Finalists revealed for the inaugural London Business School MENA Startup Competition 2022

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  • The London Business School’s MENA Startup Competition will see twelve startups, from across AI and Fintech, compete in the finals this week
  • The winner will receive $15,000 cash prize, mentoring and prominent investor connections
  • The UAE is home to some of the most popular and effective startup incubators, with London Business School’s competition to drive entrepreneurship and innovation

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The finalists have today been announced for the inaugural London Business School (LBS) MENA Startup Competition 2022.

Twelve highly innovative startups have been selected to participate in the Grand Final to be held this week (Wednesday 19th October) in Dubai at DIFC campus. The startups from across the MENA region represent a diverse range of sectors, including Fintech, Healthtech and Artificial Intelligence Analytics, and are set to compete at the prestigious event by pitching to a high-level judging panel.

The inaugural competition was created by the new MENA-based Entrepreneurship Club, part of the London Business School Gulf Association, and supported by the School’s London-based Entrepenuership Club. The new club, which was founded at the beginning of the year, brings together and supports LBS entrepreneurs and startup ventures. With its ambition to grow the School’s reputation as a global hub for venture creation, London Business School’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC) also provides support and encouragement to the Entrepeneurship Clubs, and the new competition.

Backed by Strategy&, part of the PWC network and Amazon Web Services Activate, the competition aims to become one of the most-reputed annual startup events in the MENA region.

Demand was high for the competition which received more than 70 applications from right across the MENA region, representing a wide range of sectors.  The competition aims to connect the most inspiring and innovative Middle East entrepreneurs with prominent VCs and investors alongside extensive mentoring. Following a rigorous series of assessments, the LBS MENA 2022 finalists have been selected out of 20 semi-finalists who followed months of extensive mentoring.

Speaking ahead of the finals’ judging panel, Jane Khedair, Executive Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital said:

“I’m hugely excited by the inaugural LBS MENA Startup competition. This provides an additional spur to expand our successful LBS Incubator programme, which to date has already supported more than 100 startups, helping early-stage companies to navigate their paths to growth and raise millions in seed capital.”

“Both the IEPC and LBS have great ambitions to drive and support entrepreneurship in the MENA region, and the competition will help elevate businesses to another level and demonstrate to the investor community what can be achieved by entrepreneurs. We are proud to be a catalyst to inspire new innovation, skills and ideas, and enable businesses to grow and partner together to become stronger.”

Startup incubators are at the heart of Dubai’s economy, with the Department of Economic Development saying startups now make up 50% of the total companies registered in the emirate and employ half its workforce. Incubators help startups to take strides ahead in their business journeys, enabling them to grow at a faster rate, create new innovative solutions, and develop their talent.

To date, the London Business School Incubator has supported and developed more than 100 businesses through their programme, with a huge £100 million raised in seed capital. The London Business School Incubator team have already successfully backed businesses from across different sectors such as Little Steps Financing which helps supports families with childcare financing, to reusable plates from Junee, to SENUP an edtech platform for special needs students.

At the finals on Wednesday, the finalists will make their pitches to the finals’ judging panel made up of Roger Rabbat of Strategy&, Manya Pamnani of Dubai Cultiv8, part of Dubai Economy, Jane Khedair, Executive Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital, Philipp Pabst of Dubai Future District Fund and Haya AlMana, currently heading Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Zain Kuwait.

The awards ceremony will announce the successful finalist will walk away with a $15,000 cash prize, with the runner-up set to receive $5,000. Beyond this, the competition gives startups the opportunity to develop traction for their companies, reach a wider audience, gain financial investment, and increase their media exposure.

Anuj Srivastava, co-founder and CEO of Livspace and LBS alumnus is set to make a keynote address at the finals. Livspace, one of Asia’s largest omni-channel home interior and renovation platforms, provides a one-stop renovation solution for homeowners and holds the status of unicorn business, with a value worth over $1 billion.

The 12 startups in the finals have come from across AI, Fintech, Healthtech, e-commerce, HR tech, marketing tech, mobility data, and remote working. They include the following:

  • Diwama (Waste management – AI) – Diwama is providing solutions for waste to improve quality of life. They provide an AI-based image recognition software that helps people at home and waste facilities to recycle more and better.
  • Lemonade Fashion (E-commerce) – Lemonade is building the world’s first curated decentralized marketplace that goes beyond commerce and aims to make fashion more sustainable. The platform allows designers and creators to tell their stories and sell their products at scale.
  • Recruitment Smart Technologies (HR Tech) – The startup provides a talent intelligence solution. Their platform uses game-changing, disruptive artificial intelligence for recruiters to effectively find, qualify and hire the best talent before their competitors, removing bias and improving diversity and inclusion.
  • OLLANG (Marketing Tech) – The startup provides end-to-end human powered AI localization through subtitles and dubbing for video/audio globalization teams, changing the way people communicate.
  • MOBiSENSE (Mobility Data Analytics) – The company provides a solution to empower mobile operators to become unrivalled providers of footfall and mobility analytics for businesses and governments. Their technology places a mobile operator in an advantageous position to offer such analytics, creating insights on how people move, their mode of transportation, places they visit etc.
  • Emani (Marketing Tech) – A platform collecting crowdsourced data from locals who matter so that clients can monitor risk before it’s too late and better understand opportunities for sustainability. From executing projects safely to deploying capital effectively, good decisions depend on good information. Emani radically improves information available to businesses, Governments and NGOs.
  • Troc Circle (Fintech) – The startup has developed the circular and chain invoice netting technology based on netting invoices forming a supply chain in an open network.
  • DESAISIV (AI Analytics – Healthcare) – DESAISIV provides a holistic solution which links operational, financial and clinical aspects of healthcare organisations. They make the future more predictable thanks to their AI algorithms that can help clients prepare for change before it happens.
  • TWIG (Fintech) – The startup is the first Bank Agnostic Automated Savings platform in the MENA region, offering mechanisms that help users put money on the side automatically.
  • Zyyp Pte (Fintech – Accounting) – A tech-driven platform that empowers businesses to spend, manage and borrow across currencies and geographies with ease and complete transparency.
  • Vaqat (Remote Working) – Vaqat is a platform where companies outsource intern-like tasks to pre-vetted students, enabling them to hire the best of them full-time.
  • The Convo (Hospitality) – The company has turned a handful of distressed hotels into profitable ones. They create a marketplace of renovated, operated and digitalized/tokenized properties in Europe ready to be sold online to retail investors and guests wanting to invest as low as $500 to own a fraction of listed assets.

About London Business School:

London Business School is one of the world’s leading business schools. London Business School’s academic strength and global outlook drives original and provocative business thinking. They challenge conventional wisdom, transform careers and empower people to change the way the world does business. Renowned for teaching entrepreneurship since the late 90s, for the cultivation of startup ventures, and the promotion of innovation, London Business School is similarly well-known for its research insights into financial markets and its exceptional teaching of the key instruments that drive today’s financial sector.

About London Business School’s The Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital:

The Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC) was forged from a union of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Private Equity at London Business School. The IEPC aims to further the School’s reputation as a global hub for venture creation and financing and as an accelerant for enterprise growth. The IEPC will support the development of the entrepreneurial mindset and ideas that drive impact, create wealth and advance well-being while giving wider exposure to probing and insightful research into the crucially important aspects of today’s private capital markets, such as venture capital, growth and buyouts, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

About The London Business School Gulf Association’s The Entrepreneurship Club

The London Business School Gulf Association is the community that brings together all London Business School alumni and students that are currently located in the Middle East or have a special interest in networking in the region. Currently over 2,300 members participate in professional, social activities as well as events that bring together top universities with presence in the region.

A new Entrepreneurship Club was established by the London Business School Gulf Association to create an eco-system for LBS entrepreneurs and startup ventures in the MENA region, raising brand awareness of the Club and growing connections within the School’s regional network. The Club aims to manage a programme of networking and support, panel discussions and prominent guest speakers drawn from industry and commerce.