The Seedstars World Global Startup Competition is now in Baku, Azerbaijan, after its Dubai leg wrapped up, where 15 regional teams met in competition to make their idea ‘pitches’ to judges on March 20. The winners received cash prizes for winning pitches with the first place team winning a ticket to Switzerland in February of 2014, with the opportunity to compete for a USD 500,000 investment and other perks.
The Dubai event was hosted by local partner Innovation 360, the U.A.E.’s leading Innovation Management Consultants which host their own local startup Accelerator in Dubai. The winning teams were also invited to qualify for i360Accelerator in their next Innov-a-thon round. Each team had six minutes to pitch their idea to a jury panel — including some teams who pitched on-line using Skype.
The teams making pitches came from all over the region, including the UAE, Jordan and Egypt. The startups offered a variety of services, from e-commerce websites and mobile apps, to healthcare, fashion, and automotive offerings.
The ‘Best Pitch of the Day’ was made by ‘Team Aflamnah’ who presented their regional crowd source platform, whilst ‘Team TourBud’ was the outright prize winner of the day with their global virtual tour guide service. “I was so pleasantly surprised, but shocked to be the winner.” quoted Rafael Harutyunyan, TourBud founder, who added “I can only advise ‘think global add local’ and not to be afraid of failure, you learn from it sometimes even more than from success”
Prior to the event, the contestants received professional coaching and training by Ahmed Abu Safia from DP World, the event sponsor, and the i360Accelerator team. Both of these organizations are rumored to be jointly launching a new Accelerator program in Dubai.
The participants were asked to present who they were, what problem they were addressing, their solution, how it worked and their business model. The judges also looked at the potential for scalability, competitive defensibility and global appeal.
“This type of ‘invitation only’ event was deemed a gleaming success with the thanks to Seedstars World and our sponsors DP World, TECOM’s Dubai Internet City and Wamda. We are encouraging more and more European and US lead global competitions of this calibre to come to the UAE to stimulate the local startup scene.” said Kamal Hassan of Innovation 360.