage online businesses, such as payment processing and fraud prevention. The company has raised $20 million dollars in 2017 for its global expansion plan.

10. The Luxury Closet
TYPE: Marketplace for pre-owned designer labels
FOUNDER: Kunal Kapoor
YEAR: 2011

The Luxury Closet is a marketplace to buy and sell pre-owned authentic designer items at discounted prices, citing studies that estimate some $500 billion worth of re-sellable luxury goods sitting in consumers' closets globally. The company is backed by top-tier investors like Middle East Venture Partners, Wamda Capital, twofour54 - Abu Dhabi, and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. It closed an $8.7 million growth round of funding in 2018.