A round up of the Middle East and North Africa Startup space in 2012

The Internet and Technology space is emerging in the Middle East and North Africa Region. We had several startups attracting huge investments in the region this year. Online startups like Namshi from UAE and Souq from Jordan have attracted 8 digit figures in 2012.

While group discount sites like Cobone were rumored to be sold, Living Social actually shutdown its shop in the region.

International investors are closely watching the region’s startup industry which is still in its infancy stage. Below is a list of some start ups that were established or gained recognition in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2012.

Qordoba – An online start up that helps you with translating documents in Arabic, French and English

Online Food ordering – UAE saw a surge in this space. A lot of new startups have started delivering food online. FoodonClick, 24he, Qfoody are some of these startups that have recently been set up in the region

Crowdfunding – A lot of Kickstarter like initiatives were established in 2012 in the region. Mawwell, Entelak and Aflamnah are a few.

Live Event Startup – Mindtalk is a startup that basically broadcasts events and conferences and offers the networking option through the virtual chat as well as the integration of social media

Accelerators and Incubators in Middle East – The mentoring trend picked up in the region this year. There were many initiatives by individuals and companies to help establish start ups successfully in 2012.

Recyclobekia – The startup was established in 2011 but gained a lot of traction this year. It’s a startup in Egypt that recyles e-Waste.

Coworking picks up in Middle East – With the global recession underway and unemployment on rise, many individuals in the region wanted to control their own destiny by setting their startups. These people wanted affordable office space to run the show. Many coworking spaces were established in the region to help these startups.

Many individuals interested in the startups space now have access to Investors and VC’s in the region. An Angel Investment Network was established in Qatar. Thanks to availability of information on internet, all these established networks are a click away. Another interesting initiative that as been set up is called Startup Stock Exchange. The Exchange allows any company from around the world to raise money from anyone, anywhere by selling equity shares.

A women employment portal in Saudi Arabia formed in 2008 gained a lot of popularity this year.

We had a new e-commerce startup that offers new and exciting design items online to a startup that bridges the gap between doctors and patients

Year 2012 saw a lot of progress in the start up space in the region. We would see a lot of startups being set up in 2013 as the investors and mentors are now easily accessible. Hope to see some innovative startups next year.


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