THUWAL: Business development funding to the tune of $1.1 million has been dished out to 11 innovative startups as part of a Saudi-led enterprise program.
The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and its partner Saudi British Bank on Tuesday previewed 23 startups — eight from Saudi Arabia and 15 from the rest of the world — and 58 founders during its annual TAQADAM Startup Accelerator Showcase.
Each of the selected companies — chosen from the TAQADAM 2021 cohort of 37 startups and 100 founders — will receive $100,000 toward further developing their business ventures.
Speaking at the event, Hattan Ahmed, director of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center, said: “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.
“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.”
Following founder presentations, the global judging panel, including investors from Sukna Ventures, Falak Investment Hub, and HALA Ventures, selected 10 startups to each receive $100,000.
Recipient, LabLabee, is an interactive telco cloud skills platform that makes learning more accessible and attractive for students and professionals.
Another company picked for funding was Nqoodlet, a spending platform that provides instant issuance to multiple payment corporate cards for team members, while WideBot was backed for its platform offering a powerful artificial intelligence engine for Arabic dialects.
Funds were also awarded to Osool, a digital partner that provides property owners with tools to manage maintenance projects in one cloud platform, Cubex, an online marketplace for sea freight that uses blockchain to connect buyers and sellers in an auction model, as well as Omniful, a plug-and-play back-office solution that integrates with client software and utilizes existing resources to help retailers and dark-stores ship orders in two to seven minutes.
Meanwhile, grants went to Mismar, a platform that connects car owners with service providers to manage maintenance, repairs, and spare parts, Thya Tech, that delivers an AI-based computer vision service, Shopi, a retail platform providing next-generation e-commerce solutions and that connects all inventory channels in one place, and 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 of $100,000. The company uses computer vision to detect high-risk situations inside and outside vehicles.
Majed Najm, deputy managing director of corporate and institutional banking at SABB, said: “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.”