Rising (Up) to the top: 10 Egyptian startups to watch in 2017
- 15 January 2017
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Last month marked another successful edition of the increasingly popular RiseUp Summit, one of Egypt’s biggest events dedicated to entrepreneurship and the country’s thriving startup scene.
My Salaam’s writers were at the scene, meeting entrepreneurs, startup co-founders, investors, and more, and after much deliberation, we’ve narrowed down to ten Egyptian startups from the event that we have our eye on in 2017.
Winner of RiseUp’s Microsoft Egypt startup competition, receiving EGP 60,000 ($3,200) in funding, Ta2heal is an online service created to assist parents of children with autism.
Founder Ahmed Mahfouz explains, “In Egypt and the region, over 60,000 children with autism suffer from lack of services, high prices of those services that are available, and the amount of fraud in child diagnosis and training.”
“Ta2heal was created with the purpose of empowering parents using a number of online services and on-ground activities. There is so much more to be done to simplify the lives of children with special needs and their families.”
“One of Ta2heal’s features is the ‘Parent Trainer,’ though which parents can watch videos to learn how to adapt to their children's needs and train them on various skills using a certified international curriculum.”
It always seems to be a challenge to find a good and reliable handyman. Fixawy is changing that by connecting customers to pre-screened independent professionals.
Currently operating in Cairo and Alexandria, Fixawy has more than 100 handymen on their roster and over 5,000 customers using the service at present. The startup claimed second place in RiseUp’s Microsoft Egypt startup competition.
Based in Mansoura, PreCogs is a startup comprising four software engineers who specialise in technical solutions. Their first venture, Beacon, is an emergency app that allows an individual to contact the most trusted people they know during emergencies at the press of a button.
Operating under the tagline “Invest in an Inclusive Egypt,” Helm (which translates into “dream”) is a non-profit organisation that focuses on increasing employment and other opportunities for people with disabilities. This is carried out through a variety of initiatives, such as encouraging and helping companies to adopt a diverse and productive workforce. Helm also offers career and counselling services.
Raye7 is a carpooling app that aims to “Defeat Cairo traffic.” It allows drivers to invite commuters to join them, thus reducing road congestion and carbon emissions. The brainchild of siblings Samira and Ahmed Najm, Raye7 is already attracting a lot of attention, especially after winning second place at the Mobile World Congress application competition in Barcelona.
Another common problem in Egypt, particularly in congested areas of Cairo and Alexandria, is finding available parking spots. Co-founders Ahmed Zaki and Omar Radi are attempting to solve the problem with a valet-on-demand service called Rakna. All a user has to do is request a Rakna valet to pick their car up at their desired location, after which the valet parks it in a Rakna-approved location. Once the user is ready to leave, they can then request for the car to be retrieved.
Somewhat like a homegrown Skype, VoxEra is a device that allows users to make calls and send or receive text messages with no roaming fees. The device, which aims to help companies reduce their employees’ roaming charges to zero, works by connecting to the user’s Internet connection in their home country.
This in-app feedback platform is designed specifically to help mobile developers communicate with their users. It has already attracted a large number of big-name clients such as Yahoo and Lyft. Instabug works by allowing regular mobile users or beta testers to submit their feedback or report bugs about a mobile app just by shaking their device.
Founded by Amr Elraiany and Mohamed Emam, Vditory provides eyeglasses for the visually-impaired that can read text, recognise the faces of people the wearer meets, and even describe the view outside.
On their f6s.com page, the founders say, “There’s no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark. … The loss of sight causes enormous human suffering for the affected individuals and their families. It also represents a public health, social and economic problem for countries, especially developing ones, where 9 out of 10 of the world’s blind live.”
For founder Ibrahim Shams, the main objective of Kiliim is to revive and sustain the art of making kilims (tapestry-woven carpets).
“We manufacture our kilims in Fowwa, a small village situated along the lush Nile Delta. Our artisans come from a long line of kilim artisans who consider the craft as part of their heritage.”
He added that people who support Kiliim will be “playing a role in sustaining this craft and allowing its presence in Egypt’s future.”
(All images and videos provided by Digital Ink)