It started with nearly 561 startups, each vying for a spot in the 2020 TAQADAM Startup Accelerator. Now, one year — and a global pandemic — later, the final 37 startups hit the (virtual) stage as part of the fourth TAQADAM Startup Accelerator Showcase.
The annual culmination of TAQADAM’s accelerator, the March 10 showcase featured pitches from graduating startups from this year’s cohort. Each had three minutes to present their business concept to a panel of global judges, which included prominent investors, VCs, and successful entrepreneurs. Viewers were also able to cast votes for a People’s Choice winner.
The judges selected 10 winners to receive 375,000 SAR in zero-equity follow-on funding to help drive their big ideas forward. One additional startup, Tmyyoz, was named the People’s Choice Award Winner and also received 375,000 SAR in funding.
“This was an incredible year for innovation,” said Dr Kevin Cullen, vice president of Innovation and Economic Development at KAUST. “These 76 founders faced incredible odds, building their startups during a global pandemic when things were changing by the minute. But they persevered and kept finding ways to move their ideas forward. Today’s TAQADAM Showcase brings their remarkable achievements to light, and gives the world a glimpse at the caliber of work emerging in the Saudi startup scene.”
Now, onto the winners…
· AlGooru: Mobile education platform that matches students with qualified tutors.
· Jaleesa: App connecting parents with certified babysitters.
· Logexa: On-demand warehousing service for small businesses.
· Polymeron: Biodegradable and sustainable materials manufacturer.
· Raed: Educational storytelling app for primary school children.
· Themar: Peer-to-peer, Shariah-compliant online financing marketplace.
· Udawi: Free online service connecting patients with health care providers.
· Uvera: Compact, portable device to extend vegetable and produce shelf life.
· Wethaq: Financial technology platform for securities management.
· White Helmet: Remote construction project management platform.
· People’s Choice Award Winner: Tmyyoz, an online education platform for standardized test preparation
The showcase also signals the call for entries for the 2021 TAQADAM Startup Accelerator. Interested founders and entrepreneurs can apply to join the next cohort at https://taqadam.kaust.edu.sa/. Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2021, and the accelerator will begin in August. Approximately 50 startups will be accepted for the virtual program.
Launching in 2016, KAUST has delivered the TAQADAM Accelerator and graduated 126 startup founders. Through support from long-time sponsor, SABB, the program helps emerging entrepreneurs push the boundaries of what’s possible.
To find out more about TAQADAM Startup Accelerator, visit https://taqadam.kaust.edu.sa/.