The six-month long startup program, Taqadam, announced the first showcase winners, at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
Taqadam, which is based at KAUST and sponsored by Saudi British Bank (SABB), aims to develop early stage entrepreneurs with new concepts from universities across the KSA, into new, high-potential startups from universities across Saudi Arabia.
The first pitch competition included 13 Saudi university startup teams. The early-stage startups included entrepreneurs from King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), King Abdul-Aziz University (KAU), Umm al-Qura University (UQU), Effat University, Taibah University and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM).
The winner was Telaa, which offers an intellectual property-based anti-corrosion protective coating using an innovative application of recycled crumb rubber.
bioTags came second. It offers a platform of unnatural amino acids for protein modification. Zayer came third. It is an online tour-guide marketplace for private tours to historical and Islamic attractions in Holy Madinah.
The audience award went to Al Maha Systems from KAUST, which provides an ‘Internet of Things’ livestock health tracking system for farmers.
“13 startups were competitively chosen from the total of 26 in [this first] cohort to present for the first time to a public audience during this showcase,” said Amal Dokhan, from KAUST’s Entrepreneurship Center. “The winning teams represent three different Saudi universities as well as a range of different technology and business model solutions.”
Taqadam, the multi-university startup accelerator, accepted teams working in technologies and industries including healthcare, bioinformatics, new materials, IoT, and software.
Each year, the Taqadam program will choose up to 30 startup teams from universities across Saudi Arabia. These successful teams will receive up to $20,000 each in seed grant funding as part of the program.The accelerator offers a mentor-led development program that includes access to office space at the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center, support from members of the KAUST international mentor group, and training to help launch and scale their new ventures.
The most promising startups from the overall cohort of 26 teams areeligible for additional seed funding up to an aggregate total of $600,000 from the KAUST Innovation Fund that will be matched by an equal amount from SABB.
The next application process will open in late September for the 2017/18 cohort.
Feature image via KAUST: the winners with their cheque