Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi held its very first Demo Day event yesterday, graduating seven new startup companies from its accelerator program, which is supported by twofour54.
In an inaugural event for Abu Dhabi as well as the startup ecosystem, these seven digital companies pitched their concepts, traction, and vision to potential investors and business leaders in attendance.
Taking place at the Park Rotana Hotel, the Spring 2015 Demo Day debuted a diverse group of entrepreneurs hailing from the UAE, Italy, India, Russia, and Egypt, with businesses spanning digital sectors from art e-commerce to educational applications for children, and from hardware technologies for action sports to gaming, real estate portals, developer tools, and laundry services.
In preparation for Demo Day, and as part of the unique offering at Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, each team was offered the funding, mentorship, and community support that its team needs to set up in Abu Dhabi, acquire customers, and scale.
This included seed funding ranging from thirty to fifty thousand US dollars, subsidised incorporation and residency visa acquisition in the Media Zone Authority Abu Dhabi, a competitive business curriculum, access to seasoned local and international mentors, over 300 thousand US dollars in perks and services, free office space for six months, legal support, and opportunities to connect with the community. Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi has helped startups debut their products, test their target market fit, improve their business models, and prepare to pitch to investors. Following Demo Day, the Abu Dhabi team will continue to receive support when scaling to regional and global markets.
Highlighting the consecutive success of the Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi Cycles, Ramez Mohamed, the CEO of Flat6Labs, stated that “the level of diversity and specialization present among this cycle’s startups speaks great volumes for the future of the MENA region, and the power of innovation in both sculpting an economic future and inspiring young minds to follow their example.” He also added that Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi is “very pleased to actively take a part in both building the regional entrepreneurial scene, with the collaboration of our partners in the UAE and across the MENA region.”
Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54, commented: “twofour54 is proud to support this forward-thinking initiative that truly nurtures and equips young Arab talent to turn their business ideas a reality. Launching seven startups in its first cycle is testament to the quality of Flat6Labs’s comprehensive programme and the high level of enthusiasm for entrepreneurship in the local market, which stems from innovation and leads to job creation. We wish the seven startups from today’s demo all the best and look forward to what the next wave of innovation will bring.”
Reflecting on the excitement of launching the very first cycle of companies to graduate in Abu Dhabi, Nina Curley, the Managing Director of Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi, said, “We are proud to take this historic step, and to demonstrate our commitment to developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Abu Dhabi over the long term. We could not have done this without the holistic support of our community, many of which are friends and startup enthusiasts from all sectors– technology, telecom, media, government, education, and finance– and we look forward to continuing to serve the community and to supporting innovation in the UAE.”
The seven startups presented on Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi Demo Day include:
●Flip Technologies: A hardware company from India that develops activity trackers to monitor tricks and fitness in skateboarding and other action sports.
●GitHelp: An innovative platform from Egypt that connects software developers to experts to fix problems and ease product development. Its collaborative platform offers multiple communication channels to ease the process of reporting and software development.
●Kikabo: A creative boutique from Italy that produces content and applications designed to educate children about culture and art.
●Pavillion 33: An online platform and curated marketplace for fine art from the Middle East and Africa.
●Sakkini: The first relocation platform for the MENA region, designed to ease the moving process by providing access to neighborhood data, real estate projects, and properties.
●Unnyhog: A mobile game development and entertainment company from Russia that is releasing their fourth title, UnnyWorld, the first cross-platform fast-paced online game in the world.
●Washmen: An on-demand mobile-based marketplace for laundry and dry cleaning services in the UAE that facilitates faster, more accurate, and less expensive delivery.
The Demo Day was attended by business executives, technology innovators, Flat6Labs mentors, corporate CEOs, the press, and an array of local investors, who witnessed the progress of the cycle’s startups and evaluated their investment offerings for the next round of development.
Established in May 2014, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi plans to help launch more than 80 startup companies over the next four years. In the past, Flat6Labs has led directly to the creation of 57 companies across Egypt and Saudi Arabia, supporting more than 160 entrepreneurs. The companies formed through its program have actively led to the creation of more than 400 jobs in both countries. Over 50 per cent of Flat6Labs’ graduating companies have managed to attract follow-on funding, from over 40 different investors from across the globe.
Flat6Labs has a mission of creating more entrepreneurial hubs in the promising and vibrant ecosystems in the MENA region, and has fulfilled this mission by launching programs in Cairo, Jeddah, and Abu Dhabi, with another launching soon in Beirut, Future regional expansions are planned across North Africa, the Levant, and Turkey.
Supported by twofour54, the renowned UAE media and entertainment hub, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi is accepting startups with a focus on media and digital content, in diverse digital sectors including media and film production, e-commerce, social media, online education, gaming, mobile apps, and big data and analytics. Through this cooperation, Flat6Labs Abu Dhabi and twofour54 aim to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs in the UAE.