• The winner of the first edition of AIM Startup, Blitab from Austria was presented with a cash prize totalling USD 15,000
• The second and third prizes were awarded to Innovein Medical and Palmos, both coming from the USA, respectively.
Dubai, UAE - April 13th 2017: The first edition of AIM Startup, which was organised in conjunction with the seventh edition of the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), named three start-ups as the winners of the Startup Pitch Competition. Following a continuous series of pitches, the announcement closed out the competition on the final day of the international gathering.
The top three winners were awarded prizes by H.E. Juma Al Kait, Assistant Undersecretary, Foreign Trade Affairs at UAE Ministry of Economy and Dawood Al Shezawi, CEO, AIM’s Organising Committee.
The first place winner of the 15,000 USD Cash Prize was Blitab Technology of Vienna Austria. Blitab is the world’s first tactile tablet for blind and partially sighted people. “We're thrilled by the opportunity that AIM Startup gave us to present our project. This win is a milestone for us and will help us move to the next level to achieve our set goals,” said Kristina Tsvetanova, Co-founder and CEO of Blitab, Austria.
The second place winner of the 10,000 USD cash prize was Innovein Medical of California, USA. Innovein is medical device company, which addresses the unmet medical needs of patients with advanced vein disease and poor valves, with a minimally invasive valve replacement for veins. “Winning AIM Startup gives us validation that our idea is here to last. It feels amazing to win this prize and feels even better that we’re going to be receiving coaching from some of the best entrepreneurs in the world,” said Austin Walker, Co-Founder and CEO of Innovein Medical.
The third place winner of the 5,000 USD cash prize was Palmos, also from the USA. Palmos is a SaaS environmental monitoring company. They design low cost sensors and install them in high-density configurations to gather data maps of urban areas. This data is then pushed to the cloud where it is processed using machine learning classification algorithms to better monitor and predicts environmental vulnerabilities and risks in urban areas. Palmos’ first generation offering is tailored to help cities better monitor and predict landslides and flooding.
Start-ups were judged on a number of criteria such as the ability to scale, the existence of product market fit and the experience of team.
With a remarkably large number of high- potential startups participating from all parts of the world, representing various sectors and stages of growth, AIM Startup will be increasing the prizes offered to startups in future editions, by creating additional categories such as ‘Best in Sector’ and ‘Best in Region,’ to acknowledge and reward the great accomplishments of AIM Startup participants.
“The first edition of AIM Startup 2017 observed some incredible ideas from all the pitching start-ups. It gives us great pleasure to witness such a prolific line-up new-age entrepreneurs. We are proud to be able to provide a platform for early stage companies that have not only given them the right exposure, but also provided access to gain coaching and connect with the leaders in the investment sector,” said Al Shezawi.
“Taking this as an opportunity, I would like to congratulate all of the participating start-ups. The quality and diversity of teams and ideas were impressive. I am sure that if the first edition was this great, the future editions are only going to be better,” added Al Shezawi.
Among the high potential startups, which participated in the pitch competition are three local companies, Yalla Pickup, Scout My Car, and Bezeo. “We are here to change the behaviour of people when it comes to moving their belongings.” said Elie El Tom, Founder of Yalla Pickup, an app and web portal that allows anyone to book a pickup truck at the click of a button. “It is like a taxi for your belongings.” The portal is tailored for businesses as well as individuals. 'Yalla Pickup is a smart way to order trucks, optimising bookings by finding the nearest available truck, while contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions in our cities.” said Elie. Yalla Pickup was awarded ‘Transport App of the Year’ at the mobile app awards in 2016.
Scout My Car was another UAE startup showcasing under the transportation sector. “Scout My Car’s services allow individuals to buy a used car with peace of mind” said Omar Benseddik, Co-founder of the company. After advising which car to inspect, Scout My Car will perform a series of road tests, computer and underbody checks, also known as a 144-point check to evaluate any car’s price. “We offer convenience through pick-up and drop-off. Customers can get their cars checked from the comfort of their own home by booking online,' added Omar. 'Scout My Car has been launched to solve a problem specific that used car buyers in our region are confronted with: checking the condition of the car. Despite the fact that pre-owned cars are extremely popular in the region, there are very few measures to verify the condition of a car before purchase. Established in Dubai, Scout My Car has helped hundreds of people make an educated decision about purchasing a used car,' concluded Omar.
One of the most innovative solutions created by a UAE based company came from Bezeo, also known as Green Steps Energy. The company have developed an environmentally friendly carpet, which can harvest energy from different movements on the carpet. This harvested energy can then be used as a supplier to power different electrical devices. “If UAE organizations install such technology, it saves energy, reduces CO2 emissions and it becomes recognized as an environmental friendly organizations.” Said Eng. Razan Youssef Karouf, Co-founder and COO of Green Steps Energy.
AIM Startup 2017 was supported by sponsors and partners including In5, UTPS, Dubai SME, Takamul, Dtec, 1776, TURN8, WOMENA, Entrepreneur Middle East and Rotana Media, as well as The Cribb, Impact Hub, and University of Wollongong in Dubai. The winners of the pitch competition were announced on the final day of the show.
An initiative of the Ministry of Economy, AIM Startup proved to be an effective platform where the world’s most promising and disruptive start-ups were given an opportunity to expose innovative solutions to the global participants of the Annual Investment Meeting – a perfect place for entrepreneurs to meet business leaders, decision makers, government officials and investors directly.