Acacus, Sawwagy, EdTech, Akoustic, Gitex startup winners
Acacus Technologies, a Dubai-based startup that provides fleet management solutions, emerged winner of $100,000 global prize at the Global Startup Movement’s Strut-up Pitch Competition, one of the highlights of Gitex Technology Week 2016. The competition awarded the grand prize of $100,000 for Gitex Global Startup Winner and $20,000 each in categories for Best Millennial, Arab and Woman entrepreneurs.
In the Best Arab Startup category, Saudi Arabia’s Sawwagy was awarded $20,000 for an app designed to help Saudi families communicate with private driving services. Features include pinpointing a destination for the driver to travel, and notifications on progress and arrival, without the driver needing to read messages or answer calls while on the road.
EdTech Solutions Dubai won the competition’s $20,000 Best Millennial Startup award with their Teach Me Now education platform, which provides virtual classrooms for teachers and students to enrich their learning experience.
Akoustic Arts took home $20,000 as the winners of the Best Woman Startup, with founder Myriam Marcetteau travelling from France to pitch at the Strut-up Competition. Akoustic Arts created the «A» speaker, an advanced directional speaker. The invention creates a narrow beam of sound allowing the user to direct sound to the listener from across the room without anyone else hearing it.
With four cash prizes on the line, competitors had five minutes each to convince a panel of judges. Pitches took place over three days and the competition saw more than 38 startups compete across more than 50 pitches, each round moving the winners one step closer to the grand prize.
“The decision was incredibly difficult because they were all so different in terms of technology, so it was an interesting challenge to compare them,” said judging panel member Darius Moeini, Director of Lab and Venture Development at the German Tech Entrepreneurship Centre. “The startups were on such a high level that we were fighting over who should win the prizes, so it was not an obvious choice and was a very close call for all the categories.”
“Winning the Global Startup of the Year award at Gitex means everything to us. Besides winning the competition, being part of the ecosystem created by the whole Startup Movement in Dubai has been an amazing experience,” said Talal Ben Halim, Managing Director of Acacus Technologies.
“We are very proud of winning the Best Arab Startup award at Gitex Technology Week 2016. After months of hard work and sleepless nights, it feels great to receive recognition for our work and more importantly for the idea,” said Sebastian Dietzel, Co-founder of Sawwagy.
“The startup scene in Dubai is growing really fast, and there is so much potential here,” said Thea Myhrvold, Founder and Managing Director of TeachMeNow.com.
“The recognition this gives us is very rewarding,” said Myriam Marcetteau, Founder of Akoustic Arts. “We also appreciate the recognition of female entrepreneurs at Gitex, and that the organisers understand the importance of supporting female entrepreneurs in achieving their goals.”
“We are very delighted that the winners emerging from the Dubai intensive pitch sessions over the last three days of the Strut-up competition come from around the world, from Lebanon to Canada and beyond. It shows the globalness of the innovative talents attending the event. More importantly, it highlights the opportunity for interaction and engagement amongst the startups from around the world with expert judges that have come to Dubai with the experience, guidance and strategic expertise from as far away as Silicon Valley,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Event Management, Dubai World Trade Centre.
“Over five power-packed days of pitches, mentorship workshops, face-to-face meetings and more, we have been impressed with the confidence and creativity of the young tech founders at the Gitex Global Startup Movement,” added Trixie.
Over 420 startup companies participated in the Gitex Global Startup Movement, hailing from over 60 countries. This is the first edition of the global weeklong startup showcase.