JORDAN-based Mind Rockets Inc., that develops assistive technologies for the deaf community, using avatars to translate speech and text to sign language interpretation, won the first prize at the MENA pitch competition of AIM Startup held at the World Trade Centre.
The three-day AIM Startup was visited by thousands of people. Some of the best start-ups from the Middle East, who qualified for participation at the final round, pitched their case in front of investors and venture capital funds in a series of pitch competitions.
Abdullah Al Saleh said, “The economic landscape of the Arab world is changing fast and the start-ups to a large extent are going to influence our future lifestyle and working environment. From smart homes to paperless digital payment processes to drones replacing home delivery vehicles to 3D printed buildings — we are going through an exciting phase in the digital transformation of services. These transformations will be led by the start-ups that will shape our lives.”
“We in the UAE are proud to be the top destination among the Arab world to attract and retain talent, in the form of Foreign Direct Investment. UAE constantly works towards developing national entrepreneurship and supporting SMEs for which it has developed legislations and incentives that support the entrepreneur’s projects and provide them with the best services.”
Juma Al Kait, assistant undersecretary of UAE Ministry of Economy, inaugurated the event. “AIM Startup is an ideal platform for promoting start-ups, which is a huge part of Annual Investment Meeting where more than 140 nations took part this year. Governments around the world are competing here at AIM to make field for the youth with innovation and creativity, and I’m sure they are wise enough to take the whole benefit out of it and take the challenge and opportunities,” said Al Kait.
He added, “We are proud that UAE is the country where we are attracting and capable of retaining the start-up talents. Government will always give their best effort to support start-ups and gain FDI to continue supporting them.”
He thanked the organizing team of AIM Startup and wished along with their partnership in Start-up ecosystem, their friendship also gets strengthen.
Kees Chic, a Saudi Arabian start-up and a profitable social enterprise that invents local handmade urban products out of plastic bag’s wastes via local marginalised artisans in MENA region aiming for socio-economic development. They won the second prize at the final pitch competition. A Saudi start-up that launched Tesh Tesh way back in 2014, won the third prize. In the first international pitch competition, ResultCare won the first prize while Yallabargain.com and Rowan won second and third prize respectively.
ResultCare is an artificial intelligence-driven clinical informatics, data analytics, and medical networking platform dedicated to taking the guesswork out of medicine. Created by UCSF physicians and scientists to empower healthcare providers everywhere, ResultCare has built one of the largest clinical databases in the world and uses machine learning and NLP to enable an evidence-based approach to finding the best and most cost-effective laboratory and diagnostic tests.
UAE-based portal Yallabargain.com is co-founded with 100 percent bootstrap funding of Dh150,000 from Murugesh Mohan and Sai Naveen to solve the problems faced when transacting used products. The portal charges 15 percent as a commission for every transaction and has tied up with many logistics companies in the UAE.
Dawood Al Shezawi, president of AIM Startup, said, “Start-ups are going to drive the economic growth in future and it is important to nurture them and guide them so that they could help the socio-economic growth. The second edition of the AIM Startup was a resounding success where we have seen some of the best regional start-ups as well as international players competed for their share of the limelight.”
“The UAE Ministry of Economy is strengthening its focus on the country’s start-up sector to help them play greater role in our economy.”
In the second international pitch competition, Halal Guide won the first prize while Shabab Lab and Empty Trips received the second and third prize, respectively. Halal Guide is an authentic digital directory guide that aims to strengthen and upgrade the online search for Islamic places, products and services and to provide a robust source of information about the Halal lifestyle.
Empty Trips is the digital, platform that uses machine learning and smart matching algorithms to create a marketplace where shippers, agents and transport carriers can connect, bid for cargo, find transport assets to move their cargo, and even store or insure it. We fill spaces to places, smartly. The Empty Trips platform powers a new way of collaborative thinking across enterprises for faster logistics, better economics and a significantly lighter carbon footprint. BDO sponsoring the Fintech Galaxy challenge, awarded the winner TicknPay a prize worth of $30,000.
The final award ceremony was attended by Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy Al Kait, assistant undersecretary of UAE Ministry of Economy, Dawood Al Shezawi, president of AIM Startup and Walid Farghal, director-general of AIM Startup. — SG