We’re back again with some great news this month, most recently our investment in Swvl! We’ve also been working on a couple of transactions we will be announcing soon.
Our beautiful startup studio and co-working space, Blender, is coming to life and we’ve opened up applications! You can have licensed offices, dedicated desks, and more. Here’s a peek…
Lastly, we took a look at the state of startups in Jordan.
Jordan Tech Startups
Ten years ago, reports described Jordan as the Middle East’s Silicon Valley in the making. Jordan, backed by the king’s efforts and armed with a large developer community and ample human resources, led the pack with its number of tech startups and notable exits. However, over the years this growth has been stunted by laws and regulations that were not fully conducive to entrepreneurs’ needs.
With a vast proportion of the Arabic content on the web originating from Jordan, a large number of startups we found are operating in the media and content category. This includes information resources about the weather (Arabia Weather), food recipes (Atbaki), and everything in general (Mawdoo3). Several content producers are focusing on video content (e.g. Istikana), audible content (e.g. Masmoo3, Sowt) and content for children (e.g. Shablol, Kharabeesh).
E-commerce was the second largest category and includes a range of businesses from multiproduct stores (e.g. OpenSooq) to platforms for buying hardware (e.g. Jafar Shop), books (e.g. Jamalon), apparel (e.g. Jobedu), real estate (e.g. AqarCircle ) and many more.
The technology category is a broad group that includes companies doing innovative things such as mapping technology (e.g. Navcode), assistive technologies for the deaf (e.g Mindrockets), and chatbots (e.g. Arabot, Eila). Several companies provide tools for the web such as website builders (e.g. websity.me) and website translations (e.g. dakwak).
The edtech sector in Jordan has been quite active with startups offering online courses (e.g. Edraak), peer to peer tutoring (e.g. Gattaa), learning management systems (e.g. edaura), and specialized training courses (e.g. Salalem).
The social category covers networks that connect a variety of groups including travelers (e.g. Friendture) and readers (e.g. Abjjad). It also includes social media management tools that help with automation and customer service (Sortechs, Sadeed).
In enterprise tools, companies are building sales CRM tools (e.g. Repzo) as well as libraries of professional documents (e.g. Hashdoc). Related to enterprises, in the jobs and recruiting field are sites for general recruitment (e.g. Akhtaboot) as well as temporary home maintenance jobs (e.g. 3oun).
The bookings category includes reservations for events (e.g. Sajilni) and restaurants (e.g. Reserveout). In design, companies are building platforms for homeowners and designers (eg. Darpedia), creatives (e.g tasmeemME) and crowdsourced interior designs (e.g. eldesigners). Lastly, in food and grocery, local companies deliver groceries (e.g. iMoneh) and home cooked foods (e.g. Bilforon).
These are the segments that have many startups in global markets but are not yet fully exploited in the Jordanian market. For example, for a small regional market, many players look to immediately scale outside of Jordan to grow. The SaaS model of startups lends itself to this type of growth and is one of the main reasons why we’d love to see more come out from Jordan and the region in general. Another interesting untapped sector is travel technology, which potentially includes rewards management software, trip financing, corporate travel apps, flight claim and compensation services, and destination-specific content, to name a few.
Although there are companies that offer some of the functionalities listed in the Untapped box, we are still not seeing single players dominating these categories and it would be interesting to see how they evolve.
Know of other leaders in the Jordanian market?
Think you could use one of those untapped services?
Join the discussion at #arzanVCchats !!
Welcome to the fam
Fresh off the press – we’d like to introduce you to Swvl, our latest investment. We participated in the series A round in Swvl and are proud to welcome its founders Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh to the ArzanVC family. Swvl is reinventing transportation in Egypt by connecting commuters with private buses and allowing them to reserve and pay for these buses through its mobile app.
What do we like about Swvl?
We’ve been in Egypt many times and we’ve seen how commuters (men and women) squeeze in vans and buses with discomfort, hoping to reach their destination safely. Commuters face this daily struggle and they deserve to upgrade their experience! We believe that Swvl’s amazing team and technology are fit to solve this problem through optimization of this chaotic experience.
Till next month, keep working…