Wamda, the region's leading ecosystem enabler, has announced the list of fellows and startups joining the second cohort of its grant-based fellowship programme, Wamda X.
The Wamda X programme is designed to support budding entrepreneurs and pre-seed stage startups by offering them access to the Wamda platform of mentors, industry experts, and company founders, in addition to a financial grant of $30,000. The first cohort of the programme ran in February 2019 and graduated two startups, SafarPass and Caravan, that went on to raise subsequent funding.
The current programme received 650 applications of which 43 per cent of applicants had a market-ready product.
"The diversity and maturity of applicants says a lot about the changing landscape of the startup ecosystem across the Middle East and North Africa region," said Sarah Abu Risheh, who is leading the programme at Wamda. "We are happy to see substantial representation from the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey.”
Prospective fellows going through to the in-person interview process are selected based on their industry experience and their approach to identifying and solving market inefficiencies. The interviews are conducted by Wamda team leaders alongside a select group of mentors who are active in the region’s startup community.
"The fellows selected for the cohort have proven track records and sophisticated expertise in their respective fields. They are developing solutions to address challenges within industries such as financial services, sports tech, Software as a Service (SaaS), and food tech among others, which is a reflection of the rising trends we are observing in the market today," said Abu Risheh.
The fellows joining the second cohort of Wamda X are the following:
Bid 365 – Theresa Wernery
Bid 365 is a B2B e-procurement reverse auction portal with integrated invoice financing.
Connect – She-Earl Francis
Connect is a recruitment platform focusing on blue-collar employees. It provides employers the ability to post jobs requiring specific skillsets and allows job seekers the ability to search for jobs relevant to their expertise.
Bassel Kabbabe, Mohamed Nassar
FunDok is an interactive digital cloud based platform working with short term rental operators to give their guests access to a wide array of added value services to enrich their stay and local experience.
Arran Summerhill, Michael Hunter
Holo is the first web-based digital mortgage advice and application platform in the UAE. The Holo platform selects an optimum mortgage product for a customer based on their personal requirements. The application can be done quickly and simply, 24/7 from any connected device.
iRecruiter is a global recruitment marketplace connecting employers to vetted experienced remote recruiters to save time and money on recruitment.
Nazih Saade, Edmond Yazbeck, Karim Wazzan
Looplay is a video streaming technology service for sports venues and facilities targeting amateur and youth sports players. Using the Looplay mobile app players, coaches and parents can watch their games and training, clip their highlights and share them on social media from any device, anywhere, anytime.
Lunchz – Marisha Rawling
Lunchz is a platform providing nutritious meals to primary school children during their school day.
Maia Network – Hamzeh Kolaghassi
Maia Network aims to become a leader in providing innovative financing solutions; including capital raising and secondary-market trading.
Houssem Aoudi, Ons Hamza
Njano is a cloud-based flexible office management solution that helps managers focus on developing their space through facilitating their tasks and centralising their information while helping users learn more about their space and easily communicate.
Simply New Cars provides new car buyers with everything they need to discover, compare, and unlock the best deals for every new car in the UAE.
Subsbase is a subscribers lifecycle management and billing platform for subscription-based businesses.
Whatscookn provides home-cooked meals to the masses through a network of chefs.
Yanzo is a conversational commerce platform, a one-stop-shop for all products and services on Whatsapp. Yanzo will get it done by offering options and execute them only through texting.
Additionally, the programme will also welcome Cameron Kerr, a seasoned professional who previously managed a profit and loss (P&L) of over $15 million revenue per annum and 100+ team members. Kerr will be exploring different opportunities across the digital space as he embarks on his entrepreneurial journey through the programme.