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Tech Startups Opportunities in Middle East – Startup Ecosystem

The Middle East is slowly coming up to offer unparalleled opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. Multiple tech startups are coming up that have pushed their way into the Middle Eastern geography. Google has funneled in money for startups and the region is witnessing a tech boom like never before. Crowdfunding efforts have become essential to support this rising tech revolution, which is quietly creeping among the youth and reshaping their lives and cultures in the Middle East.

For the past few years, the west world tended to perceive the rest of the world through the looking glass of its own entrepreneurial successes. However, nobody holds a monopoly over innovative ideas and entrepreneurship and that is what we are seeing in the rapidly progressing Middle East. Several new age startups are finding a likeable target audience and attracting numerous rounds of investment, which is good news for the tech industry in MENA.

Growing Middle East

The Middle East technology industry is catching up with West as we see the number of funding sources increasing. Whether it is the smartphone industry or ecommerce, greater accessibility and rising user base are few of the factors responsible for startup boom in the Middle East.

According to sources, the Middle East IT expenditure is set to surpass $233 billion in the year 2017.

  • Sectors like business intelligence, analytics, infrastructure and cloud are among the top priorities in the Middle East.
  • Telecom services are said to be the largest drivers of investment, which accounts for over 74% of the Middle East IT projection spending which is $45.3 billion this year.
  • Over the last decade, the Middle East has witnessed strong advances in mobile app development & website design development across the region.

Dubai & Riyadh

If we talk about specific regions, Dubai & Riyadh are increasingly gaining prominence in the IT industry with their developed infrastructure and advanced telecommunications network.

Dubai is fast establishing itself as the destination choice for tech startups in Middle East that are looking for new markets to engage and succeed. According to research conducted by Flagship Projects, a local applications developer, the UAE controls 60 per cent of mobile phone applications development in the Middle East. From ‘Careem’ a Dubai based car booking service to ‘Bridg’ a mobile-to-mobile payment service, all these startups have found a reliable target audience to cater to. Talking about Careem, it has raised over $70 million in investment and has expanded its business operations to more than 25 cities across the MENA region. Both these startups are thriving examples of the tech boom that has gripped the Middle East.

Tech startup boom is not only characterized by accelerators and incubators. Entrepreneurship and focus on building and overcoming the myriad of political, economic, security and social challenges facing the region is helping to shape a new narrative of the Middle East and, thanks to its openness to the world economically and technologically and its world class infrastructure. This step is also supported by government and semi-government institutions as well as certain vital sectors like Technology, education and energy. More and More entrepreneurs are getting access to convert their dreams into reality due to reduce in technology cost  and  offering microfinance loans to jump start businesses and solve social problems. eDesk HUB, a startup to keep an eye on in 2017, that offers vetted and verified references and reviews on high quality Web & Mobile Application Development & Design companies with varied experience.

This is the most opportune time for corporate investors to diversify and expand their investments in the Middle East tech startups to gain medium and long-term returns.

Google has been collaborating with Astrolabs to help startups grow and expand. They are a part of Google for Entrepreneur partner network, share meaningful insights, useful techniques, and facilitate exchanges with leading tech hubs across the world to enhance the experience for startups. Angel investors and venture capitalists are also growing and making a shift in their investments from real estate to tech startups.

The population is also increasing in the UAE and a majority number of them are expats. If we go by demographics, tech startups are expat driven; however, the youth among the indigenous population is coming up with new and brighter ideas to excel in the IT field.

Further, the Middle East region, particularly Emirates is witnessing growing participation among women in the startup industry. Women are increasingly playing a meatier role in the tech startup industry.


Increasing number of support groups, communities and organized meet ups are providing the necessary support to startup owners to interact and exchange information for mutual benefit. Many of the biggest organizations are representing themselves in the Middle Eastern geography, establishing it as a much sought after financial and entrepreneurial destination. A new era of technology based business innovation is coming forth that will build and evolve consistently.

Author Bio

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Hamad Almuraikhi is the Founder and CEO of eDesk HUB, a research and review platform that offers vetted and verified references and reviews on high quality Web & Mobile Application Development & Design companies with varied experience. Though starting out new in business, he has extensive experience in web and mobile domain and has extensive knowledge in IT industry and he frequently writes on topics of mobile app development, digital marketing web design and development.


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Israa Elkhatib

I was born in Palestine but raised with the fireflies in Georgia. My teenage years were spent being the Muslim nerd who was known as the bookworm of the school. That followed me back to Palestine, to develop into being the girl with the big vocabulary. I spent most of my high-school days cursing Newton for not eating that apple. My English Literature Bachelor's degree was only obtained because I'm a nerd for literature and my minor in Translation pretty much pays the bills, thank you Birzeit University.Creative writing is my passion and reading is my escape from reality into a world where everything is the way you imagine it to be.

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