Forbes Middle East presents the 2023 class of 30 Under 30

Dubai: Forbes Middle East has unveiled its highly anticipated sixth annual 30 Under 30 list, showcasing the region’s most exceptional young talent making waves across diverse industries. This year’s list spotlights 120 entries spanning four main categories: Commerce and Finance, Entertainment, Science and Technology, and Social Impact. Each category has 30 entries.To be eligible for the 30 Under 30 list, applicants had to have been under 30 years old on December 31, 2022, meaning that anybody born in 1993 or later was eligible to be on the list. Candidates could have any nationality but had to have their primary impact in MENA.To find the region's most promising young talent, Forbes Middle East assessed more than 600 applications over several rounds of assessments. A shortlist of 240 candidates were then evaluated by independent external judges, all experts in their respective fields. Factors like candidates' impact on their industry, market, society, and future potential were considered. Quantifiable data such as funds raised, awards won, revenues, the value of deals, number of people impacted, number of customers, and number of social media followers were also taken into account.The Class of 2023 celebrates the achievements of 145 individuals representing 22 nationalities, with Egyptians leading the way with 44 individuals, followed by 15 Saudis, 14 Lebanese, 13 Emiratis, and 10 Jordanians. All honorees are based in the Middle East or have their primary business or conduct their core activities in the region. They are dispersed across 20 countries, showcasing the diversity and impact of the region’s emerging leaders. The U.A.E. is home to the most listees with 43 based in the emirates, 36 in Egypt, 14 in Saudi Arabia, nine in Lebanon, and six in Jordan.While each category has 30 entries, Commerce and Finance dominates with the highest number of individuals with 44, followed by Science and Technology and Social Impact with 34 each, and 33 in Entertainment. Among the impressive roster of honorees is Egyptian table tennis champion Hana Goda, the youngest listee at just 15, and 18-year-old Iraqi weightlifter Ali Ammar Rubaiawi. The average age of everyone on the list is 26.6 years old. The list also features Egyptian rapper Wegz and sports stars Mayar Sharif, Hana Gouda, Basant Hamida and Sarah Samir.Of the 145 individuals, 107 are entrepreneurs, making up 74% of the list. If one business had two cofounders or more under the age of 30, they were counted as one entry. Notably, Abdallah Abu Sheikh, leads U.A.E.-based Astra Tech, the highest-funded company on the list. The 28-year-old secured $500 million from G42 in 2022.Forbes Middle East is now finalizing an electrifying agenda for its flagship Under 30 Summit in El Gouna, Egypt in January 2024, which will gather together the Middle East’s esteemed Under 30 community, investors, and business leaders.

Cultos Global launches Web3 rewards platform

Dubai: Cultos Global Inc (Est. with HQ in Dubai) has been established to scale up the global operations for its web3 rewards platform, where customers can launch branded tokens to incentivize their customers, fans or followers to drive various actions. Cultos provides custodial wallets, NFT minting and liquidity off-ramps for branded tokens through API or e-commerce integrations.Cultos cuts across segments and works with partners and businesses in Retail, Automotive, and Hospitality segments to support business growth objectives from customer acquisition, engagement and retention, thus enabling the full end to end customer journey. Mr Pavan Govindan - currently an Advisor at Cultos US Inc will take over as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cultos Global Inc. Pavan brings 15+ years of experience and has been a Product Leader in his previous roles working in Bosch, Suzuki Digital and running different successful entrepreneurial ventures. Joining him in the leadership of Cultos Global Inc. is Mr Adib Samara who will assume the role of Chief Business & Marketing Officer (CBO and CMO). Adib has supported the growth of several notable UAE startups such as Swapp, SugarMoo Desserts and Laundrybox. Prior to that, he was the CMO at Sweetheart Kitchen, a subsidiary of Delivery Hero, and the Director of Business Development & Head of Partnerships at Careem, a UAE-based Startup that sold to Uber for 3.1 Billion USD. He has been a mentor at Techstars and is currently a consultant for Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI), a fund under Abu Dhabi’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, ADQ. Completing the leadership team and the Board will be Mr Andrew Yang, the Founder & CEO  of Cultos Inc US, recognized for being one of Forbes 30 under 30

19 newcomers join Forbes Middle East's Top 50 most-funded startups 2022

 Forbes Middle East has released its annual list of MENA's Top 50 Most-Funded Startups, celebrating the mission-driven young businesses attracting investor attention. Combined, the 50 startups on the 2022 list have raised $3.2 billion in funding, up from $3 billion in 2021.The startups had to have been founded no earlier than 2015 and have raised a minimum of $20 million in total funding to be considered for the list. Startups that were acquired, merged, went public on stock markets, or didn't provide sufficient data on funding and investors, were excluded. Cut off for funding was November 10, 2022.Agri-tech business Pure Harvest Smart Farms climbed from second place in 2021 to secure the top spot this year, having raised $387 million in total funding. In June 2022, the U.A.E.-based startup formed an alliance with Al Dahra Group, increasing the total operating capacity under its management to over 22 hectares. Buy-now-pay-later Fintechs Tabby and Tamara retained their top five positions at second ($275 million) and third place ($216 million), respectively.Fintech companies dominated the funding landscape in 2022, with 21 listees attracting $1.3 billion in total funding. E-commerce (10) and delivery and mobility (four) made up the remaining top three most-populated sectors, raising $576.7 million and $299.6 million, respectively.The startups on the 2022 list represent nine MENA countries. For the third consecutive year, the U.A.E. reigned as the country with the most active startup ecosystem, with 18 startups raising $964 million in total funding. Saudi Arabia is home to 12 startups raising $946.7 million, while 11 startups are headquartered in Egypt, raising $508.5 million.The ranking features 112 cofounders. Only 10 startups are led by solo founders. Noureddine Tayebi is one member of this minority. His ride-hailing, delivery, and payment platform Yassir ranked fifth after becoming the most-funded startup in North Africa with $193.25 million in total funding.Of the 50 startups, 19 are newcomers to the ranking. One newcomer penetrated the top 10—regulated crypto-asset exchange Rain Management. The Bahrain-headquartered startup ranked sixth after raking in $118 million. Beyond securing millions in capital, many new entrants also cemented valuable partnerships, future-proofing their offerings in the market. For example, Egyptian digital payment solutions platform PaySky partnered with Visa to launch the Yalla Card and Yalla Super App in the Middle East. Meanwhile, proptech Huspy acquired three brokerages on its home turf of the U.A.E.: Home Matters, Just Mortgages, and Finance Lab.Click here to view the full ranking of the Top 50 Most-Funded Startups In MENA 2022.Top 5 Most-Funded Startups In MENA 20221 Pure Harvest Smart FarmsTotal funding: $387 millionHeadquarters: UAE.Established in: 20172 TabbyTotal funding: $275 millionHeadquarters: Saudi Arabia, U.A.E.Established in: 20193 TamaraTotal funding: $216 millionHeadquarters: Saudi ArabiaEstablished in: 20204 TruKKerTotal funding: $203 millionHeadquarters: Saudi ArabiaEstablished in: 20165 YassirTotal funding: $193.25 millionHeadquarters: Algeria, Tunisia, MoroccoEstablished in: 2017