8 promising and innovative Arab startups you should keep an eye on

SOURCE:Step Feed

2018-01-22

With $560 million worth of investments in the MENA region in 2017, the startup scene is buzzing with tech-savvy entrepreneurs and untapped potential like never before.

Since 2016, a notable 65 percent increase in investments was observed, with the UAE leading the Arab World in terms of startup funding deals.

The UAE received the majority of investments, about 70 percent, while Saudi Arabia saw a 4 percent increase in deal transactions since last year.

Here are 8 promising and innovative Arab startups you should keep an eye on:

Palestine-based WebTeb is an online medical and health information platform, aiming to provide comprehensive health-related information in Arabic.

Co-founded by Mahmoud Kaiyal and CEO Majed Abukhater in 2011, the platform has reached around $7 million in funding as it publishes evidence-based health information.

2. ReserveOut (Jordan)

Founded by Jordanian sales engineer Khalil Shadid in 2012, ReserveOut is an online restaurant guide and booking application that was created after realizing a demand for it in the capital Amman.

The application now provides its services in seven cities including Jeddah, Beirut, and Doha. It acquired an Abu Dhabi-based competitor – Tawilati – which led to $7.1 millionin the latest funding round.

3. Morni (Saudi Arabia)

Saudi-based Morni is an on-demand roadside assistance services platform that was founded Salman Al-Suhaibaney in 2014.

The app has extended its services not only to Saudi Arabia but the Gulf countries as well, and has reached $5.6 million in funding.

4. Falafel Games (Lebanon)

Source: Falafel-games

Lebanon-based Falafel Games is a developer and publisher of multiplayer online games with $4.8 million in funding, as Forbes Middle East listed it in its 2017 list of “Top 100 Startups In The Arab World 2017.”

Founded in 2016 by Lebanese duo Vincent Ghossoub and Radwan Kasmiya, the popular Arabic language game Knights of Glory is the brainchild of Falafel Games, amassing more than half a million players.

5. Hmizate Mall (Morocco)

Morocco-based Hmizate Mall is the first online marketplace in Morocco offering products of all categories and different brands at a competitive price with home delivery.

Created by Kamal Reggad in 2012, the platform’s goal is to satisfy their client’s demand and provide excellent customer service, leading the startup to receive a $2 million investment.

6. Elves (Egypt)

Founded in 2016, Elves is the ultimate “personal assistant” that allows you to message a real person through instant messaging to get you the groceries you need or the task you need to do.

Creators Karim Elsahy and Abeer Elsisy noticed the long time it took to run errands due to the traffic in Cairo and thus the idea emerged and was funded $1.3 million.

7. Geeks (UAE)

Source: trending5000

Co-founders Mousa Yassin and previous Microsoft employee Fathi Alsharif came up with the idea of Geeks when noticing the burden and time it takes to repair consumer devices such as smartphones and laptops.

As the name expresses, a trained specialist or “geek” would come to your preferred location, whether it is an office or at home and fix the issue on the spot.

Founded in 2014, the company currently has over $1.6 million worth of bridge funding.

8. Remmaz (Syria)

Syria-based Remmaz was created and coded by University of Damascus graduates Leen Darwich and Muhammad Sultan. It is an Arabic language online interactive platform that teaches coding for children aged seven to 13 in Arabic coding terminology.

Founded in 2014, Remmaz has successfully reached over 8000 active users from all over the Arab world.

We Got Funded: Saudi Arabia’s HealthTech Startup Sihatech Closes US$1.3 Million Series A

SOURCE: Entrepreneur

Jan 7, 2018

Riyadh-based healthcare tech startup Saudi Internet Health Application Technology Company (Sihatech) has closed a Series A round of funding raising SAR5 million (US$1.3 million) from Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center (Wa’ed Ventures) and existing investor Waseel Application Service Provider, a healthcare IT firm based in KSA. Sihatech plans to use the funds to “improve its offering for the Saudi healthcare sector, expand its team, hire more local developers, and expand its core technology products,” aiming to drive the healthcare goals part of the Saudi Vision 2030.

Sihatech aims to provide answers to a question on most people’s minds in the region: who’s the best doctor for their ailments. The Sihatech website and app enables users to find doctors from over 100 different medical specialties, according to their needs, and book an appointment directly with the chosen professional. On the other hand, for hospitals and doctors, the company helps them address the issue of digitization and storage of medical records by offering a complete Hospital Information System (HIS) on the cloud.

Sihatech winning the Startup Challenge at ArabNet Riyadh. Image credit: Sihatech.

“As we add more hospitals, clinics, doctors, insurance companies and plans, and most importantly patient users, we will build a network effect that will encourage increased quality, accountability and transparency in the Saudi health system,” notes Ahmed Al Bader, founder and CEO, Sihatech. “These economies of scale can then help us expand beyond KSA into the rest of the GCC and to the rest of the MENA region.”

 

Sihatech’s stand-out success in various regional ecosystem challenges seems to be a key enabler for the current funding. Al Bader believes the startup was approached by investors thanks to their victories including Startup of the Year at ArabNet Riyadh2016, Startup Championship at ArabNet Digital Summit 2017, and finding a place in the Top 100 MENA Startups listing brought out by World Economic Forum in 2017. “We are very fortunate to have found investors that share our vision to improve healthcare across the MENA region,” Al Bader says. “They chose us and approached us. We have high aspirations for our partnership with Wa’ed. We have already approached John Hopkins Aramco Healthcare [a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Johns Hopkins Medicine] with a long list of ideas to improve transparency and accountability for the 65,000 Saudi Aramco employees and their family members.”

As for its future priorities, Al Bader says the startup is keen to move beyond basic registration and appointment booking tasks, and develop capabilities for telemedicine consultations, patient procedure financing, drug delivery, laboratory test delivery etc. In fact, the startup also considers itself a fintech platform as it’s working on building its Jamalek product- one that offers financing on medical procedures costing between SAR40,000-150,000 in a Shariah-compliant format. “We are now in the process of building a payment gateway that will allow our users to apply for micro loans to finance certain medical procedures that are not typically covered by insurance and it will also allow small hospitals and clinics to manage their revenue cycle with insurance companies and their medical supply payments to their vendors,” he says. Maalem Financing Company, a leading Saudi financial institution licensed by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) is Sihatech’s partner in its effort to bring patient/health finance to the Kingdom.

According to the MENA Healthcare Sector report by Al Masah Capital, the MENA healthcare market is estimated to be worth $144 billion by 2020, and the GCC’s healthcare market alone, covering six countries, is projected to be worth $69 billion. No wonder then that the region’s aspiring entrepreneurs consider the sector lucrative for technology-powered ideas, despite the legal and regulatory constraints. And with over 2,000 doctors representing 30 different hospitals and medical centers across KSA, Sihatech is one of the largest health tech providers in the Kingdom. In such a setting, Al Bader considers their partnership networks and technology as competitive advantages. “Yes, there have been many doctor listing and booking websites. [But], we are different and unique in the following three ways: location, integration and service focus- keeping in mind that we are an online service that offers a complete Hospital Information System (HIS) on the cloud.”

Members of the Sihatech team. Image credit: Sihatech.

With a business model comprising of revenue from SaaS software, and commissions from ad-space selling, Al Bader wishes to stress to users that Sihatech’s services “is and will always be completely free for patients and will be a mix of freemium/ fees” for providers (hospitals, clinics, doctors, and insurance companies). “Our ultimate goal is to save lives by becoming the backbone of the health IT sector in the MENA, as well as coming up with creative payment gateway solutions that limit the opacity of the current medical procedure pricing,” he says. With a business objective that noble and with its strategy of diversifying into complementary areas, it’d be safe to say that Sihatech looks poised for greater successes.

 

‘TREP TALK

Ahmed Al Bader, founder and CEO, Sihatech

What are your top tips for entrepreneurs who are looking to raise funds for their enterprise?

1. Get yourself ready “Be prepared to both explain your core business and to answer all the different questions about the market, your competition, your core customers, their acquisition costs, and all the key traction metrics.”

2. Have a targeted approach “Be focused on both the number of investors you approach, and your core business. Do not let fundraising get in the way of running the day-to-day operations of your business. Focus your energy only on smart money investors. Top investors in your industry that can help not only open doors, but guide you and hold your hand through them, and help you avoid common pitfalls faced by other startups.”

3. Stay true to who you are “Be honest. This above all else, [be honest] to [one] self (and to one’s investor)… Remember, they are your partners, and you must have an open, honest and realistic discussion about both your vision, and how you want them to share it and help you achieve it.”

Is Saudi, home of ‘Davos in the Desert’, the next Silicon Valley?

SOURCE: AME Info

December 8, 2017

If you are a startup and you’re looking for a place to launch and support your idea, Saudi Arabia is definitely the place to be.

The number of startup support organizations – accelerators, incubators, funds, – in Saudi Arabia significantly increased over the last few years, according to Gitex future Stars,  the region’s fundraising and business development networking event.

These organizations and companies are proving funding, incubation, training, coaching, mentoring and access to market.

Saudi Arabia is aiming at creating a robust local startup scene hoping that one of the supported ideas would become a unicorn in a region where only two unicorns exist today.

Not just that.

The Kingdom has also allocated $45 billion to investing in technology ideas from all over the world.

The kingdom is also the first country to grant citizenship to Sophia, a robot, in a historic breakthrough to tell the world: Technology is here.

Could Saudi Arabia be your ‘Big idea’ destination?

Business licenses

Startup, a platform dedicated to startup topics, reveals that the Saudi Arabian government has recently announced it would help facilitate obtaining business licenses by foreign entrepreneurs to launch start-ups in the country, as part of a drive to encourage growth in the non-oil sector.

“Reference for the fast track licenses will be given to those bringing patents, innovative services or a new business idea to the country. The entrepreneur licenses will be issued by Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority or any one of several economic zones, which offer huge incentives such as free rent and transportation and subsidised housing,” it said.

Ghassan Al Sulaiman, Governor of the kingdom’s Small and Medium Enterprise Authority said: “We hope that one of them, or more, will become a unicorn and reach a billion dollar evaluation. They are the Apples, Amazons and Googles of this world.”

Investment funds

Saudi Arabia wants to transform its Public Investment Fund (PIF) – one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds – into a major player in the tech space.

“The plans already gained traction when, in October last year, the PIF announced that it will be partnering with Japanese tech giant SoftBank Group to create a technology investment fund worth $100 billion (AED367.3 bn),” according to CNBC.

Also, Bloomberg reported recently that Softbank Group plans to invest as much as $25 bn in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years.

The statement said that $15 billion will go to a new city called Neom, a city from scratch that will be bigger than Dubai and have more robots than humans.

Incubators and accelerators

Saudi Arabia is also home to a good number of incubators and accelerators.

According to the Entrepreneur, a platform aimed at supporting entrepreneurs, Badir is one of the most important initiatives with five incubators spread across the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Taif- and that number is only set to increase in the future.

“The program –which aims to promote and enhance the culture of innovation and independent business amongst Saudi youth- has served more than 200 startups since it launched, with Badir CEO Nawaf Al Sahhaf noting that the program has incubated 127 technical projects, and just 34 of these have generated a market value of $88m,” it said.

Another incubator is KAUST which announced the launching of Hikma, a new Accelerator Program to help identify, develop and speed up the Intellectual Property-Based Startups.

Hikma is designed for students, postdocs and academics who wish to pursue a startup potential of their technology.

Other incubators include WadiMakkah and Flat6Labs and many more.

Saudi women entrepreneurs

Saudi Arabia has started working recently to increase women’s social and economic role in the society by making very important decisions such as removing the ban on women’s right to drive which will be put into effect in June 2018.

This will encourage Saudi women who account for 39 percent of the total number of entrepreneurs in the Kingdom to be more involved in the business scene in the kingdom by coming up with ideas that may turn into big success.

SAUDI-BASED BADIR LAUNCHES NEW STARTUP PROGRAMME AT GITEX

SOURCE:Startup Scene

Oct 15, 2017 

 

The soft-landing programme seeks to enable companies from across the Middle East and other regions to penetrate the Saudi market.

Seeking to strike collaborations between the Saudi ecosystem and regional players, the Badir Program for Technology Incubators – a Saudi national program under King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) – has just launched a new Soft Landing Program to attract business startups across GCC countries and the Middle East, as well as the US, UK, and East Europe, Malaysia and Singapore.

The Soft Landing Program, which was announced at the Gitex Tech Week 2017, will work closely with local partners in KSA who have experience in assisting overseas companies with market feasibility and market orientation in Saudi Arabia. “The soft-landing ensures that any foreign startups understand business culture and practices in Saudi Arabia through training and orientation,” said Nawaf Al-Sahhaf, CEO of Badir Program for Technology Incubators, revealing the programme aims to have 20 percent foreign startups amongst their incubated startups.

Startups who are an established company in its country of origin, with sales track record and a potential to offer knowledge transfer and employment to Saudi nationals, can apply for the programme, as long as they have the potential to offer technology, product and service transfer. “Badir tends to gather technologies and innovation talents from around the world to create a win-win situation between the local and foreign participants in its entrepreneurial hubs,” Al-Sahhaf explained, indicating the company already has a pipeline of 10 foreign startups – one of which is an incubated Kuwaiti startup in the field of Fintech. 

Saudi Arabia startups shine at GITEX Future Stars

SOURCE: ITP.net

Time: October 10, 2017

GITEX Future Stars played host to Saudi Accelerator Day on Monday, to promote the startup ecosystem and entrepreneurship drive in the Kingdom.

The event featured a panel of prominent speakers who discussed the Kingdom’s accelerating start up scene at the GITEX Future Stars Unbox Lounge

According to latest reports by Wamda, the number of entrepreneurship support organisations in Saudi Arabia, including funds, co-working spaces, incubators and accelerators, has nearly tripled from 2011 to 2015.

Among the participants for Saudi Accelerator Day was Wa’ed Ventures, the venture capital arm of Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center. Wa’ed Ventures has venture capital fund of $200m, to enable it in its mission to ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia.

Trey Goede, Head of Portfolio and Investment Management at Wa’ed Ventures says: “We are extremely excited to be a part of a bold, new platform that seeks to redefine the global startup agenda through unique GITEX programs and look forward to drawing out the best innovations and ideas from across the world. GITEX Future Stars gives us the perfect opportunity to engage with our peers, inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs and outline new opportunities to complement our portfolio of successful ventures while seeking to empower our national agenda and accelerate the strategic direction for the global innovation roadmap.”

Other prominent Saudi players in the startup sphere who are participating in GITEX Future Stars include Badir, the incubator of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), and STC InspireU Program. Both are engaging with emerging startups in their chosen spheres and highlighting their offerings for the sector.

“GITEX Future Stars extends the perfect mesh of opportunity and learning; offering our startups the key platform for seeking out and attracting like-minded investors but also engaging with their peers to help bring a global adaptation to a locally-born idea,” says Feras S Alheraish, Program Head, STC InspireU.

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Third of new Saudi startups owned by women

SOURCE: Arabian Business

Mon 02 Oct 201

SMEs to create 500,000 to 700,000 job in the Kingdom by 2030

Nealy forty percent of startups launched in Saudi Arabia in 2016 are owned by women, according to a government SME official

The figures show the central role played by women in the Saudi economy and “how the role of women in economic development has flourished,” the Governor of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Ghassan Al-Sulaiman told Arab News.

Since its founding, the General Authority for SMEs has conducted workshops for 2,000 enterprises to identify the challenges they face in the local ecosystem, he said.

Al Sulaiman pointed out the importance of SMEs in catering to new emerging sectors in Saudi’s developing economy in areas such as mining, sports and tourism – that need the services and products of SMEs.

“There are also large projects looking for a greater contribution from SMEs,” Al Sulaiman said.

In addition he said that a new project for financing SMEs will be rolled out by the authority soon.

“There are different ideas for the financing mechanism as well as a few new proposals, and I expect the strategy to be submitted to the Council of Economic and Development Affairs and to the Cabinet within 45 days,” he said.

The Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majid Al-Qasabi, said it has been focussed on developing the infrastructure to encourage local businesses to set up in the Kingdom and to ensure legal protection for their interests, operations and investments.

“SMEs are an engine of economic growth, and thus the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims to develop this sector and raise its participation in the macro economy from 20 percent to 35 percent, which is expected to provide 500,000 to 700,000 job opportunities by 2030,”  Al-Qasabi said.

“Measures have also been taken to amend the bankruptcy, commercial mortgage and commercial franchise systems which will allow SMEs to expand across the Kingdom. Such measures are in their  final stages of approval and are waiting to be issued.”

Al-Qasabi said the ministry was keen on tackling bureaucratic obstacles to SMEs operating in the region, and has launched the ‘Tayseer’ initiative with members from the Council of Economic and Development to improve the business environment.

And The Highest Funded Saudi Startup Is…

SOURCE: Destination

SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

The Saudi startup scene has already produced many noteworthy startups, largely from the entertainment industry.

However, the highest funded Saudi startup is not from the entertainment industry but rather is a fin-tech company that operates in the online payment processing business.

The startup we are talking about is PayTabs. With a funding of close to $16.5 million no other local startup even comes close.

What It Does

PayTabs offers secure payment options to customers of small or medium-sized businesses that sell goods or services online. They have a payment platform that can be integrated into any business’s website within 24 hours. And, the merchant’s money is wired to their account in 3 days.

What’s more is that even businesses that don’t have a website can accept payments through Paytabs. So even if a business is selling via social media or other e-commerce platforms their customers can make payments through PayTabs without having to worry about their banking security.

Plus, for customers from Saudi, they can even pay by SADAD accounts, which is one of the most popular methods of online payments in the Kingdom. This has aided in its rise.onile-payments2-1

The Man Behind It

PayTabs’ founder is Saudi entrepreneur Abdulaziz F. Al Jouf. He is a serial entrepreneur and has other business ventures as well including SaleTab and ExTabs.

His passion for entrepreneurship and innovation stems from his childhood and university days where his studies mostly focused on technology and eCommerce. He first tried his hand on a business venture in America, but that failed after earning 1 million dollars in revenue.

The failure didn’t deter him and the foundations for PayTabs were laid soon after when Abdulaziz found a gap in the online payments market in the Middle East. He is quoted to have said, “We had great products but we always had issues with accepting online payments. I faced the same problem that millions of others in this region face. Then one day, I said to myself that why do we have to wait for someone else to make a payment solution?”

That’s when PayTabs was born, but not without years of work by Abdulaziz, other developers and industry specialists.

Since then Abdulaziz has been featured in internationally renowned business magazines such Forbes and Entrepreneur. He was also featured on the list of “Leaders Inspiring a Kingdom Saudi Arabia’s Entrepreneurial Elite”.025fe66

Paytabs Today

Since its founding in 2013 PayTabs has come along way and is the Starchild of the Saudi startup scene. The company has a wide presence in the Middle East and North Africa region, with it becoming a preferred choice for SMEs clocking an annual revenue of around $100 million in 2016.

Even oil giant Saudi Aramco has backed it financially through its Venture Capital arm Wa’ed. The investment placed by Wa’ed on PayTabs has proved fruitful as the latter has grown to become one of the biggest startups in the Middle East.

Over the years PayTabs has won numerous accolades including the ‘Payment Solution of the Year’ at the KSA Enterprise Agility Awards.

After becoming the preferred mode of payment in the Middle East PayTabs now looks to expand eastwards to 10 countries in Southeast Asia. The company expects to raise its annual revenue to between $600 million and $700 million.

As for the ever-lingering question around it that will it become the first unicorn start-up in the country, well, the answer for it lies in whether it can replicate its success in other markets. Time will tell, but as of now it sure seems like it.

Saudi Arabian ‘honesty’ app takes internet by storm

SOURCE: Phys.ORG

Time: September 3, 2017

Fizzing with boyish exuberance, Saudi programmer Zainalabdin Tawfiq could be mistaken for a college freshman, but the popularity of his “honesty” app has shone a spotlight on the conservative kingdom’s nascent tech scene.

Tawfiq catapulted to fame when he took time out of his day job as a business analyst last year to develop an anonymous messaging tool called Sarahah—honesty in Arabic—that subsequently topped the charts for app downloads.

Initially conceived as a tool for soliciting bluntly frank workplace feedback, Sarahah has found its way into the smartphones of millennials worldwide, even as critics have raised alarm about trolling and privacy issues.

“Sarahah is the digital equivalent of an old-school suggestion box,” 29-year-old Tawfiq told AFP, adding that it is built on the premise that stripping users of their identity promotes ruthless honesty.

“Feedback is the goal—anonymous feedback.”

The app has a frugal design and a simple prompt that encourages users to “leave a constructive message :)”, with the recipient not allowed to reply but only share it on social media or block the sender.

Its mass appeal stems from the appetite in the Arab world—notorious for online censorship—for unfiltered platforms for expression, though Tawfiq said it has also gained a strong popularity in Western countries.

Such has been its power to knock down social barriers that obstruct free speech that one user described it as an app where you can “hit enter on comments you would have otherwise backspaced”.

Sarahah has so far drawn 85 million registered users, and rocketed to the top of the Apple app store in some countries, ahead of heavyweights such as Snapchat and Instagram.

‘Oil’s decline, entrepreneurship’s rise’

That a Saudi app could gain such success spotlights hidden potential for tech innovation and entrepreneurship at a time of economic transformation in an ultra-conservative country.

Giving online feedback without fear of the consequences

“The success story of Sarahah really proves that Saudi startups can achieve spectacular gains when properly supported,” said Nawaf Alsahhaf, CEO of Badir, a government-backed technology incubator that helped Tawfiq.

“There truly is undeniable potential behind Saudi startups we currently incubate,” he told AFP.

Saudi Arabia is promoting private enterprise as part of its ambitious reform program to move the kingdom away from its dependence on oil revenues.

“It is clear oil’s decline and entrepreneurship’s rise are necessarily intertwined,” the Beirut-based venture capital firm Leap Ventures wrote on its website last year, noting a new growth in disruptive tech innovations in the region.

A new breed of Saudi startups—from an on-demand roadside assistance app called Morni to Hunger Station, a food ordering portal—have recently drawn the attention of venture capitalists.

Minimising abuse

Tawfiq said he is in negotiations with venture capitalists from the United States, China and the Arab world, without disclosing details, in response to critics who question whether his app can be effectively monetised.

In some gender-segregated Arab societies, men have used Sarahah for secret love confessions, but it has also been used by service delivery companies to harvest constructive feedback and psychiatrists in far-away Mumbai to engage openly on subjects such as sexual health.

Sarahah has come under fire for being a troll magnet—but Tawfiq said that problem was common to all major social media platforms.

It has also recently been accused of secretly harvesting the address books of users. Tawfiq rejected that claim and said he plans to remove Sarahah’s address upload feature with the next update.

He currently runs a tight ship with another business partner and three customer support executives, but is considering leaving his day job to focus on Sarahah full time.

“I believe that even one case (of abuse) is actually too many,” Tawfiq said. “I won’t tell you how, but my aim is to make the job of misusers as difficult as possible.”

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How a Saudi Startup is 3D Mapping Riyadh through Drones and Copters

SOURCE: Kawa

Aug 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s tech scene is booming. FalconViz is an innovative startup leading the way for the next generation of Saudi entrepreneurs.

In 2014, Luca Passone, Neil Smith and Mohamed Shalaby developed a 3D scanning and modeling system at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). With a $225,000 grant from KAUST, they began FalconViz.

Their first client was Jeddah Municipality, for a survey of the historic Al-Balad quarter. Today Al-Balad appears on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

FalconViz raised $1,1 million from Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed in 2016. Today, FalconViz has a fleet of eight drones and a team of 18 employees.

How three Saudi women launched a mobile phone repair company

SOURCE: Al Arabiya English

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Aljawharah Alqahtani was studying at the Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh when she saw a need for a mobile repair shop tailored specifically for women.

Entrepreneurship platform Wamda recently featured their story.

Women in Saudi Arabia tend to dispose of their mobile phone upon its damage or encountering a technical error. Instead of fixing it, they opt for purchasing a new one. They do so to maintain the confidentiality of the personal data on their phones.

Seeking to fill that gap, Alqahtani opened a Twitter account in 2013 through which she offered phone and laptop maintenance to her colleagues.

Seeing it was welcomed with great support. a year later she established a physical store on campus to fix mobile phones and sell accessories.

As of 2015, her Twitter-fix and store turned a startup that goes by the name of Fixtag. Operating under this entrepreneurial idea, is an online store and, two physical stores in Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University and the other on Exit 6 road.

The startup now has three cofounders, Aljawharah Alqahtani who is the CTO, her sister Madhawi Alqahtani the COO and Alanoud Alqahtani, the CEO.

Speaking to Wamda, Alanoud said that the company’s motto, ‘women can fix your phone,’ “helps increasing people’s trust in us when it comes to their privacy [sic]. They trust women more, given their integrity and excellence in what they do, which requires accuracy and patience.”

Since the launch of the startup, they were able to serve around 18, 000 customers, said Aljawhara.

The CTO expressed her gratitude for her university’s support. She said that through their help, the startup overcame “hard and complicated” licensing and regulatory challenges.

While this helped kick-start the business, Fixtag is yet to earn a license that allows them to operate outside the campuses.

Alanoud highlighted that during the summer, their sales are negatively impacted due to the location constraints. They also “faced difficulties in hiring since only female university students were allowed on campus,” she added.

The current Fixtag team consists of 13 females and two male employees.

Despite the obstacles ahead of them, Fixtag plans to overcome them and expand.

Plans to establish two more stores are underway, one in Jeddah at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the other branch at King Saud University in Riyadh.

They are expected to be open by next year, said Wamda.