Eleven aspiring startups have pitched their ideas to members of Qatar’s tech innovation community at the ‘Demo Day’ of the 10th XLR8 programme cycle of Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), a part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI).
Members of the public, along with entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts participated in the event by following the online pitches before voting for their favourite teams. Three winners are ‘Karty’, which took first place, followed by ‘Lease’ in second place and Sahatech in third.
With restrictions in place due to Covid-19, the unique final pitching day was held virtually for the first time following the 10-week online training and mentorship programme.
QSTP executive director Yosouf Abdulrahman al-Salehi said, “We at QSTP were determined to continue our XLR8 programme this year despite the many taxing issues caused by the pandemic. In these unique circumstances, the 10th cohort of the programme was an absolute success.
“The participating teams have emerged with outstanding ideas and we are delighted to report that the standard of entries from the dedicated teams was just as high as ever. Using the powers of hi-tech communications during this extraordinary year, we were able to celebrate and recognise the teams’ efforts.”
Graduating teams presented their selection of startup ideas to an online audience of experienced technology professionals, investors, and industry experts at the event, designed to give XLR8 participants hands-on experience of pitching their tech-based ideas to attract potential investors and launch their start-ups.
Mohamed Suleiman and Abdulaziz al-Marri, founders of ‘Karty’, said: “Karty is a financial technology startup that aims to improve the daily user spending experience by leveraging technology and utilising transaction data to provide a tailored financial experience.
“We are happy to win first place at the 10th cycle of QSTP’s XLR8 programme and we cannot wait to deliver KARTY to the people of Qatar. The XLR8 programme has enriched us and helped us improve our product – we are excited to join the QSTP incubation programme.”
Of the 11 finalists, nine teams came via QSTP’s highly-competitive selection process, while the other two were selected from the popular television programme Stars of Science. Teams included ‘Lease The Look’, an online dress and accessories rental platform; ‘Bab’, an e-commerce platform for the construction sector; ‘Qatra’, an online platform for artisans from low income countries to sell their products to an international market; and ‘Scanscope’, a hand-held scanning device that is used to detect bone fractures in children without the need to expose them to harmful radiation.
Over 150 teams (comprising almost 400 individuals) have joined the programme since its inception in 2015. To date, 26 teams from XLR8 have launched startups. Nine startups are now growing beyond Qatar, several of which have secured further investment, including Meddy, Stellic, MaktApp, Bonocle, EasyBroadcast, and WakeCap. Also, there is now an established network of 30 experienced mentors.