Category: SME World

The Catalyst, a startup accelerator initiative between Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company) and the international energy company BP, is seeking more UAE-based startups eligible for its next cycle of funding, training and mentorship at GITEX from October 14-18.

Since its relaunch at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January, the Catalyst has selected three start-ups to receive investment and hands-on business support over a period of up to six months

The three local startups in the accelerator’s first cycle are Solva Technologies, a logistics management platform using proprietary technology for last-mile and express deliveries carried out by fully electric motorcycles; BonApp, a mobile application designed to reduce food waste by allowing consumers to purchase fresh but unsold food produce from restaurants at a discount; and De L’Arta, a company specializing in sustainable soil regeneration techniques as well as natural skincare products extracted from UAE native plants.

“Our aim is to help build a robust start-up ecosystem focused on sustainability in the UAE, and as the potential of Solva Technologies, BonnApp and De L’Arta indicate, there are plenty of opportunities to be had in a region known for its youthful energy and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Cinar Kurra, Chief Executive Officer of the Catalyst. “Not only does the Catalyst offer the financial backing and industry know-how of two globally respected energy companies, it is also providing promising start-ups a home at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s rapidly growing clean-tech cluster and business free zone.”

Today more than 560 companies operate at Masdar City, including start-ups, SMEs and multinational companies. The city has seen 30 per cent growth in new tenant registrations over the last 12 months.  

During GITEX Technology Week, Kurra will participate in a panel discussion entitled The Smart Energy Loop: Designing the Digital Energy Market, besides delivering a presentation at GITEX Future Stars on how entrepreneurs can maximize the benefits available from accelerator programmes. Future Stars is a special side event convening more than 850 international startups, 1,500 investors and corporate buyers.

Salem Bin Ashoor, General Manager of BP UAE, said: “BP is delighted with the progress made by the Catalyst and its vision to build a robust startup focusing on sustainability and clean technology in Abu Dhabi, aligned with the UAE leadership’s vision around innovation and in support of the Year of Zayed. The Catalyst demonstrates a great example of a successful partnership between BP and Masdar, bringing together BP’s international experience with Masdar’s access to clean-tech.”

BonApp, which has been awarded US$100,000 by the Catalyst, plans to launch its app in Abu Dhabi this month. The move is expected to increase app subscriptions above 10,000 and further expand its food and beverage partners, which now total over 250.

Solva Technologies, which is receiving US$130,000, recently completed a successful road test of its software-optimised electric motorbikes. Meanwhile, De L’Arta, which has been allocated US$50,000 in funding, is in talks with local restaurants to source natural raw materials for its soil enhancement products.

The Catalyst accepts applications from both local and international entrepreneurs whose start-up projects in either aggrotech, biotech, electric mobility, energy efficiency systems, or food waste management systems have already reached the commercialisation stage. The accelerator provides up to US$150,000 in grant funding per company, as well as training, one-on-one mentorship, and access to the support of the award-winning Masdar City Free Zone.

In addition to the Catalyst, GITEX 2018 will highlight Masdar City’s holistic approach to sustainability, with Stephen Severance, Head of Programme Management and Marketing at Masdar’s Sustainable Real Estate division, speaking on a panel titled Mission Critical? Building the Smart City Energy Ecosystem.

The 38th edition of GITEX Technology Week is being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Representatives from Masdar City Free Zone will be receiving business enquiries inside Sheikh Rashid Hall 6. The Catalyst will have its own exhibition stand located at the Future Stars Area inside Zabeel Hall 4, D6.


Source: Edelman