DOHA, Qatar, April 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) - part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI) - in partnership with global venture capital firm 500 Startups, launched the third edition of the MENA Dojo Series A Program in Kuwait on March 31. This edition sees the participation of 14 of the most promising technology startups from across the MENA region, including two from Qatar.
MENA Dojo is a regional spin-off of the internationally-coveted 500 Startups Series A Accelerator Program. Technology startups participating in this program must have previously raised funding from other investors, and are now preparing to scale-up and raise their Series A round - a startup's first significant round of venture capital funding that enables its rapid growth and development.
Over the course of the program, the startups will be provided with intensive, one-on-one training and mentorship in developing a mindset for accelerated growth. Startups will learn and execute highly effective marketing techniques designed to rapidly grow their customer base, thereby increasing their likelihood of securing Series A investments and ensure their long-term business success.
The two Qatari-founded startups participating this year are ADGS and MaktApp. ADGS sells a suite of products that use artificial intelligence (AI), behavioral biometrics, and emergent behavior. Founded by Hassan Al Ansari, President; Christophe Billiottet, CEO; and Nahuel Gonzalez, CTO, the startup is a recipient of QSTP's Product Development Fund, which is dedicated to funding SMEs and startups that develop products and services relevant to local market needs.
MaktApp, co-founded by Saleh Al-Mansouri, CEO, and Waleed Al Obadi, CTO, are the minds behind fatora.io, an invoicing platform driven by AI that streamlines online payments between vendors and customers in the MENA region. MaktApp is currently incubated at QSTP and is also an alumnus of QSTP's XLR8, Qatar's premier technology accelerator program, which is designed to take a tech-based service or product from the idea stage all the way to a validated minimum viable product or prototype.
Other regional startups competing in the third edition of MENA Dojo include Moodfit, the first online interior design platform in the MENA region to offer a hassle-free, online home furnishing service with professional interior designers; Ajar Online, a cloud service providing property management tools designed to help the real estate market run more efficiently; and Coded, the first coding bootcamp in the Middle East.
Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, Executive Director of QSTP, said: "QSTP's ongoing partnership with 500 Startups has placed regional technology development on the global map. Our joint hosting of the MENA Dojo enables QSTP to promote Qatar's techpreneurs on the regional stage, and provides 500 Startups with the opportunity to identify and help realise the region's startup potential.
"We congratulate ADGS and MaktApp on being accepted into this program and wish them all the best as they work alongside seasoned experts in the field to execute tailored strategies that will ensure the long-term success of their businesses."
Over the course of the five-week program, which will run until May 1, participating startups will be trained on how to grow their businesses through different methodologies, including customer acquisition, growth-hacking, distribution, referral marketing and re-targeting, content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), user experience (UX) and conversion optimisation, as well as pitching to investors.
Dr. Richard O'Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development, and Innovation, Qatar Foundation, said: "Qatar's burgeoning innovation ecosystem is driven by people with a passion for harnessing the power of technology to develop solutions aimed at addressing local and regional needs. MENA Dojo provides a robust platform for these entrepreneurs to fine-tune their ideas under the tutelage of industry experts and unleash the potential of their businesses, making impactful contributions to Qatar and beyond."
On May 1, all participating startups will pitch their businesses and growth models to a global audience of industry leaders and potential investors in the hope of securing significant later-stage funding to fuel their growth ambitions. This 'Investor Day' will mark the culmination of this year's comprehensive accelerator program.
For more information about MENA Dojo, please visit www.qstp.org.qa
Qatar Science & Technology Park
Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI), is a Free Zone, accelerator, and incubator for tech-product development in Qatar. The park fosters an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar that works to accelerate commercialization of market-ready technologies to realize Qatar's national diversification drive.
QSTP's focus ranges across four overarching themes, comprising Energy, Environment, Health Sciences, and Information & Communication Technologies, in line with the Qatar National Research Strategy announced in 2012.
Located in Qatar Foundation's Education City, QSTP has access to the vital resources of a cluster of leading research universities. Members of QSTP's Free Zone include SMEs, international corporations, and research institutions. They are collectively committed to investing in new technology development programs, creating intellectual property, enhancing technology management skills, and developing innovative new products.
QSTP supports QF RDI's economic and human development objectives for Qatar and is increasingly recognized as an international hub for applied research, innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship.
For more information, please visit the QSTP website at www.qstp.org.qa
Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI)
The Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI) division's role is to play an integral part in identifying and addressing challenges and opportunities across ICT, energy, environment, healthcare, and agribusiness, in alignment with Qatar's national RDI strategy and priorities. QF RDI is at the forefront of Qatar's innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, accelerating economic development through supporting the commercialization of market-ready technologies and facilitating the creation of new high-tech products and services.
QF RDI is responsible for translating Qatar's national RDI strategy into specific initiatives and actions for Qatar Foundation's (QF) RDI entities. It also directs their efforts in relation to economic value creation, knowledge transfer, and the establishment of mutually-beneficial national and international RDI partnerships. To ensure these efforts deliver maximum impact, the QF Vice President for Research, Development, and Innovation plans, coordinates, and oversees all RDI-related activities across QF.
Qatar Foundation - Unlocking Human Potential
Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) is a non-profit organization that supports Qatar on its journey to becoming a diversified and sustainable economy. QF strives to serve the people of Qatar and beyond by providing specialized programs across its innovation-focused ecosystem of education, research and development, and community development.
QF was founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who shared the vision to provide Qatar with quality education. Today, QF's world-class education system offers lifelong learning opportunities to community members as young as six months through to doctoral level, enabling graduates to thrive in a global environment and contribute to the nation's development.
QF is also creating a multidisciplinary innovation hub in Qatar, where homegrown researchers are working to address local and global challenges. By promoting a culture of lifelong learning and fostering social engagement through programs that embody Qatari culture, QF is committed to empowering the local community and contributing to a better world for all.
For a complete list of QF's initiatives and projects, please visit: www.qf.org.qa