Meet Bahrain's Newest Startups Graduating from Tenmou

by Nina Curley, January 23, 2013

Bahrain’s accelerator Tenmou has announced its second round of graduates, three diverse startups aiming to sell to Bahraini markets and quickly scale regionally.

For those not familiar with the Manama-based accelerator, it’s Bahrain’s first. Unlike several other accelerators in the region, Tenmou sources funding from local investors in the community, earning it its descriptor as Bahrain’s first business angel network.

While its investments are made via its holding company, the involvement of local players ensures that broader Bahraini society has a direct stake in the outcomes of these startups. It typically invests between 20,000 and 30,000 Bahraini diners (US $50-75,000), for a 20-30% stake.

To scale its model, Tenmou is also working to build a regional angel network, bringing accelerators and angel networks from around the region together at a single event, its second MENA Angel Investor Forum. This, Tenmou CEO Hasan Haider said after the event, “had never been done before.”

This past February, the accelerator graduated four startups:

  • Reload IT Consulting, an IT secturity as a service company
  • Live Gaming, a PC gaming center
  • Pankooshi’s weight loss center, a local bootcamp
  • Reality Animation Studios, a 3D animation studio 

One year later, Haidar says that all are cash flow positive, and Reload has started operations in Saudi and Qatar. None need investment to sustain their daily operations, but three out of the four will be seeking investment this year from outside Bahrain to help them scale.

The current round, which has just graduated, were chosen from over 72 applications. After Tenmou chose 5 finalists, 2 dropped out during its three month bootcamp, but the Haidar is proud of the remaining three:

  • Arteleus is a Wi-Fi based algorithm that can track the location of smartphones indoors, to help users orient in complex spaces like large malls, universities, helping users find the way to shops or classes. It’s accurate to 25 centimeters, he says, and can also track the location of friends who have their visbility turned on; it also implements privacy protocols so that location data is stored anonymously. While organizations pay for the service, it’s free for users.
     
  • Doocan is a mobile catalogue app that lists local paper brochures from supermarkets and large retailers in Bahrain. For now, it will offer catalogue listing and price comparisons from supermarkets that pay to have their special offers and coupons listed; later one it might branch into online ordering.
     
  • Ringco is a tire re-treading facility that bonds a tread ring to old tires rather than glue a strip on. This, says Haidar, extends the life of the tire around 6 times what a re-tread will offer, at half the price of a new tire. It’s the first of its kind in Bahrain, it hopes to sell to the industrial transportation sector, especially trucks that import and export from Saudi Arabia. The founder “lives and breathes tires,” says Haider. “We like to support people this passionate.” 

It’s worth noting that none of these startups have websites yet, an unusual fact in a region where most accelerators are tech-focused and online presence is a central focus. For Doocan, a web site might help direct traffic to the mobile app, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Next up for Tenmou is supporting a communal space where its future startups can work. For now, they often rent office space for low rates from the Bahrain Development Bank’s local incubator, but a co-working space is in the pipeline. 

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Nina [nine-uh] is the Editor-in-Chief at Wamda. You can reach her through Wamda, on Twitter @9aa, on Facebook, Google+ or at nina [AT] wamda.com. 

 
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