Ten technology startups from around the world building innovative companies showcased their products and stories on Wednesday, April 17th at “Demo Day” at the Four Seasons Hotel at Jumeirah Beach. In its second year of the program, a partnership between Techstars and GINCO Investments, the investment arm of GINCO Group, has been ongoing in the brand new AREA 2071, the international innovation ecosystem space launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, located in Emirates Towers.
Present at the event were the CEO of the Dubai Future Foundation, His Excellency Khalfan Juma Belhoul as well as virtually by Mr. Mohammed Gheyath, CEO of GINCO Investments, along with official representatives from the government and private sector.
Founders from each company took center stage at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dubai and pitched their business to hundreds of investors, mentors, and Dubai’s tech and startup community.
During the 13-week accelerator program, the 10 companies worked closely with more than 90 mentors from the Dubai’s ecosystem and beyond to further develop their business models, go-to market strategies and scale.
Over the course of the program, the companies met with more than 25 company founders and investors, took part in more than 20 workshops and conducted around 1,000 meetings.
It was announced during Demo Day that many of the startups landed pilot projects during their time in the accelerator, and others are in the works. As a result of the program, five of the companies are maintaining a presence in Dubai with a focus on Tech, Legal Tech, Food Tech, and IoT for Construction and Service Execution Management.
Vijay Tirathrai, Managing Director at Techstars states: “We are extremely proud to witness the acceleration of such a promising batch of companies that were selected this year. In 3 months, $13.8M USD has been raised or committed collectively by the companies. We’ve seen impressive partnership tie-ups with some of the leading companies across many industries, extensive customer acquisition and promising potential for continued growth among the companies.”
“With our partners at Techstars, we set out to prove that Dubai can attract and develop exceptional startup talent from all over the world. Over the past 13 weeks our founders raised capital, shipped product, and built incredible businesses that we look forward to supporting along their entrepreneurial journeys” said Mohammed Gheyath, CEO of GINCO Investments.
In addition to the lifelong support of Techstars and the Gheyath family, the companies have gained access to $2m in perks provided by partners such as Amazon Web Services, SendGrid, Dentons, and others. The companies have joined a family of over 1600 Techstars companies who have collectively reached over $17 Billion in market capitalization.
Notable advancements in the 10 companies that pitched were:
- Buglance is a UAE-based crowd testing company that connects software testers with software development companies all over the world. Pitched by CEO Toghrul Samadov, the company has over 30,000 testers that use over 4,000 unique devices. They have closed $500,000 USD Seed 1 stage funding and are extending the seed funding by another $500,000. They have doubled revenue every quarter for the last 5 quarters, and grown from $10,000 MRR to $20,000 MRR in the last 3 months.
- Clara is a UAE-based SaaS platform that digitises and automates startup legal expertise. Clara empowers founders to efficiently set up and manage their legal structure to ensure their startup’s venture-readiness while providing unmatched portfolio management and market intelligence to investors. Pitched by CEO Patrick Rogers, an experienced startup law firm founder and lawyer, Clara has investor commitments of $2.5M for their seed round that was raised in just 4 weeks. They have commitments to run pilots with 15 accelerators, VC firms and channel partners. Techstars has committed to pilot the Clara solution with the on-boarding of the London and Singapore program classes in Summer 2019.
- Element 16 is a US-based company that improves energy efficiency at industrial processing facilities with heat storage technology. Pitched by CEO Parker Wells, they signed a master work agreement with their first industrial processing company in the GCC and are designing their first 1,000+ ton heat storage unit, which can replace the carbon emissions footprint of 20,000 cars. To date they have received over $3M in grant funding.
- LuggAgent is a Hong Kong-based global concierge that offers the luxury of time and freedom. It started with the goal of eliminating the burden of luggage hassles so travellers can focus on achieving their travelling goals. Pitched by CEO Lance Lin, they currently operate in 80 cities across the world, having delivered over 50,000 bags in total, with 0 lost bags. They are in the process of adding airline check in and airport baggage claim system to their offering to provide a seamless travel experience.
- Nestrom, based in Jordan with a presence in UAE, is a cloud based platform that enables data capture and actioning from field operations. Whether data is captured through digitized mobile forms or IoT sensors, Nestrom captures the data, actions it then provides insights on performance. Pitched by CEO Yousef Wadi, a serial entrepreneur, the company was selected as one of the 2019 Top 100 Arab Startups Shaping the 4th Industrial Revolution at the World Economic Forum. Already working with such brands as Starbucks and H&M, they are in the process of finalizing 7 major deals with UAE and regional companies in hospitality, inspections, property management and inspection service providers.
- Ottogee, based in the US with a presence in the UAE, provides IoT wearables for Industrial applications in Construction, Oil & Gas, Security and Manufacturing. Ottogee advanced data analytics enable workers and stakeholders to have real-time insights that optimize safety and productivity and reduce cost to unprecedented levels. Pitched by CEO Omar Ghazzaoui, they have 4 initiated projects in the UAE and the US. They are collecting more than 250,000 data points per month. Ottogee have been approved by the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) to scale their cellular enabled technology across UAE. They have also established partnerships with telecom companies expanding in IoT services space in the region and US, as well as strengthening their relationship with UAE’s biggest and most innovative construction companies such as Arabtec, Khansahab, and AASA.
- Three Wheels United is an India-based tech enabled lender poised to become India’s leading financier for electric, income-generating assets, unlocking a global lending opportunity worth $225B. Currently, they are financing electric tuk-tuks in India and have reduced default rates to an industry leading 1%. Pitched by Head of Business Development, Rosemary Pierce – Messick, Three Wheels United have grown their operations from two to four cities in India. They have pivoted to a SaaS business model in order to serve other markets and have attracted capital to lend and created a debt structure of $7M USD committed debt. They have also secured commitments of $800,000 with $145,000 of this from Techstars and Google Impact Fund.
- Veeplay is a Germany-based company that empowers media companies and video content owners to take control over their video strategy by helping them stream, secure and monetize their inventory. Pitched by CEO Sebastian Vaduva, they have clients such as Germany’s leading media companies ProSieben and Sport1, Wetter.de and US-based Shopkick. They have experienced a 40% revenue lift in the past 24 months and more than 5 billion total delivered streams, equaling $150M in revenue for their clients.
- Vivoo is a Palo Alto, California-based wellness app that provides personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice to the users based on their weekly home urine tests. Pitching CEO Miray Tayfun has grown its user base 20x in just 3 months, partnered with the likes of Bayer Pharmaceuticals and UAE-based health insurance company, Bayzat. They have delivered over 2,000 strips to users, and in total over 6,000 urine analyses have been done.
- YACOB is a UAE-based SaaS POS platform that enables food tracking and online payments in closed food ecosystems. It measures and reports the nutritional intake of users with the objective of instilling healthy lifelong eating habits. The pitching CEO, Faisal Al Hammadi is an Emirati serial entrepreneur. YACOB will launch in Riyadh, KSA in Q4 2019 with a pilot program in 4 schools. The platform currently processes 10,000 meals a day across 45 schools in the UAE.