Dubai Smart City Accelerator graduates new batch of innovators
The headline event of the year for DSCA, the Demo Day drew the participation of more than 150 venture capitalists, investors, and industry leaders to hear the pitch ideas and value propositions presented by the startups
The Dubai Smart City Accelerator (DSCA), the leading smart city program in the MENA region, hosted its third Demo Day at Dubai Chamber headquarters for the 11 startups that have made it into the program’s third cohort. The headline event of the year for DSCA, the Demo Day drew the participation of more than 150 venture capitalists, investors, and industry leaders to hear the pitch ideas and value propositions presented by the startups.
The 11 startups were carefully selected from a pool of 800+ international applicants and underwent a three-month extensive acceleration program. Their technology focus areas include AI, smart retail, data analytics, IoT, big data, tourism, and more. The startups are currently ready to take their businesses to the next level, and Demo Day aimed to connect them with the leading smart city players in the region.
Ibrahim Seksek, Managing Director of DSCA, said: “We are thrilled about our third Demo Day, as it supports the Smart Dubai 2021 strategy through bringing top smart city startups to Dubai and fast-tracking their growth. The 11 startups underwent an intensive acceleration process to help them scale their business in the UAE and internationally. In the upcoming period, we will continue assisting the startups in raising investments and securing more pilot projects with corporates.”
William Chappell, Chief Financial Officer at DSOA and EVP Technology & Entrepreneurship at Dtec, the largest tech hub and coworking space in the MENA region, wholly owned by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), said: “Our partnership with DSCA reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to empower entrepreneurs and provide them with all the necessary facilities to launch and grow their projects.”
He added: “The impressive batch in the accelerator’s third cohort presented innovative ideas built around the latest technological developments. We invite all startups and entrepreneurs to participate in our program and benefit from the opportunity to improve their leadership skills through the right mentorship, which is critical in taking new ideas from concept to completion.”
Dr Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, Director General of the Smart Dubai Office, said: “Smart Dubai is pleased to offer its support to innovators with bold ideas to harness emerging technologies. The efforts of these ambitious startups aligns perfectly with Smart Dubai’s mission to embrace promising technological breakthroughs and translate them into smart services for the emirate’s citizens, residents, and visitors.”
She added: “This, in turn, reflects our commitment to the vision of our wise leadership to attract entrepreneurs and empower them to implement their projects. DSCA provides us with an ideal platform to discover ideas that have the potential to drive Dubai’s efforts to establish itself as the world’s happiest and smartest city.”
Otto Williams, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Fintech, and Ventures for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Visa, said: “Visa is delighted to be a long-standing partner of DSCA. We are excited about mentoring the program’s third cohort and working alongside this next wave of global start-ups to support Dubai’s connected city ambitions.”
Sahem Azzam, Vice President for the Middle East and Africa at Orange Business Services, said: “Demo Day is one of the highlights of the DSCA program experience for the selected startups. It offers them a chance to demonstrate not only the value proposition of their technical innovations and the associated business models, but also, most importantly, the quality of the team. Investors invest in people first and foremost, and the 11 teams at Demo Day showcased their impressive talents very effectively.”
He added: “Orange Business Services is a global leader in smart cities, and has been privileged to collaborate with these startups as a co-innovator and pilot customer for proofs of concept (PoCs). Digital transformation is essential for the region and relies on talent. Our working relationship with the accelerator program has been a valuable experience for our own smart cities team at the regional center of excellence, based here in Dubai.”
Dr Youssef Al-Assaf, President of Rochester Institute of Technology – Dubai (RIT Dubai), said: “Our mission at RIT Dubai is to transform society through education, research, and innovation. Therefore, we are proud to collaborate with DSCA. This year, 11 startups were selected, including one created by our students, who pitched to investors and industry leaders. RIT Dubai has always supported ideation, innovation, and creative startups that help solve industrial challenges and create the right culture and mindset to build a better future.”
Anthony Shiner, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at du, said: “du has always supported local startups and our participation in Startupbootcamp is but a continuance of our policy to encourage innovative ideas. It’s exciting to see wide participation and quality startups bringing ideas to life. We appreciate the effort and dedication of the startup bootcamp team in managing this program and we are confident it will continue to be a launchpad of successful businesses”
Natalia Sycheva, Manager of Entrepreneurship at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dubai Chamber), said: “Dubai Chamber’s involvement in this program aligns with its comprehensive entrepreneurship strategy as well as its efforts to attract innovative startups to Dubai and position the emirate as a testbed for cutting-edge technologies that can support its transition to a global smart city.”
She added that the presence of several UAE startups among the selected candidates reflects the country’s strong entrepreneurial spirit.
The Dubai Smart City Accelerator is supported by DSOA, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, du, Smart Dubai, Visa, Orange Business Services, and RIT Dubai. The partners have played an integral role in accelerating the growth of the startups, providing them with mentorship, introductions, and market entry facilitation. The 11 startups have so far secured 11 PoCs with the partners and are in discussions for a further 33.
The third cohort included three startups from the UAE – Shorages, which assists e-commerce companies in unlocking new markets through providing storage and fulfillment services, Lightified, which helps interior designers and construction professionals make better lighting choices, and Monocle Reality, an augmented reality platform that allows its users to experience their surroundings through a camera lens.
Among the other participants was Near Motion LLC from Saudi Arabia, an interactive building system that interacts with visitors according to their locations, welcomes them on arrival, and guides them indoors step by step towards their destination through digital wayfinding. All the way from the USA, BasilLabs helps decision-makers crack the offline consumer experience (CX) puzzle. Two startups from Jordan also made it into the cohort. The first, Carers, is a marketplace that provides peace of mind for families by using the best matching algorithm to connect them with trustworthy and reliable in-home nursing, physiotherapy, and childcare services for their loved ones, subject to the highest vetting standard. The second, Controlcast, is a digital out-of-home marketplace platform that enables companies to instantly and affordably advertise on local digital screens directly through an easy-to-use app dashboard to increase their marketing reach and effectiveness.
From India, Dressire, an AI- and computer vision-based hyper-personalization platform helps brick-and-mortar retailers know their customers’ preferences so they can present the right product at the right time to the right person. Global Miles from Turkey is a blockchain platform that enables the distribution of miles across the world to be used and managed by a mobile application for frequent flyers and airlines. Meanwhile, Receet from Palestine empowers merchants to build customer loyalty, be sustainable, and enhance the customers’ shopping experience through digital receipts and new marketing channels. Finally, Revotonix from Lebanon specializes in developing mobile robots and mechatronics solutions for any application.