By MENA Herald
Dubai - MENA Herald:
The Private Banking arm of Emirates NBD, a leading bank in the region, recently introduced The LaunchPad, a homegrown concept that identifies the region's brightest start-up ideas and connects them with world-class angel and early-stage investors.
The LaunchPad is the first bank-facilitated deals platform of its kind in the region, offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their businesses and pitch for seed or growth capital to a panel of international investors and venture capitalists. Held under the theme of ‘Inspiring What’s Next,’ the initiative aims to introduce Emirates NBD Private Banking clients to alternative options of diversifying their investment portfolios.
Commenting on the initiative, Suvo Sarkar, Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD said, “‘Setting up of The LaunchPad platform highlights our commitment to nurturing budding entrepreneurs in the region by facilitating access to world-class investors, as well as showcasing exciting new avenues for investment to our clients.”
The inaugural edition of The LaunchPad saw a challenging race between 25 start-ups and early stage companies, with five businesses shortlisted to pitch their ideas to three international investors at an event in Dubai, attended by Emirates NBD Private Banking clients.
- Virginia Cha, a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship with multiple appointments across leading universities in Singapore as well as an active angel investor in early-stage start-ups. In her 37-year career, Cha founded, co-founded and ran several venture-funded hi-tech companies in Singapore and China.
- Bill Reichert, the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Garage Technology Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based seed and early stage venture capital firm. He brings with him 30+ years of experience as investor, entrepreneur and operating executive.
- Matt Penneycard, a venture capitalist for 16 years. Until recently he ran one of the UK’s most active seed-stage tech funds and he is now a co-Managing Partner of Ada Ventures, a pre-seed fund focused on tech ventures.
The five shortlisted business included:
- Seez, a mobile app aimed at using AI tech to fully automate car search and buying
- StreetLifeDXB, an on-demand travel assistant app
- Sippy, a prepaid subscription service to coffee drinkers from a network of independent coffee shops in the UAE.
- Wavenote, a vocal social networking app that lets you record, listen and share audio
- Jaib, a payment method that provides unbanked online shoppers with instant credit facility.