Saudi Arabia’s startup accelerator Taqadam has picked six winners after an intensive eight-month acceleration programme, awarding each with SR375,000 (USD $100,000).
Taqadam aims to provide Saudi university students, staff, faculty and recent graduates with the tools needed to launch a technology-based company through support in ideation, marketing, fundraising and product design. The teams who make it onto the programme receive up to SR75,000 (USD $20,000) in grants and access to co-working spaces.
The six finalists competed against 27 other startups to win the investment. They were judged on their market viability, scalability and profitability by a panel of judges from the academic and corporate world.
The winners of the 2018 Taqadam Showcase are:
An instant laundry spray that removes stains and smells on garments using patented biotechnology to degrade the molecules causing unpleasant odors.
Laser-based energy efficient lighting systems for indoor farming.
Edama Organic Solutions
Converting organic waste into soil conditioners adapted to desert climates for farmers and gardeners.
Creating smart glass transparent solar cells integrated into windows.
Converting utility meters into smart devices that track electricity consumption by household.
Enabling companies, researchers and governments to monitor seafloor activities.
Taqadam was launched in 2016 by King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in partnership with the Saudi Arabia British Bank (SABB). The programme has graduated 49 startups and awarded more than SR9,000,000 in grant-based seed funding. The second cohort included 80 entrepreneurs with 24 female founders. Applications for the third Taqadam cohort will open in Autumn 2018.