The most innovative companies of 2020 in the Middle East

Why the Modist,, Instabeat, and others made the list this year.

The most innovative companies of 2020 in the Middle East
Middle East

The region was a crucible of innovation in the tech-enabled wellness category this year. It also bolstered people’s closets.



For using smartphone cameras to diagnose chronic kidney disease and manage wounds

Three-year-old Tel Aviv-based medical technology company develops applications that enable people to use their smartphone cameras to diagnose chronic kidney disease and perform urine tests. The company also offers a chronic wound monitoring service that analyzes wounds and helps users coordinate with their care providers.

Read more about why is one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020. 


2. UBQ Materials

For transforming garbage into raw materials for manufacturing plastic

Tel Aviv-based UBQ Materials converts household waste originally destined for landfills into climate-positive thermoplastics. The company has contracts with McDonald’s and is currently working with auto-manufacturer Daimler to test plastics in vehicles. Last year, UBQ Materials entered the U.S. market—the company is now collecting municipal solid waste in Virginia to turn into bioplastics.

3. The Modist

For expanding its own collection of modest fashion and partnering with global boutique Farfetch to grow its reach


The Modist is a luxury e-commerce platform devoted to high-fashion modest clothing that covers up most of the body, such as floral silk dresses and fitted sequin jumpsuits. The site features items from more than 100 designers. Customers hail from 65 countries. Now, after partnering with Farfetch, the Dubai-based company has increased the offerings in its own in-house clothing collection, Layeur.

4. RecycloBekia

For recycling e-waste and safely destroying data in the Arab world

RecycloBekia is the first company in the Arab world to offer green recycling of electronic waste and provide services to destroy data safely. Conglomerates such as GE, Orange, Intel, and ExxonMobil sell their electronic waste to RecycloBekia. Whatever can be refurbished is sold to local Egyptian retailers who restore and sell the product to local customers. Whatever cannot is sold to a a separate recycling plant.


5. Instabeat

For launching its wearable technology on swimming goggles

This $249 smart device, developed in Lebanon, attaches to a swimmer’s goggles to provide real-time heart rate feedback, track strokes and laps, and offer detailed analytics to elevate performance and motivation in the water.

6. Souktel

For designing and delivering mobile services to link people with jobs and connect aid agencies with communities that need help


Palestinian company Souktel is a mobile platform that connects aid agencies such as the Red Cross and Unicef to communities in need, and helps pair job seekers in the region with employers and training opportunities. The technology is currently used in 15 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

7. Vezeeta

For linking patients in the UAE, Saudi, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya. with doctors on its medical search platform.

Vezeeta lets patients book appointments with doctors through a portal. The free medical search platform integrates information about doctor schedules and medical practices (details include the range of services and patient reviews) in the region. The company is based in Dubai and also offers other services including telehealth solutions and online ordering and delivery of medication.


8. Tenderd

For building the largest heavy equipment rental marketplace in the Middle East

Dubai-based Tenderd is a marketplace that helps companies rent and supply heavy construction machinery from contractors with idle equipment. Beforehand, companies looking to rent or supply heavy construction machinery from contractors had to rely on brokers that charged a fee for rentals, and there was little transparency in the construction industry over pricing.

9. Intuition Robotics

For developing a social companion bot for elder care


The company’s first product, the lamp-shaped ElliQ, interacts proactively with owners—unlike Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, which wait to be summoned for tasks—and uses natural language processing, light, sound, and shifting position to communicate. It is designed to improve over time as it gets to know the user. This year, the Tel Aviv-based company launched a platform called Q, to bring the technology behind ElliQ to third-party machines.

10. REE

For creating a flat, modular chassis for electric vehicles to reduce weight and boost efficiency

REE create a flat and modular electric vehicle platform that helps them become efficient, affordable and scalable. The REEboard allows for freedom of body design, space for extra batteries, minimum downtime and autonomous-ready architecture. The company is currently working with automotive manufacturers including Mitsubishi Cooperation, Mushashi, and NSK.