“We’re witnessing a change of mindset, in the banks, the investors, the supporters. You can see the effect, and this has all led to a better quality of startups,” said Speed@BDD chairman Maroun Chammas as he opened the accelerator's second demo day on Monday.
Beneath the white gaze of a newly refurbished Sursock Museum in Beirut, seven startups graduated from the three month program and three of those will be heading off to Silicon Valley in August.
It's been seven months since the last demo day and the jolly atmosphere of the Sursock Museum auditorium saw attendees crouching on steps next to the filled seats.
Speed CEO Sami Abou Saab said in the year since the accelerator's launch they had created 40 jobs.
“We are aware that those might be temporary but the hope is that they are not and the numbers will grow,” he said.
Plus, three out of the seven startups in the batch were cofounded and led by women - an improvement on the last batch.
The three heading to the US are fintech startup Jellyfish, customer analytics solution Vision in Motion, and tutoring platform Synkers.
One of the lucky startups, Vision in Motion, has 17-year-old cofounder Samy El Khoury using heat maps with retail stores security cameras. This enables customer tracking.
“It’s more accurate than tracking people’s smartphones,” El Khoury told Wamda. “Precise and cheaper.”
And we all love cheaper. According to the teenager they have an edge on regional competition by not using third party software.
Like the startups from the previous batch who spent time in the US, NAR and Rational Pixels, they will be attending the LebNet Ignite Powered by Blackbox Connect program, who work to connect startups from around the world with US investors.
Interior Adviser: a platform that lets users browse the latest furniture trends, plan their interiors with the help of a designer and purchase items through the site. They had 1,000 users in the first month of launch and more than 10 partnerships with local interiors galleries.
Jellyfish: a fintech startup built primarily to allow SMEs or NGOs streamline and view in real-time company budgets of multiple departments. It can also be integrated with any existing accounting software, in any country.
Monica: a mobile app to make trade shows and conferences easier to navigate and network. Apparently it will take away straining for announcements, finding leads, and manual to do lists; exhibitors will know more about who’s attending and attendees will find it easier to network.
Sqwirl: an on-demand delivery service with real-time tracking and a promise of super fast delivery (pick up in under 20 minutes). They’ve already launched on Android and iOS and have partnered with a delivery fleet of 30 motorbikes.
Synkers: a mobile platform linking private tutors to students. They already recruited more than 150 tutors and have more than 500 users from their iOS and Android apps. Tutors pay a subscription and charge what they see fit.
Topshou: a fashion discovery platform this allows users to mix and match items from different ecommerce sites that deliver to the region, to create looks that can then be shared with other users. They’ve partnered with five regional sites so far, are on iOS and have had over 1,000 downloads.
Vision in Motion: using heat maps and a retail store’s security cameras this startup is looking to solve the monitoring, tracking and analyzing of customer behavior to a very accurate degree. Working with just two stores so far in Beirut they are in advanced talks with other retailers and soon will launch a facial recognition element to their software.
In other news from Speed@BDD applications for their third cycle are still open, here, and Chammas will be passing the torch over to MEVP’s Walid Hanna, who will serve in the role for the next two years.