One of the core objectives of the MENA ICT Forum is to facilitate a friendly environment for startups and venture capital firms operating regionally to network and share insights in today’s markets. The startups are featured according to the diversity of services offered. Based on the editor’s choice, these startups show great potential and target various demographic groups. Among others, the venture capital firms featured in this year’s review are seeking out fresh business ideas to support and these initiatives are a few to consider.
In an effort to get you some of the best of both worlds, we will be briefly outlining ten Jordanian startups, along with ten local and regional Venture Capital firms subsequently:
Meet the Startups
Info to Intell Solutions
Info to Intell Solutions combines more than 20 years of expertise in automated digital solutions utilizing AI technology, capacity building, and company development. Over the past ten years, Info to Intell Solutions has made significant investments in Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms, speech recognition engines, data analytics engines, servers, research and design, establishing libraries, and data visualization. All of the engines and technology are developed and fully owned by the company allowing it to accelerate key AI developments. The steps taken in recent years have been carefully thought out and are in response to the demands of companies, groups, and people that have shown particular interest in the underdeveloped Arabic version of NLP. Offered in Arabic, NLP enables nearly 500 million Arabs to use these solutions as the world is becoming increasingly dependent on AI technology.
Motor Wheels allows you to buy, sell, or just pick up a basic insurance plan in addition to offering a no-hassle examination for your automobile and financial plans. The website is user-friendly and secure. It also allows visitors to meet people who share common interests and engage in online discussions by joining a vast community of vehicle enthusiasts.
A global leader in food safety and quality traceability technology, Decapolis has offices in Jordan and the United Kingdom. Decapolis Food Guard (DFG), a platform developed by Decapolis, guarantees food safety and food hygiene worldwide. Decapolis supports the provision of premium goods by food manufacturers whose supply and manufacturing chains adhere to maintaining international safety and quality control standards.
Ransom for Cyber Security
Established in Irbid by the Jordanian government in 2021, Ransom Company for Cyber Security specializes in cyber security and offers a wide range of instructional strategies and cybersecurity-related training programs including information security, networks, applications, databases, and social engineering. The company not only provides software and solutions that aid in resolving issues, cyber intrusions, and threats, but also consultation and IT security services; assistance in developing security solutions; implementing particular IT security projects, and managing effective information security programs.
The Jordan-based company is a business-to-business (B2B) startup that offers virtual kitchen services to the food and beverage industry. To increase restaurants’ income, Kitchefy is introducing virtual brands that help kitchens to operate more efficiently at the lowest cost possible. Kitchefy also connects kitchens with restaurants seeking to grow geographically without having to worry about location, infrastructure, or operating costs.
Kaleela is an android/iOS app that targets individuals interested in learning Arabic and is currently available in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Turkish, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese. Kaleela provides an extensive selection of Arabic courses catering to non-natives and teaches them the fundamentals of Arabic. Courses expose students to everyday scenarios, such as recognizing items, people, and places as well as posing questions and answers, and learning basic phrases. Instead of following a single criterion, users have the liberty to decide on the specific topics they want to improve on.
A nonprofit organization, Broccoli has become influential among Jordan’s youth. Through direct investments in human growth and intellectual capital, as well as the empowerment of our youth and the creation of realistic, long-term prospects, Broccoli is a qualitative model organization that drives economic and social development in Jordan and the surrounding area. Broccoli creates opportunities for holistic development through three key areas: capacity building, innovation, and social partnership.
QWQ Cash Withdrawals
Operating in Jordan, QWQ Cash Withdrawals is a fintech startup company that offers businesses a “virtual ATM” service that can be accessed via Android/iOS or a POS system. It gives customers a more convenient ATM service by enabling users to conveniently withdraw money from local shops. Business owners can also download the app and network with individuals who want to withdraw or deposit cash. Additionally, local companies indirectly benefit from the unique advertising opportunities the app offers.
Souq Fann, an online marketplace, offers new business options to handicraft makers, artists, and designers in Jordan. Along with providing payment, shipping, and customer care services, Souq Fann allows vendors to promote their products as well as share their stories on its website. More than 160 businesses listing over 2,500 products are currently available. Souq Fann is expanding at a rate of about 5 new stores per week and merchants are seeing earnings of over $15,000 each month.
Jusoor introduces learning through virtual reality. Users of the platform gain knowledge on various science subjects using Jusoor’s virtual labs. The innovative learning tool gives students experience and hands-on instruction in science disciplines and provides them with numerous and varied testing options. Jusoor eliminates the need for expensive equipment and potentially hazardous materials and provides an exceptional educational experience tailored to each user’s learning method.
Note: Above featured startups are only some of Jordan’s entrepreneurial companies that took part in the MENA ICT FORUM 2022.
The Investors and Venture Capital Firms
By giving early-stage businesses the opportunity for long-term, rapid growth, venture capital firms play a crucial role in assisting them in achieving their objectives. Their consistent flow of funding for startups indirectly boosts regional economies and helps bright-minded entrepreneurs realize their full potential. A handful of investors are highlighted to express our gratitude for their support in the MENA ICT Forum 2022.
Arzan Venture Capital
Arzan Venture Capital (AVC) has successfully launched the first private venture capital company in Kuwait. With investments made in over 40 startups located across 10 countries through AVC Fund I, AVC Fund II, and the most recent AVC Fund III, Arzan Venture Capital is one of the most active such organizations in the MENA region. The investments made by AVC span the Pre-Seed to Series B stages and are focused throughout the countries it operates in. With offices in Kuwait, Dubai, Jordan, Egypt, and soon Pakistan, the organization has a pan-regional reach.
Every year, Flat6Labs invests in over 100 cutting-edge, tech-focused firms, empowering thousands of inspired entrepreneurs to realize their audacious goals and eventually become their institutional co-founders. Assets Under Management (AUM) for the seed funds managed by Flat6Labs currently surpasses $85 million and more than 25 prestigious institutions have made investments in the managed funds run by Flat6Labs because they respect the asset class and are confident in the company’s position as a market leader. With investments ranging from $50K to $500K, Flat6Labs supports entrepreneurs at every step of their development, from Pre-Seed to Pre-Series A. In addition to the investments, Flat6Labs’ outstanding startup programs are designed to meet the needs of creative entrepreneurs specifically; aid in accelerating their growth as well as connecting them to unrivaled opportunities through an extensive network made up of hundreds of business mentors, investors, and corporates. Since its founding in 2011 and with its headquarters in Cairo, Flat6Labs has opened several offices in the area and has continued intentions to tap into other emerging markets.
DINARe Ventures provides a comprehensive strategy for supporting and establishing businesses. By integrating investment, fundraising, and building activities with the assistance of a community of specialists and service providers, DINARe offers an alternative to conventional methods. Their three-pillar strategy, which consists of establishing, investing, and supporting firms, raises the probability that digital entrepreneurs in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia will succeed.
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Through original and collaborative research that is interwoven with graduate education, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) advances science and technology. In Saudi Arabia and around the world, the university drives innovation, economic growth, and social success. With an emphasis on four areas of global significance—food, water, energy, and the environment—KAUST is immensely dedicated to raising social standards.
IMPACT46 is a CMA-approved asset management and advising firm that specializes in alternative Saudi Arabian investment prospects. The organization’s name is derived from Riyadh, where it is established, which is situated on our globe’s 46th longitudinal line. IMPACT46 now has a presence in the most remote areas of the Kingdom and offers its unwavering support to individuals who strive to make a difference.
Initiated in 2012, BECO Capital is one of the UAE’s first early-stage venture capital firms with a focus on the MENA region. With a surplus of USD 450 million in assets under management, BECO Capital is currently one of the largest non-governmental venture businesses. All of BECO Capital’s funds continuously rank in the top 10% of global capital and it boasts some of the biggest success stories in the region.
iMENA creates and finances cutting-edge start-ups that aim to enhance lives and economies. It supports company strategies that target significant markets, utilize groundbreaking technologies, and have logical network strategies.
Amam Ventures is an impact investment fund that offers risk investments and technical support to help small and medium-sized enterprises committed to diversity and inclusion thrive in today’s markets.
Faith Capital aims to discover and fund ambitious individuals with promising ideas and boost their contributions in their respective markets. This is accomplished by utilizing their extensive knowledge, effective procedures, and scalable culture, which bears rewarding outcomes. Faith Capital invests in technology-focused companies regardless of where they are operating from. Whether it be by setting examples for ethical corporate conduct or investing in innovative initiatives, Faith Capital works tirelessly towards positively impacting communities.
Ibtikar is a disruptive venture capital firm, which has the literal meaning of ‘innovation’ in Arabic and makes investments in trending businesses established by Palestinian businesspeople. By aiding high-potential Palestinian businesses in meeting regional and global demands, Ibtikar seeks to effectively maximize returns for shareholders. This is primarily achieved by providing firms with direct support from Ibtikar’s management and consultants, as well as by utilizing a robust network of investors and partners.
Mahdi is a PR specialist and business developer with over ten years of experience in marketing and content development. Throughout his career Mahdi worked across renowned local and global media channels and PR agencies, such as, the Chicago based PR agency - Golin, What's On Arabia in KSA, The National newspaper in Dubai, and the Middle East North Africa Financial Network (MENAFN). Mahdi holds a BSc degree in Integrative Studies - Business, International Studies and Technical Communications - from the University of North Texas - Texas, USA.