KAUST and partner Saudi British Bank (SABB) today previewed 23 startups—eight from Saudi Arabia and 15 international—and 58 founders during its annual TAQADAM Startup Accelerator Showcase. Startups were selected from the TAQADAM 2021 cohort, which included 37 startups and 100 founders.
“Saudi Arabia is witnessing unprecedented entrepreneurial activities and transactions —and this year’s TAQADAM showcase was an incredible opportunity to get a preview of what comes next,” says Hattan Ahmed, Director of KAUST Entrepreneurship Center. “ This TAQADAM cohort resembles a sample of the unique breed of startups in the ecosystem tackling white spaces with great creativity and passion— these founders are the driver for change and impact in the region and globe.”
This year’s founders each presented a three-minute pitch to an in-person and virtual audience of investors, press, and business leaders. TAQADAM’s most diverse cohort to date, showcase presenters included top startups from the Middle East and beyond, including game-changing innovations spanning fintech, health tech, sustainability and more.
Following founder presentations, our global judging panel including investors from Sukna Ventures, Falak Investment Hub, and HALA Ventures, selected 10 startups to receive $100,000 in funding each. Chosen startups are:
- Lablabee – an interactive Telco Cloud skills platform, that makes learning more accessible and attractive for students and professionals.
- Nqoodlet – a spending platform that provides instant issuance to multiple payment corporate cards for team members.
- Widebot – a platform that offers the most powerful AI engine for Arabic dialects.
- Osool – a digital partner that provides property owners with tools to manage their maintenance projects in one cloud platform.
- Cubex – an online marketplace for sea freight, using blockchain to connect buyers and sellers in an auction model.
- Omniful – a plug-and-play back-office solution that integrates with the software of the client and utilizes the existing resources to help retailers and dark-stores ship orders in 2 to 7 minutes.
- Mismar – a platform that connects car owners with service providers to manage their maintenance, repairs, and spare parts needs.
- Thya Tech – delivers AI-based computer vision as a service.
- Shopi – a retail platform that provides next-generation e-commerce solutions, connecting all inventory channels in a single place.
- Swftbox – a marketplace offering faster deliveries for e-commerce retailers by aggregating and crowdsourcing last-mile logistics.
In addition, Autlient was selected as the People’s Choice Recipient and also received $100,000 in funding. Autlient uses computer vision (AI) to detect high-risk situations inside and outsize vehicles.
“We’re proud to continue our commitment to driving the future of Saudi—and global—entrepreneurship forward, and TAQADAM is one of the leading initiatives in this sector. ” says Majed Najm, Deputy Managing Director of Corporate and Institutional Banking at SABB. “This year’s cohort was truly exceptional, and we look forward to seeing how these startups create new opportunities in the market and add value to the Saudi economy.”
This showcase comes on the heels of the six-month TAQADAM Startup Accelerator, powered by KAUST and SABB. Now in its sixth year, the accelerator aims to develop early-stage entrepreneurs and their concepts into new, high-potential startups from universities across Saudi Arabia and beyond.
This year’s showcase theme, “Tomorrow, Harmonized,” speaks to the chaos in the global entrepreneurship landscape and founders’ unmatched ability to turn that noise into meaningful purposeful, high-potential innovation that can change the world.
Today’s showcase event also signals the start of the application window for TAQADAM’s 2022 cohort. This year, again, the accelerator team will accept 60 startups into its initial accelerator program, with selected participants being eligible to pitch at the TAQADAM showcase in 2023. Accelerator participants will receive up to $140,000 in funding, mentorships from industry leaders and an opportunity to join a thriving community of MENA region startups.
Founders can apply beginning today at taqadam.kaust.edu.sa.