DP World's TURN8 Seed Accelerator initiative, a unique collaboration between enterprise and innovators that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, brought 10 winning startups and relevant industry investors under one roof at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Dubai this week.
The Demo Day is held at the end of each round of TURN8, now in its third round with more than double the number of entrepreneurs making it through to the final stage compared to previous editions. This signals a positive and upward trend for the programme's success in fulfilling its aim to inject entrepreneurial know-how into the region and accelerate commercialise-able ‘ideas to market.' Among the innovative start-up ideas presented before more than 100 investors, is s-Mart, an intuitive retail business software that transforms any public screen and digital display into a touch sensitive shopping terminal; LoadMe, an online market place for freight exchange tailored for the Middle East allows transporters to connect with load owners in real-time; and Fhab is a social network that lets users share real emotions through selfie videos. Fhab's algorithm uses emotion data to allow advertisers to target audiences based on emotion.
The event marks the culmination of the entrepreneurs' journey over the last four months in developing their business plans, with the aim of sourcing seed funding from prospective backers in the investment community.
DP World Chairman, HE Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, said, "This event underlines our commitment to support and encourage the development of a culture of innovation and enterprise with Dubai as the hub for such activities.
"DP World supports this initiative in the firm belief that this nation continues to be a place that nurtures and encourages fresh ideas as it was for our founding fathers. We are on a path to be a world leader in building a smart society where we use technology, innovation and enterprise to drive our ambitions and achieve our goals. As a company we also believe in adopting the latest technologies to boost efficiency and enhance our services with smart processes in order to increase our customers' competitiveness and lower supply chain costs.
"With the UAE as the host of Expo 2020 in Dubai we believe the marketplace offers many opportunities for inventions that support local economic drivers like trade and logistics, the retail industry, travel & leisure, entertainment, health and education. We wish all the entrepreneurs the very best." A key note speaker at the event, BP Ventures Managing Director, Issam Dairanieh, said, "Technology is at the heart of everything we do and our screening process for new ideas is very detailed and comprehensive. My advice to entrepreneurs is to be very clear on what the market needs and also on what they expect from investors. Investors such as big companies that might take an idea to the commercial market also need to be patient as projects can take longer and require more funding than first anticipated." The event was followed by the launch of round four of the programme, which will begin once again with an online and event-based international scouting campaign, followed by a 120-day funded ‘rapid fire' incubator programme aimed at turning early-stage ideas into investor grade prototypes.