This week we’re introducing a new monthly roundup that covers some of the most interesting stories of the month. Whether you’re interested in the latest startups-to-watch or new technologies hitting the market, we’ve got something for you.
Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below and if there’s a story you’d like to see covered in next month’s wrap up be sure to reach out on Twitter.
News: Wuzzuf Secures Egypt’s Largest Funding Round
Over the past years, the Middle East has seen increasing attention from western VCs looking to invest in new markets. For BasharSoft, the startup behind Egyptian recruiting site Wuzzuf, this investment has propelled the company into the local spotlight.
Last week Wuzzuf closed a Series A worth $1.7 million from Sweden-based Vostok New Ventures and UK-based Piton Capital. Wuzzuf, created in 2009 by Basharsoft, uses a proprietary algorithm that analyses applicant profiles and jobs to produce real-time recommendations for both employers and job seekers.
Despite the impressive funding round, Wuzzuf still faces stiff competition in the Egyptian recruitment market. Bayt.com is currently operating in the region and it is rumoured that Rocket Internet are looking to join the jobs classifieds business within the MENA region.
Startups to Watch: Swappaholics launches skillz.io
Swappaholics, an innovative startup that graduated from Dubai’s TURN8 Accelerator program, has launched a disruptive new platform that looks to shake up the way skilled individuals get things done.
Skillz.io is described as a ‘skills swapping portal’ and is modelled around a barter trade system that allows individuals to connect and swap skills in a social setting. A website designer might offer to design a website for a legal professional in exchange for legal services in the future.
It’s unclear whether this new style of service exchange will catch on, but if it does there’s no doubt it will have a big impact for freelancers across the region. Additionally, by turning individual’s skills and knowledge into a useable currency, Skillz has the potential to kick-start local economies where traditional money is in short supply.
Technology: Will smart-shirts be the next big thing in wearables?
Sensors are showing up in more and more of our daily items, evolving each day to improve their accuracy and most importantly their comfort. Building on the technology found in many smartphones and smart watches, Montreal-based Pierre-Alexandre Fournier has developed what may be the future of wearable sensors.
Fournier’s new ‘smart-shirt’ technology was developed by his company, Hexoskin and employs sensors that allow athletes, or anyone, to track their movement, burned calories, and more.
Fournier’s major innovation isn’t creating these wearable smart-shirts, but making them small, comfy, and affordable. Wearable sensors can be found in Nike and Adidas shoes, as well as several smart watches but the tech is bulky and expensive.
This type of wearable tech hasn’t found much use outside of professional sports and fitness enthusiasts, but as the cost drops and people get more comfortable with sensors in their lives it might only be a few years before we see products like iClothes and the Galaxy Shirt.
Event: Mix n’ Mentor – Beirut 2015 – Hosted by Wamda
Mix N’ Mentor Beirut, the largest gathering of established Lebanese startups, took place this weekend on September 5th. Mix N’ Mentor brings together promising entrepreneurs with top regional and global mentors.
The event connects you with VCs, serial entrepreneurs, and mentors all of whom are looking to remove barriers and support the region’s growing startup community.
Event: Techniya – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Are you part of startup looking for a place to pitch your ideas? Do you want to get feedback that can help you get the most out of your business? Are you located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia?
If your answers to the above questions are yes, then be sure to check out @Techniya, a monthly meeting where you can talk with likeminded individuals to see if your idea has what it takes. It‘s a private event that takes place on the first Thursday of each month, so if your interested check out techniya.com/register and apply for an official invitation.