Complex Made Simple

Locally accelerated startups sweep pitch for investment competition

Three locally accelerated startups were chosen as the winners of the “Pitch for Investment” competition as part of the SME Middle East Congress & Expo held 16-18 December in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Ten hopefuls were shortlisted from 200 submissions. The selected teams submitted detailed proposals and also delivered live presentations in front of a panel of judges on the first two days of the three-day expo.

Winning the competition, and the grand prize of $5000 in training from IIR Middle East plus two Business Class tickets to any Etihad Airways destination worldwide, was, an e-commerce site that aims to be the region’s largest online supplier of school and office supplies, while offering convenience, availability and value.

Second place, and two Business Class tickets from Etihad Airways, went to Asly, an SMS text service that enables consumers to determine that the products they purchase – such as medicine, electronics or automotive parts – are genuine.

Tech Backpack received third place, and two Economy Class tickets from Etihad Airways. This is a digital platform that enables journalists to “Listen, Manage and Distribute” multiple news threads from various social media outlets in a single screen.

Both and Tech Backpack are participants in i360accelerator, a Dubai-based seed funding program that offers a 120-day program during which startups are taught the basics of entrepreneurship while working on and refining a specific idea with a foundational team.

Asly is a participant of a similar program offered by TURN8 seed accelerator, which was founded last year by DP World to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Dubai and beyond. Both TURN8 and i360accelerator are managed by Innovation 360, a leading innovation management consultancy in the UAE.

Said Kamal Hassan, Founder and CEO of Innovation 360, “TURN8 and i360accelerator are designed to take an innovative concept and turn it into an investment-ready business. The success of these teams in the competition demonstrates how important it is to help new entrepreneurs hone their ideas and prepare for the business world to give them the best possible opportunity to succeed.”

All three of the winning startups, along with seven other accelerated teams, will participate in a Demo Day hosted by TURN8 in January. The event is targeted at investors, angels and partners.


Debra Jennings
Director of Storytelling
Tel: +971 4 319 7645