The UAE Ministry of Finance – Festival of Innovation

The UAE Ministry of Finance Festival of Innovation is a two-day event that brings the entire innovation ecosystem together and promotes cross-sector collaboration. The festival is part of UAE Innovation Week, a nationwide celebration that aims to promote and foster the spirit of innovation and creativity in the UAE.
The festival will include a variety of activities targeting all stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem. It will host workshops, seminars, innovation challenges, networking events, a hackathon and more. Innovators, investors, corporate and government representatives are all welcome to attend.
The festival will take place between November 21st & 22nd in Dubai, UAE.
To participate, please visit

The Perfect Pitch.

Statistics show that venture capitalists barely fund startups. Only 1% of all submitted business plans receive funding. One of the major issue startups that don’t get funding is the lack of understanding how investors think: On the one hand entrepreneurs are optimists, focusing on success, amplifying sales projection and highlighting the product features; all of this without significant customer validation. On the other hand investors are skeptics and focus on potential risks, break-even and positive cash flow.
Once this is understood, the entrepreneur shall prepare the pitch based on the particular audience. In this case, it’s an investor. A great pitch is brief (get to the point quickly), has an attractive overall appearance, is well organized (with a table of contents and numbered pages), is market-oriented in meeting customers’ needs, shows evidence of customer acceptance and greater TAM (Total Addressable Market), and is delivered in an insanely great way. As Gregory Berns said “A person can have the greatest idea in the world.  But if that person can’t convince enough other people, it doesn’t matter.”
Whether you’ve been in the game for a while or new to developing your own startup, pitching an idea or a business concept is never easy. To those that have a natural flair of delivering speeches or even storytelling, this might come easy. Otherwise, you need to work hard to make sure your first impression counts.
So how do I do that? You might be asking?
 Here are 5 tips that could prove useful to increasing your chances to a successful boardroom pitch with investors:
1. Start a high-level: Convey your message verbally and visually in the most articulate manner
2. Always keep it simple: Straightforward vocabulary, short sentences and don’t always assume that the investors are familiar with your industry
3. End powerfully: One completion of your the essential elements of your proposal, end it with a strong summary of the key items of your model/idea
4. Bring along your team and answer questions confidently: There’s nothing better than seeing a unified team know and are familiar with their respective fields of expertise
5. Be prepared for negative feedback and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification: Don’t be discouraged. You’ll always find one or two investors that won’t be convinced by your idea. Everyone’s different, and always remember to ask for clarifications if you didn’t understand a question
In order to deliver The Perfect Pitch, entrepreneurs need not only to focus on the hard skills (problem, solution, team, market, projections etc.) but also the soft skills. Soft skills include the way you convey your message, the overall story of your pitch, your voice tone and gesture during your pitch. At the end your audience should “feel” your presentation. Or as Maya Angelou once said “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

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Dubai Entrepreneur Launches Video Chat App While Dreaming About Life on Mars

Reactions only happen once. That’s the motto of Vidium (, a new video chat service that hopes to reinvent the way we stay in touch with distant relatives and friends. Co-founder and CEO Khalid Al-Jaaidi says the idea came to him at random, but the epiphany moment didn’t happen until he experienced a personal frustration with the way digital chatting currently works.


“A friend of mine from Malaysia sent me a 25-second voice clip on Whatsapp,” he recalls. “As I was listening to it, I was reacting on the spot as if I was actually talking to her, only to reach the end of it and realize I had to send her back a reply, remembering when I had laughed and when I had said that and this. It felt extremely unnatural to go through that and made me realize that there is a huge gap here. We’re in 2014 and we still can’t communicate properly at ease over long distance!”

Enter Vidium, video chat reinvented for a world on the go. Vidium allows users to replace exhaustive video calls with fast and short video messages, while at the same time keeping all the benefits of video calls by capturing your reactions as you are watching the other person’s video.

“Vidium solves two key issues,” Al-Jaaidi says. “Because you don’t have to be online at the same time as the other person, you don’t have to worry about the connectivity issues that so many people have when making video calls. Second, you don’t have to schedule a time to chat, which can get really difficult with time zone differences.”

“We’ve taken the very best experiences from the apps we use every day and applied them to this medium, along with our own unique ‘reaction capturing’ twist. It’s a new way of looking at sending a message, but when you use Vidium for the first time, we believe you’ll say ‘this makes perfect sense’.”

Al-Jaaidi and his software developer co-founder, Heloise Andrade (the two met at a local hackathon) recently launched the Vidium app for iPhone. They believe that the service will be popular with young people who are either studying or working abroad and regularly use video chats to stay in touch with family, friends and significant others back home.

The development of Vidium has faced a few challenges. Andrade, who has a degree in computer science and worked at IBM as a developer, says, “One of the technical challenges with Vidium was to get a video to play at the same time as the front camera records a person’s reaction, without any interference between the two.” She says a lot of reading and researching eventually led to finding a solution.

Building the right team and go-to-market strategy was also key, says Al-Jaaidi, which is one of the reasons he applied last year to the TURN8 Seed Accelerator, a program founded by DP World to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.


“I applied to TURN8 because I saw the benefits of accelerator programs, and I needed a platform to accelerate my growth as a person, and Vidium as a company,” says Al-Jaaidi. “At TURN8, my co-founder learned and progressed through a year’s worth of work and experience in a short period of time.”

The Vidium team recently graduated from the TURN8 program and presented to investors and the media, along with other participants, at an Investor Demo Day on 17 January. They believe that the connections made as a part of the TURN8 accelerator will help Vidium demonstrate a track record of growth to attract investors.

Although the road to this point has been challenging, Al-Jaaidi embraces each obstacle, as is his way. “I’m naturally attracted to things that I perceive as hard and challenging. Whether it’s jumping out of a plane, or eating the spiciest burger, or climbing the tallest peak in Southeast Asia – all of which I’ve already done.”

It’s this drive and zest for life that led the 21-year-old Dubai native to apply for the Mars One mission, a conceptual plan to establish a human colony on the planet Mars by 2025. It makes sense for a guy who dreamed of being an explorer when he was a boy, who commonly used rocket ships or outer space as themes in his school projects, and whose heroes are Elon Musk – the founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors – and a character from a video game about exploring other galaxies. What is perhaps surprising is that this young Arab would want to go on a one-way trip to Mars, as those who are selected will not be able to return to Earth. Ever.

Still, Al-Jaaidi approaches the idea with enthusiasm. “Having a challenge and experience with a set goal in mind that defines your every day is a very powerful purpose. A purpose that could benefit mankind on a futuristic level is definitely one that’s on my radar.”

Al-Jaaidi may actually have the opportunity to realize his dream as he has been shortlisted for the Mars One project twice, having passed a number of interviews with the selection committee and a thorough physical exam. He believes the final decision will be made sometime soon.

Of course, like any good entrepreneur, he has kept in mind the potential for using Vidium on the mission. “While there will be Internet access on Mars,” he explains, “the only way colonists will be able to keep in touch with their loved ones is by text messages, photos, or video messages. Video calls would likely be impossible due to the immense distance that needs to be covered; there would be a delay of between 3-20 minutes.”

For now, Al-Jaaidi is keeping his feet on the ground and his head in the business of launching a successful startup.

Author Bio:

Debra Jennings is Director of Storytelling for Innovation 360, a Dubai-based innovation management consultancy that works with enterprises and startups to develop innovative products, services and business models.

TURN8 Round 3 statistics

TURN8 entrepreneurs come from all over the world and from all different backgrounds. The infographic below shows how Round 3 breaks down. Despite their differences, they have more in common than you might think — an innovative idea for a startup business or technology, a desire to work hard and the ability to make their dreams come true!  


TURN8 is now accepting applications for Round 4. Apply online or click here for more information.

Know the Startup: Fhab

Emotion is a very important aspect of our lives. As humans we don’t only communicate by words but also by our emotional state.


Budi Yowono, Yuliana Chusna, Walesa Danto, Arie Aulia and Doni Ramadhan used to all work together in the same company and often talked together about launching a startup. When Walesa thought of the concept for Fhab the rest of the team was more than eager to join him.

As important as this is, there is no one social media application dedicated to detect and reveal the emotion of the person using it… until now.

Fhab is an app that lets you record a ‘video selfie’ talking about whatever topic you choose. It has an emotion recognition algorithm that automatically detects your real emotion while using it.

All the videos you record are kept private; only you can choose to share it with people. However, people in your network can see that you have recorded a video, but can’t play it unless you them permission.

In social media people tend to share only their proudest moment and they also tend to mask their real emotion. Fhab will allow people to get more honest and real about how they truly feel and it will enable them to share it with their close friends and family members.


Know the Startup: S-Mart

The problem of delivering grocery orders to the right location in the U.A.E is something most people suffer from, due to the lack of a good system for naming the streets and places.


s-Mart will make the life of consumers easier by allowing them to order their groceries from the supermarket either using the app from the comfort of their homes or using a device with a big screen centrally located.

Co-founders Giorgi Laliashvili and Zviad Sichinava are originally from Georgia. They relocated to Dubai for a chance to build their startup. The main thinking behind s-Mart is helping business expand and reach more customers by making the entire experience easier.

The device will be available at metro stations, hotels and malls with a face recognition system. It will show all the items in their real size and with a 360 view.


s-Mart will make the life of consumers easier by allowing them to order their groceries from the supermarket either using the app from the comfort of their homes or using a device with a big screen centrally located.

Co-founders Giorgi Laliashvili and Zviad Sichinava are originally from Georgia. They relocated to Dubai for a chance to build their startup. The main thinking behind s-Mart is helping business expand and reach more customers by making the entire experience easier.

The device will be available at metro stations, hotels and malls with a face recognition system. It will show all the items in their real size and with a 360 view.


We think that s-Mart is going to be the future of shopping, because it provides customers with ease of use and convenience always look for. What do you think?

Know the Startup: Junkbot

It is no secret that our current educational system is going downhill and taking the new generation of kids with it. Junkbot team is on a mission to change that.

Junkbot is DIY (Do It Yourself) hardware kit that helps children and adults build robots from materials or junk they can easily find around them, such as cardboards, water bottles, disposable coffee cups, etc.


The goal of Junkbot is to help people experience and enhance their knowledge of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills. Junkbot comes with a hardware kit, Instructions and an online collaboration platform that teaches you how to use the kit to build your own robots.

Rajeev, one of the team members, always wanted to build robots as a kid, but couldn’t afford it. He shared his dream with his friends and they decided to go through with the project and bring his dream to reality, so kids everywhere would have the opportunity to learn about robotics.

Rajeev and Ehtesham from team Junkbot with their first user
Rajeev and Ehtesham from team Junkbot with their first user
Team Junkbot appearing in the Indian Media
Team Junkbot appearing in the Indian Media

Junkbot is designed for two age groups: from 6 to 10 and from 10 and above, so even adults who are working in STEM or are just eager to learn something new can also buy the kit and start building their awesome robotics!

Pre-order your kit now:

Know the Startup: Plex

For most of us who have been to big networking events, we know the difficulty of having to approach as many people as possible without knowing whether they are relevant to our field or not.

Tornike Gelashvili and Lasha Kvantaliani believe that they have the solution to that issue. The app they are currently working on, Plex, they will enable event attendees to search for each other using their field of work, which saves a lot of time and effort.

Event attendees can log in to the app using their LinkedIn or Facebook profile, and their basic information will be automatically pulled out of their profiles and into the app. Then they can see all the events taking place in their city and create an event if it isn’t already there.

Plex offers many helpful features for event attendees such as agendas, agenda notification, indoor navigation, speakers list and feedback to speakers in an innovative way. During the speech attendees can press an emotion button to express how much they like a certain segment of the speech. The longer they press the emotion button the more they like that part of the speech. That way speakers can know what segment of their presentation really got to the crowd.

Speakers can also see what questions matter the most to attendees by seeing how many “likes” a question asked by another attendee got. That helps the speaker answer the questions that matter most to the crowd.

Speakers can also use Plex to view the attendees by their interest and thus have an even better understanding of the feedback they are getting.

Event managers will be able to subscribe to Plex to post their event on the platform.

Plex is set on giving a better experience to event attendees, speakers and organizers. Soon we won’t be able to imagine going to any event without having Plex in our pockets.

Know The Startup:

loadme is a website that will reduce the traffic in the Middle East, help save the environment and even help its users save and make more money. It allows transporters and people who have loads to find each other. In Dubai, where we have frequent traffic jams and a high carbon footprint, is most definitely needed.

Sebastian Stefan and Claudia Pacurar
Sebastian Stefan and Claudia Pacurar

LoadMe co-founders Sebastian Stefan and Claudia Pacurar and are a couple from Romania. They have been living and working in Dubai for three years now. When they saw the need for such a website, they decided to launch their startup and help make a difference in the Middle East.

The website will be matching trucks and loads in real time, making it easy for companies to find a truck ready to carry their load at the click of a button. Claudia and Sebastian are planning to establish a call center, once the startup is a bit more established, to give the users an even better experience with their company.

Sebastian holding his prize at the Smart Living City conference
Sebastian holding his prize at the Smart Living City conference

LoadMe is already going places.At the Smart Living City Dubai conference in September, the startup won first place in the People’s Choice Award category.

Check their website here.