BEIRUT: Speed@BDD, one of the city’s top-tech accelerators, recently held its 5th Demo Day end of March, with seven unique startups taking the stage at the Four Season Hotel, to pitch themselves to a variety of interested parties.
Assembled were over 250 officials, investors, experts and media representatives; all to see the proposed products and listing to the salesmanship of the respective small-companies-in-the-making.
Demo Day V marked the completion of the accelerator’s fifth program and was the occasion for Speed to announce its new collaboration with Techstars, the well-known worldwide startup accelerator; as well as the winner of the second Seed Boost initiative.
Following an intensive two-week selection program, teams were selected to join the 5th acceleration program which began in November 2017. During the cycle, Speed invested $30,000 in cash in each startup and its equivalent of in-kind services covering free hosting, product and business development, financial advisory, legal services, and mentorship from key experts in various industries.
The startups gained access to market expertise from the accelerator’s network of 100+ external mentors, who dedicated 250+ hours to help the founders grow their businesses. The startups also received a $15,000 equity-free grant through Speed’s partnership with the iSME Program by Kafalat.
The event also included the announcement of Speed’s new collaboration with Techstars.
“I am very proud to announce today how we are taking Speed to the next level! We will be working with multiple Techstars programs, a first of its kind collaboration in Lebanon, to provide Lebanese startups and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem with new and exciting opportunities. In practical terms, Techstars MDs will share their best practices and open their networks to the Speed management team through an in-person exchange with their accelerators around the world,” said Speed CEO, Sami Abou Saab.
For the second cycle in a row, each startup was introduced on stage by its guardian, a Speed mentor who accompanied the founders throughout acceleration. Following the pitching, Abou Saab announced that Spike and TeensWhoCode were the two startups that Speed fully sponsored to attend the two-week “LebNet Ignite powered by Blackbox Connect” immersion program in Silicon Valley earlier this month.
Building on last cycle’s success, Speed replicated the follow-on investment opportunity for its Cycle V startups in a full-day event on March 21. The startups pitched in front of two angel investors (Elias Houayek and Mouhamad Rabah) and three venture capital funds representatives (Cedar Mundi, MEVP Impact Fund and Phoenician Funds), who then deliberated and chose Spike as the winner of the second edition of the Seed Boost. The $50,000 equity investment (five percent) will help Spike further grow and develop its product in the upcoming months prior to securing the next round of investment.
Here's a look at the Cycle V startups:
Actachef is an online platform where users can order their favorite healthy meal and get it delivered to their doorsteps in a box. The box includes fresh, washed, and pre-portioned ingredients, with a recipe that can be easily followed and prepared in less than 35 minutes.
Cabbis is a cloud-based service offered to traditional taxi companies on a subscription-based model. It allows for a smooth transition from their current model to an Uber-like model, and therefore, for the scaling of their business.
CraveHome is an online platform that allows users to buy fresh and delicious homemade meals prepared by home cooks whose kitchens are certified by the platform’s food safety program.
Drapp is an online platform that facilitates billable medical consultations between doctors and their own patients via chatbot technology. The DrappBOT integrates seamlessly with currently-used messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, to respond to both patients’ and doctors’ needs.
Spike is a mobile assistant that helps diabetics better manage their diabetes. Spike monitors the patient’s daily behavior and pops out reminders and tips on insulin, food, activity, etc., whenever needed. It also stores the patient’s data to be analyzed and/or shared with doctors and caregivers.
Tapklik is the first full-stack, fully-localized, and programmatic Ad exchange that connects advertisers and publishers in the Middle East. Using Big Data and Machine Learning, Tapklik’s scalable and distributed enterprise-grade demand-side platform (DSP) “Tapklik OneAd” allows advertisers and agencies to reach their audiences online through smart targeting, which yields better conversions.
TeensWhoCode enables schools in the MENA region to easily teach computer science via an adaptive gamified e-learning platform. It allows its graduates to become employable competent software developers at just 18 years old.
--- In partnership with Arabnet Media.
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