As a country with the most liberal business and social environment in the MENA region, United Arab Emirates has two dynamic and well-established cities/markets such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Both markets experienced a boom both in real estate and construction over the past decade. What Singapore created in Asia, they did in the Gulf. An official says “Dubai, today is one the world’s major cities. We accomplished it 30 years what other cities did in more than 100 years. We’re now passing to another chapter, creating a sustainable, smart city. Surely, proptech will play a key role on this journey.”
ME Proptech Initiative is founded to help build the ecosystem, foster innovation in the built environment, open new channels between startups and the incumbents, to exchange ideas. Like all other proptech hubs in the world, we initially come up with a map that shows the market’s potential at a glance. Today, we are happy to release the first version of the UAE Proptech Map.
- We only include companies established in the UAE.
- Careem was the first unicorn, acquired by Uber in Q1 2019 for $3.1 billion.
- Marketplaces not only enjoyed the real estate boom over these years but were also the pillar of proptech r(e)evolution in the region. Propertyfinder expanded to 6 countries, raised $120 million from US private equity firm General Atlantic back in 2018. Bayut’s parent company Emerging Markets Property Group raised $50M in the latest round of funding. Houza, as the first agent-backed property portal in the region launched in September last year. In a time like this where the market is price-conscious and companies are looking to maximize their utilization rates, Tenderd seems like a good positioning.
- As JLL listed UAE as semi-transparent market on its global Transparency Index, steps taken by the government, regulation agency and private companies have been worth mentioning. Protenders and Middle East Tenders are both subscription-based services providing construction industry intelligence. REIDIN as one of the oldest proptech company in the region providing detailed real estate data and analytics products.
- Similar to all other markets worldwide, logistics are the most active sub-category in real estate during the pandemic. Powered by technology, a number of startups are active with different business models whether it’s short-term storage, e-fulfillment or last-mile delivery.
- Urban is Dubai’s response to design first, carefully monitored/curated, rentals-only app. There are two digital agents have founded or kept growing to support the changing form of retail. Xplor is a digital twin software with a holistic approach covering all major stages of projects including marketing, sales, leasing and facility management operations. Nomad is an online agency aiming to streamline that long and painful journey both for buying and renting.
- Since every market has at least one local tenant app, UAE joined the club with an established Happy Tenant and Tenex.
- In addition to CRM software providers designed specifically for agents and brokers, there is a local company that automates listing descriptions, Overwrite.
- Another vertical that has been affected by the pandemic undoubtedly is the cloud kitchen. There are three players on this field, Kitopi and Foodtogome have operations out of the UAE as well. Originally as ride-hailing and food delivery apps respectively, Careem and Talabat launched their cloud supermarket operations too.
- We expect more startups in construction technologies, as well as See-Hear-Sense categories as Dubai, offers a natural sandbox for these companies. Yovza is a collaborative construction management solution that helps contractors digitize their operational workflows.
- Thanks to the mobile, sharing economy and micro-mobility revolution, mobility has been one of the hottest verticals globally across all markets. Automobile-based ride-hailing or ride-sharing companies have been active for quite some time some of which now offer ebike and escooters as well. Fenix, is a full-fledged innovative micro-mobility company. Arcab is a mobility service that is focused on daily commute towards work or university with private vans. This is a niche that we see big players in other emerging markets too.
- Cafu is a company that disrupts one of the hardcore and large alternative real asset classes, the gas stations by providing on-demand gas-petrol delivery 7/24.
Below is the distribution of the total 52 startups by category;
- Marketplace: 8
- Data and Analytics: 5
- Logistics: 8
- Transaction: 4
- Office: 4
- Finance: 4
- Tenant App: 2
- Cloud Kitchen: 4
- Mobility: 6
- Contech: 1
- Others: 2
- Agents & Brokers: 3
- Tenant Management: 1
- Sea-Hear-Sense: 1
- Cloud Markets: 2
If you’re a proptech start-up based in the UAE or know one that we missed, please contact us.