Dubai Startup Scenario

by Zaara 17, Nov 2016

One more month and the celebration of the year-end begins, we make start the New Year with fresh resolutions, new business ideas, plans for business setups and expansions. The bustling business life in Dubai never stops and continues to thrive, push and innovate further. The overwhelming response to GITEX 2016(Gulf Information Technology Exhibition) proves yet again the promising world of starting up your business in Dubai.

Business Consultants and Technology enthusiasts suggest “Startups” or “small businesses” the reason for the sudden force behind the technological development in every stratum of life in UAE. What really has changed over the last 10 years and who are the game changers, is something that we want to go back to history and peek with utmost interest. Here is the list of such admirable Startups and organizations responsible for monetary injection, which led to the growth of Dubai Startups in the MENA region:

  •  According to Entrepreneur Magazine and Magnitt data, E-commerce is predictably dominant among Dubai startups. is an eminent business startup in Dubai which has flourished and boasts about its 1.5 million visitors per day. In 2015, they clocked $270 Million in turnover. Ronaldo Mouchawar, co-founder and CEO, is predicting an increase in sales of over 90% at the end of 2016. It has the best marketplace structure (buy/sell products for the SME’s) in UAE. has some heavyweight backers in the form of Naspers, Tiger Global and Standard Chartered Private Equity among several large investors.
  • Careem: This is an app based private car booking service, similar to Uber for the Middle Eastern market. Within a span of 4 years, it has grown from an idea into an enterprise with more than 40000 drivers. Careem was launched in 2012 by Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olsson to provide corporate car booking Service. The company, now present in 14 cities in the Middle East and Asia has The Abraaj Group and STC Ventures as its backers and has seen 30% growth month on month for the last 3 years. Its state of the art technology has made it one of the most promising Dubai startups in the MENA region.
  • Mumzworld: Launched in 2011, by Mona and Bader Ataya, is one of the prominent e-commerce site or online retailer for kids merchandise in UAE. Beginning of this year, it raised an undisclosed sum of funds from Endeavor Catalyst, Wamda Capital and twofour54. Mumzworld has already established itself as a thought leader in this segment and has 120000+ products listed on its website. It plans to invest the raised money for growth and expansion to the other untouched regions of MENA, also, has committed itself to reach US$ 100 Million by 2018.
  • Fetchr: A very innovative delivery company, where the user takes a picture of the item, which they wish to send and choose a pickup time. The delivery person connects with the user when they are close to the sender’s location. The brilliance of the service is not the smooth pickup of the item, but the delivery of the same to the receiver’s location based on the location picked up by their mobile phone. Started in 2012 by Idriss Al Rifai and Joy Ajlounny, Fetchr has been a game changer in the logistics infrastructure/ industry which is pegged at US$29.8 Billion (as on 2015, only UAE). Fetchr received the largest investment from a US venture fund- NEA in the Middle East for a series A round. Today, Fetchr is one of the most sought-after startups in Dubai and plans to repeat its success in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, India, and GCC where locating addresses are a challenge.
  • Holidayme: Launched in 2013 by Digvijay Pratap and Geet Bhalla, this startup was mainly formed to cater to the requests of growing outbound travelers from UAE. As per Travel & Tourism Sector reports for 2015, 3.5 million tourists traveled from UAE and spent US$20 Billion. The founders spotted this opportunity and created an online easy booking facilitation, mostly for families. The background of the founders is in Travel and IT space. This holiday technology company has raised more than US$ 11 Million in funding from Al Saine Venture Capital, Accel Partners, and F&C overseas Investment.

The above list is endless, but does require mentioning startups such as Wings - a logistics start-up, Instashop -a grocery delivery app, Laundrybox- on-demand laundry service, Glambox- Monthly/ yearly subscription of beauty products (similar to Birchbox) in US, Campareit4me- financial product comparison website and Shop Go- An eCommerce payment and shipping solution.

If you notice carefully, there is a pattern in the above-mentioned startups - they are all consumer-driven technology startups. All of them focused on specific problems of consumer and tried solving them by incorporating technology into the system, and ended up simplifying the process. The growth is evident as more than 90% of population use internet, out of which 88% use Social Media/Networking.  Almost 36% of the Middle East online users are in the age group of 18-24  (approx.). Hence, the indication of tremendous opportunities across sectors. In the last few years, with the rise of entrepreneurial innovation, people from across communities have set up/started businesses. Incubators and accelerators have played a major role in boosting entrepreneurship in the startup ecosystem. All these factors are making Dubai the largest Startup market in the MENA region.

Commitbiz provides specialized Business Consulting for setting up a business in Dubai. We have provided consulting services to 1000+ clients which include startups as well. We helped young companies through the process of Business set up to establish a fully-fledged business in the MENA region. In the last couple of years along with the boast of the Dubai 2020 Expo, we have seen massive business potential in this region.
So if you are an International startup and want to enter and set up a company in the UAE market, please feel free to contact us- we'd be happy to help you.

Write to us at [email protected] for more details.