Startup Weekend Dubai 2015, a 54-hour annual event, was staged at AstroLabs headquarters in Jumeirah Lake Towers from November 19-21. Organized in over 150 countries, more than 250 cities ran the Startup Weekend Global Startup Battle simultaneously last month. In the UAE alone, 103 entrants took part and 44 of those entrepreneurs even rose to the challenge of a 60-second warm up pitch on day one.
Supported by Platinum partner SOTI, Gold partners AstroLabs, Bird & Bird, SnappCard and Uber, and Silver partners Carpool Arabia, Flat6Labs, DotShabaka, Stationary Inc., The Sustainability Platform, Vaniday, VentureFin, and WOMENA, the event’s “overall objective is to teach entrepreneurs the basics of how to get their business off of the ground through a structured process. It exposes them to mentors and facilitators who volunteer their time throughout the weekend to help the startups achieve the best possible results in an educational environment,” explains Aya Sadder, Lead Organizer, Startup Weekend Dubai.
The first place winner, MyCars, is a model that allows users to find cars to rent in different cities and included team members Ben Pullen, Benjamin de Terssac, Finney Thomas, Heloise Andrade, and Zahed Mirza. Second place winner Fitness Buddies, a model based on matching users with other users for workouts, was made up of team members Amit Vaghasiya, Darreen Al-hiyari, Hina Gulzar, Jiahao Liu, Richard Humberstone, and Andrew Broekelmann.
Third place winner Wa9faat.com, created by Ahmed AbuSaad and Abdulhadi Hafez, facilitates access to Arabic recipes via referral. The B2B prizewinner of the event, VVIP, was made of up team members Andrey Simeonov, Danni Lu, Saber Ghaith, and Sajad Ahmed.
MEET THE JUDGES
Joshua Rajkumar Co-founder, The Sustainability Platform
Chantalle Dumonceaux Co-founder, WOMENA
Muhammed Mekki Founding Partner, AstroLabs
Herve? Collignon Founder, HOOKS Strategy & Innovation
Emad Ghanem Regional Manager Middle East and Gulf Region, SOTI Inc.