Electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace in many parts of the world, but traditional, petrol-powered cars still dominate and will likely do so for many years to come. With governmental pressures to reduce carbon emissions, there has sprouted in recent years startups looking to increase the efficiency of cars and make mobility more sustainable.
In Jordan, entrepreneur and mechanical engineer Mohamed Abazid spent the few years following his graduation conducting the necessary research and development (R&D) effort to develop a technology that can increase the efficiency of internal combustion engines in passenger and specialty vehicles.
Working in engineering industries such as computerised integrated manufacturing and computer-aided engineering in his home country ultimately led him to develop and design a technology that, as he claims, can boost the engine efficiency by 30-50 per cent.
“During my undergraduate studies, I discovered that cars plying on our streets are literally running on fumes. The fact that passenger cars only operate at 30 per cent efficiency was shocking to me. That means if a car user, for example, pays $100 per full tank of fuel, $70 of which is up in flames. That’s in addition to tonnes of negative environmental effects resulting from the inefficiency of the energy conversion inside the engines as well as the combustion process itself," Abazid says.
In early 2013, Abazid filed his first patent for his technology. Three years later, he established JAZARI, so named after the 12th Century Muslim scholar who developed mechanical robots controlled by hydraulic and gear systems, to commercialise his technology, focusing on developing key enabling technologies (KET). Now that the company has five patents, JAZARI's revenue model is based on granting intellectual property (IP) rights to its clients, with a goal to double that number by the end of next year.
“We are now not making revenues, but are in the process of finalising commercial agreements with potential clients, which are mostly original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Our end product is building an IP portfolio. We aspire to become an innovation house to incubate KETs to grant our potential customers the license to manufacture technology and transfer the technical know-how,” he explains.
Shortly after JAZARI was founded, the company relocated its headquarter to Turkey, where "the team can conduct better realisation of its product and make it market-ready".
For Abazaid, Turkey serves as an optimal launchpad to kickstart the company's operations without burning through hefty amounts of cash .
"We had our first functional prototypes in Jordan, but there are no OEMs in Jordan so we had to scale up abroad. We already had raised around $1.25 million in funding from friends and family along with some angel investors, but taking into consideration that we are developing a deeptech, this amount of money was insufficient, so we decided to have Turkey as our base, at least for the time being," he adds. "Plus, the infrastructure in Turkey is better suited for our business needs. We, of course, have considered Europe and the US for expansion where the infrastructure is better but the cost we could have incurred will be twenty times higher."
The company has so far raised around $500,000 grants from multiple entities in Turkey, including governmental organisations such as Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Tubitak), and recently raised a further $750,000 in funding from Turkish VC fund Maqasid and a couple of undisclosed angel investors based in Jordan.
On the back of the funding, the company is looking to grow its team and expand its research, development and innovation (RD&I) capabilities in Istanbul.
With the mass market being highly regulated, JAZARI tends to chiefly target niche markets across the internal combustion engines (ICEs) sector.
Beyond Turkey, the GCC region is another key geography focus for JAZARI, with Qatar being its point of entry.
"In 2013 we participated in the local TV show called 'Stars of Science' that focuses on supporting science and technology startups. That has helped us nurture a network of connections and build an awareness about our product. We had serious talks with Qatar Science and Technology Park and there are an increasing number of stakeholders showing interest in facilitating our expansion to the country to operate within the gas carriers space," says Abazid.
"In the wider GCC, there's motorsport sectors, including rally and drift cars, a sector that is valued at $5 billion," he concludes.