Innovation and technology are central to Dubai’s development – and dynamic entrepreneur Joy Ajlouny knows this more than most. She saw a gap in the market and a challenge that exists across the Middle East. The result? A business that Forbes Middle East named number one start-up in the region and that’s raised $52 million in investment.
Fetchr is Ajlouny’s brainchild. Across the region, addresses aren’t always clearly defined, making deliveries tricky. Fetchr solves this issue by allowing people to use their mobile phone’s GPS location to give the pick-up and drop-off points for their packages.
Ajlouny has a keen eye for spotting opportunities and sees Dubai as the ideal environment for ideas, problem solving and entrepreneurship – particularly for women. She’s lived in the city for three years, having moved from the US following the success of her first e-commerce venture Bonfaire, which was acquired in 2013 by fashion e-commerce company Moda Operandi. Ajlouny believes that it’s perhaps even easier to be a female entrepreneur in Dubai than in Silicon Valley, with plenty of networking opportunities and the support of Ellevate, a professional women’s network.
Technology and innovation are at the forefront of Ajlouny’s business and it’s similarly dominant in Dubai’s wider business landscape. The government recently announced that flying drones will now carry individual passengers over the city, while 25% of buildings will be 3D-printed by 2030. On a (slightly) smaller scale, six-metre-high modern iterations of the date palm (a source of refuge in the desert since the days of the Bedouins) have been introduced that use solar power to provide free Wi-Fi hotspots and charging ports.
And then there’s the Dubai Future Accelerators programme (an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation), which invites top innovators to develop concepts in the city that focus on development, research, cutting-edge technologies and start-ups like Fetchr. Another project of the Dubai Future Foundation, the Museum of the Future – a large complex of labs and studios for the world’s leading scientists– is due to open in 2018. Watch this space…
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#MyDubaiFrom cutting-edge technology and entrepreneurship to world-leading arts and culture, food and design, Dubai is constantly innovating and changing. Discover more in our film series about the people at the heart of this city.