Investor Pitch Deck – [Infographic]

Raising money from investors is a crucial step for all startups, but even for experienced founders a great pitch can be challenging.

Your ability to deliver captivating content quickly and efficiently will often be the deciding factor for whether an investor funds you or walks away…

Check out our infographic below to see what it takes to make the perfect pitch:

Investor_Pitch_Deck_EN

Have you made the perfect pitch? Tell us how you wowed your investors in the comments below!

Author:

Faisal is the Content & Community Manager at PayFort. He enjoys writing about entrepreneurship, e-commerce and startups. You can find him on Twitter, Google+, or reach him at fkhalidi@payfort.com

Original article you can read here.

Apply for TURN8 now: www.turn8.co/apply

My Amazing Experience at TURN8 Accelerator

turn8

Taking a plane to Dubai for the first time was a mix of emotion! Fear, happiness and uncertainty were the things I was carrying on that flight when I set out to start my dream and create a company. What I brought back with me was even better (apart from a sweet Razer gaming headset) — a company. Okay, rewind a bit.

On December 22 there was a pitching contest organized in my home town of Nis, south Serbia (nice place, visit it), by a startup accelerator called TURN8 and a real estate company Clean Earth Capital. So my friend and I were thinking we should give it a shot, what’s the worst that can happen? We never even heard of the term “startup” but we went. In short, we kicked ass and we won.

Next thing we knew, we were dragged into this world of business, entrepreneurship, shares, MVP’s, BMC’s and all these fancy words that we didn’t have a clue what they meant, but we knew the entire thing meant opportunity ! We hit the books and a few months later chapter one starts (read above, the plane thing).

Working in an accelerator

An accelerator is a programme created to give your business idea a boost. They provide some funding, tutoring, classes, contacts, all things an idea needs (they do take a part of your company in the form of equity shares, but this is only one of the trades you will make 😉 ). Now, I don’t knowabout other accelerators, so I will speak from my perspective and experience in TURN8.

Working in TURN8 was amazing! They have an amazing working space, incredible team, events all the time. They taught me how to be a CEO! Every week there were a bunch of “classes,” like business model generation, marketing, pitching, BMC (business model canvas for all you newbs). In a matter of two months, my partner and I were on our way to becoming serious entrepreneurs. Our idea was even more on the way of becoming a real company!
Company growing up
We do this thing called Good Game Network. It’s an online hub where gamers can find an opponent, arrange a match and play for money. It started with three people, my partner Zorana who was until then a front end developer, my friend Dimitrije who helped with developing the idea (it’s a miracle what 10 hours of late night gaming sessions do to a man), and myself who was hardcore into back end development.
So we wrote our first plans and estimations and started working… but then this thing happened. People from the community, from Nis, gamers started contacting us offering help and to volunteer. It turned out, many, many people had the same passion (taking video games to a whole new level!). We quickly found one more developer, just as passionate as us. He started working his a** off and he was amazing. After he joined, we started to actively look into the Dota2 community for other people and it was amazing. From just a few people we went to a nine person team in just over a month! Our work was 100x faster, but somehow more work kept emerging — the whole thing started to become very serious.
Now we have a team, we have tested a huge part of the system (works like a charm), we have vision and focus and we are on our way to success.
To sum everything up for the tl;dr guys

Accelerators are awesome. Ideas are awesome. Get those two together and start an amazing relationship!

About Author

Good Game network, TURN8

Konstantin Velickovic, CEO of Good Game Network

Konstantin was professional gamer  for over 7 years as a leader of two successful gaming teams. Started first business at the age of 16, programming and selling video game servers to the Serbianmarket. Now he leads a gaming startup called Good Game Network.

For inquiries, contact him on his email: cpt.koki@gmail.com

If you are interested in applying for TURN8,

Apply Now

Under patronage of the Russian Business Council, the biggest Russian startup expedition Startup Sabantuy is coming to Dubai.

Startup Sabantuy

The application period is opened.

Under patronage of Russian Business Council (www.rbcdubai.org), the biggest Russian startup expedition Startup Sabantuy is coming to Dubai.

Startup Sabantuy is initiated by the most effective High Technology Park in the Russian Federation called IT-park. It was based 5 years ago in the city of Kazan and few years later in Naberezhnye Chelny, Republic of Tatarstan.

Startup Sabantuy is the international expedition held by IT-park which is aimed to find ambitious technological startups.

Participation is free, registration is required at http://startupsabantuy.ru/

Startup Sabantuy is held fourth time and this year the team of expedition will visit 10 Russian cities (Saratov, Izhevsk, Samara, Ufa, Yaroslavl, Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar, Irkutsk, Chelyabinsk, Petrozavodsk) and 3 foreign countries (The United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Serbia).

Startup Sabantuy is looking for: SaaS & smart cloud, new mobile services and applications, cloud technologies, e-commerce, management and storage of data, corporate and user software, gaming services.

Startup Sabantuy is supported by: RVC fund, Kama Flow, Runa Capital, LETA Capital, Rostelecom, Navigator Found, Russian Business Council in Dubai, Business Emirates, TheCribb.co and TURN8.co.

During the expedition the team of Startup Sabantuy in collaboration with the experts of venture funds will work with the projects providing valuable feedback and mentor support. After what 25 the most promising projects will be selected. These projects will have a chance to participate in Sabantuy CEO CAMP acceleration program, which will be held at IT-park in Naberezhnye Chelny. The program will allow startup founders to gain practical skills which are required for successful operation in technological market.

In addition, all participants of Startup Sabantuy expedition will get a chance to undergo GenerationS pre-acceleration program organized by RVC fund without preliminary selection.

The final step of Startup Sabantuy (Demo Day) will be held on 11th of July, 2015 when selected startups will present their projects to major investors.

Reference:

IT-Park

High Technology Park IT-Park in Kazan and Naberezhnye Chelny is recognized as the most effective Technopark in Russia. 157 companies currently work here. The infrastructure of IT-park includes IT-academy, data-center, business incubator, coworking, hotel, and restaurant. The business incubator of IT-park is the biggest in Russia (total area is 3 thousand sq.m.). The range of business incubator ` s residents became successful IT-companies such as Eidos, Avtodoria, Sprut technology and others.

RVC – government fund established in 2006. The mission of the fund is to encourage Russia’s own VC industry and boost capital of VC funds.

GenerationS – federal accelerator and contest for technological startups hosted by RVC since 2013.

RIS Ventures is a partnership of investors, CEOs and founders of technology companies. The company provides tools and instruments for the development of technology businesses. The clients of RIS Ventures are Kaspersky Lab, Abbyy, Quest Software, Softline and other IT companies. RIS Ventures developed and held startup acceleration and development programs for IT-park, Ingria Business Incubator, IIDF and ITMO University.

The Cribb

The Cribb is a business incubator where innovative startups from around the world work side by side in an exciting and creative environment! The Cribb offers complete entrepreneurial resources, meeting and event space, a training facility, a computer lab, a cafe, and a lounge, all of which encourage networking and fun as well as work. The Cribb aims to help young innovators develop their business ideas in support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Dubai. In addition to hosting entrepreneurs from the community, The Cribb is home to the TURN8 Startup Accelerator program, i360 Accelerator as well as couple of international brands such as Tripadvisor, Profusion, Pressella, International Award.

Visit www.thecribb.co or call +971 4 319 7645 for membership information.

TURN8

TURN8 is a program launched by DP World to foster a global entrepreneurial and innovation culture in the UAE. The aim is to inject entrepreneurial know-how and accelerate commercialise-able ideas to market. This revolutionary program strategically scouts for early stage ideas and concepts from around the world that can be refined and brought to market through the TURN8 seed accelerator. Visit http://www.turn8.co/.

Russian Business Council

Russian Business Council in Dubai and North Emirates (RBC) is a non-government organization, which represents interests of the Russian business community in the UAE and promotes international businesses within Russia.

RBC has been founded in October 2009 and registered in September 2010 under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce with the approval of Government of Dubai and the Russian Embassy in the UAE.

RBC is a dynamic, business focused member based organization that was established to support and promote business and investment opportunities between Russia and the Middle East.

Russian Emirates

«Russian Emirates» Publishing & Advertising Company was founded in Dubai in May 2004 on the base of the similarly named website created in 2001. At present, the Company consists of Russian Emirates Publishing House, which publishes three best magazines in Russian language. Based in the UAE and works in cooperation with Russia and other former Soviet Union Republics, «Russian Emirates» holds leading positions in the Russian-speaking media market.

Engines of innovation: TURN8

TURN8 Demo Day

Cassette tapes, VHS tapes, and transistor radios. Just three examples of home electronics and consumer items we would be using today if there hadn’t been a few visionaries willing to pursue innovative ideas which seemed unthinkable at the time.

Innovation has been a vital driver of progress, and with 2015 being market as Dubai’s Year of Innovation, the UAE has plans to put itself at the forefront of the ever-changing tech landscape.

In a recent column, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum himself stated that governments and companies had no other option: “Their choice is simple: innovate, or become irrelevant,” he wrote.

However, should the responsibility for driving innovation forward be carried solely by the government or is a holistic approach by all stakeholders in a society needed to produce meaningful results?

A significant number of current executives in the UAE are willing to follow in the government’s footsteps, with 89 percent perceiving innovation as a positive force which has contributed to better living standards for people in the country, according to the recently published fourth edition of the GE Global Innovation Barometer.

Nevertheless, the research further suggests that it is a public institution which has an eye for an ‘innovative’ detail in 40 percent of cases. Their initiatives are followed by only 26 percent of multinationals.

Looking specifically at the world’s largest companies and market power they usually enjoy, it seems reasonable that not so many of them recognise the need to encourage creative behaviours and disruptive processes outside their own R&D departments.

Yet there are exceptions. A number of transformative companies worldwide are willing to be engines of innovation within their societies. One of them is DP World, the Dubai-based world’s third largest port operator.

“It should happen from both sides,” said Yousif Al Mutawa, chief information officer at DP World and Turn8’s accelerator programme director, on the sidelines of the accelerator’s third Private Investor Demo Day event held recently at the Grosvenor House Hotel.

“The government has to play a very strong role but large corporations also have responsibility not only to the community but also because their own future is under question mark unless they innovate.

“For them to innovate, it’s not only about internal R&D but also about looking at trends and maybe acquiring some new solution that may lead them to their new core business in future.

“The corporates always look at competition and compare themselves to them but disruption doesn’t come from competition. It usually comes from places you least expect, from a start-up or a completely other industry.

“Unless they understand that, it will be difficult for them to transform themselves.”

Although its operations span across 65 locations around the world, DP World has found stepping beyond traditional business improvement models by taking the risk of nurturing entrepreneurship in the UAE to be an important part of its own ability to innovate successfully.

Seed accelerator TURN8 is a prime example of this innovation process.

“DP World has been a pioneer [in the region],” continued Al Mutawa.

“We’ve started this [TURN8] because we need to think about how the world is changing and how we can adapt ourselves to this change.

“Also, how we can cultivate the culture of innovation within our own corporates, and then Dubai and then the UAE.”

Al Mutawa spoke while 12 tech start-up founders from TURN8’s Fall 2014 class were preparing to pitch to regional and international investors at the Demo Day.

DP World launched TURN8 in April 2013 as a seed accelerator programme aimed at seeking ingenious ideas that can be refined and brought to market through a 120-day seed accelerator.

It has delegated the day-to-day management of the accelerator to Innovation 360, a Dubai-based innovation management firm, founded in 2008 by Kamal Hassan who aimed to help regional enterprises and governments improve their innovation strategy, execution and leadership.

Although his ‘real’ job was supposed to be a researcher and an associate scientist at the University of California in San Francisco, or as he explains a “lab rat”, Hassan spent two and a half decades supporting and occasionally financing SMEs in Silicon Valley.

When the MENA region started looking for entrepreneurial solutions seeking to diversify its economy, Hassan returned from the US to launch his Dubai-based innovation and entrepreneurship think-tank, the Innovation 360 Institute.

Drawing on this vast start-up-related experience in both Silicon Valley and the UAE, Hassan told StartUp on the sidelines of the event that for innovation in the region to flourish, the private sector would need to open its doors to entrepreneurs.

“The opportunities are there but corporates have to understand that the way forward is not to build innovation in-house but to actually do ‘acqhire’ [the neologism created from a combination of the words acquire and hire],” he said.

“To acquire and hire is a model pursued by corporates which are looking for talented entrepreneurs. They acquire their start-ups at a very interesting valuation but they know that in the long run this is the best way.”

Originally coined by Rex Hammock, a US entrepreneur, in 2005, the term quickly picked up traction when it was noted that tech companies such as Google, Apple or Nokia were purchasing start-ups primarily to hire their founders.

Facebook has been the largest performer of talent acquisitions with the latest being its purchase of WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service, for $22 billion (£13.7 billion) in cash and stock. As part of the deal, WhatsApp co-founder and chief executive Jan Koum has joined Facebook’s board.

“Today, a start-up in the US can easily sell to a big brand name. It’s easy for them to go and build relationship with big corporates because these corporates are looking for innovations. They know that now they cannot build everything in-house,” Hassan continued.

“If you look at all the big corporates [in the US], they all have venture arms. We don’t see that here, with the exception of DP World and few others.

“Today, if a start-up or an inventor wants to go to talk to a corporate, there are a lot of restrictions on selling, procurement models are not really advanced.

“We need to create a pull system which allows start-ups to come up with businesses knowing there is a market for them.”

For that reason, the TURN8 programme begins with an online and event-based international scouting campaign, followed by a 120-day long training when the chosen start-up founders are invited to Dubai, given workspace and mentoring, and a maximum of $30,000 to develop their ideas.

Reaching the post-accelerator stage with a business-grade investment plan, the start-up teams are then assisted on their quest to obtain funding from various individual or institutional investors. In the meantime, TURN8 starts preparing for another bunch of teams.

Since the inception, the cycle has repeated three times graduating 32 teams. All of them gather at The Cribb, a workspace which was established by TURN8 and i360accelerator in Al Quoz Industrial Area 1.

With its 1,800 sq ft lounge area, a ,2000 sq ft playroom, a 900 sq ft training room, and the availability of i360’s community of mentors, The Cribb has turned into a popular social hub for budding entrepreneurs.

“Better than a master’s degree in business,” said Khalid Al-Jaaidi, co-founder and CEO of Vidium, a Dubai-born free mobile video messaging service, when asked to describe his experience with TURN8 just a few minutes before his pitch.

“Practice trumps theory, and TURN8 has supported us from day zero, and guided us through turning a great idea or an innovation into a business,” he added.

With a number of recent research studies revealing that almost 50 percent of occupations existing today will be completely redundant by 2025, Hassan pointed out that an adequate education on entrepreneurship had still been missing in the region.

“With the exception of certain Arabic countries, most universities are not producing entrepreneurs, they are still concentrated on subjects that produce good workforce but not entrepreneurs,” he said.

“We need to do this because that’s the solution for unemployment and not producing more employees.”

Since Al-Jaadi has pursued his innovative idea, which is to allow mobile users to get genuine first-time reactions to their video messages, secured the support of TURN8 to help him nurture it from a pre-early stage to becoming an early stage start-up, you would expect his post-accelerator journey to be plain sailing.

The fact that his start-up is entering the promising mobile messaging over-the-air market, which is estimated at a total revenue of $45 billion with 2.5 billion users by 2017, might be a reason more to expect increased investors’ interest.

However, there are challenges, as highlighted by Al-Jaaidi.

“I’d say the challenge comes from supporting the ‘early’ stage itself,” he said.

“We have VCs ready for the growth stage, which is a lot less risky and more about exploding, and we have incubators for pre-early.

“The ecosystem is missing people who are serious to back the early stage. It’s a risky stage that many investors shy from.

“Many start-ups are missing the middle link, the investment round, the partnership, the traction that makes or breaks everything.”

Hassan agreed that the biggest challenge in the market related to start-up investment, and said: “We still have very few VCs. Angel investment is also coming up but it’s also weak, and they are not educated yet on how to make angel investment. We need more of all of that.”

Focusing on the volatile start-up market is also a long shot for the regional banking industry whereas, as Hassan started explaining, the banking system in Silicon Valley is playing a vital role in incentivising start-ups.

Founded in 1982, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a US-based high-tech commercial bank, started by collecting deposits from businesses financed through venture capital to expand into banking and financing venture capitalists themselves.

Later on, the bank added services to keep the clients as their company progresses from the earliest stage, when the founders are using seed funding or bootstrap cash, to working with them through all of their growth stages.

And the results speak for themselves – out of KPMG’s list of 50 top start-ups in 2014, half were SVB clients.

“We have start-ups that are as good as the ones in the US. What is lacking is the ecosystem to actually take them to the next level. We need to put them on the global stage,” he said.

When asked how a speed-paced start-up culture fits into the region’s traditionally more conservative and family-oriented business mind-set, Hassan explained that spending decades in building just one company might be outdated in today’s innovation-driven economy.

He said: “Why don’t we allow hundreds of people to build companies and then acquire them and merge them into something that can last as well?

“There are difficulties to understand that around here. That’s why everybody is talking about family businesses. They’ve built them since the 50s and they are still sitting on them.

“It’s great money, but what does it do to diversify economy, resolve unemployment, and cultivate innovation? It’s just making one individual wealthy.”

While Hassan hoped that the next bunch of TURN8 entrepreneurs would focus on robotics, the ‘internet of things’, healthcare, and business to business automation – identifying them as “needed in this market” – Al Mutawa concluded by reiterating DP World’s vision:

“Bringing all those minds in Dubai, growing them into start-ups, and hopefully one or two of those will become the next Google or…It will be something that has happened in Dubai since it’s not just about buying and selling, it’s also about creating knowledge.”

Author: Tamara Pupic, Senior Reporter, StartUp Magazine

Original article you can read here.

 

Technology Start-up Accelerator TURN8 Adds 10 New Companies to Its Portfolio

Dubai-based technology start-up accelerator TURN8 has added ten new companies, bringing its portfolio size to 32 companies.

Companies in the new round represent a number of technology innovations including peer-to-peer marketplaces, on-demand delivery, facilitation of online and offline connections, paperless e-ticketing for events, and healthcare.

TURN8 is an early stage seed accelerator founded by DP World to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship globally, starting with Dubai. Teams are selected from dozens of hopefuls that pitch their ideas at TURN8 events and via an online application.

Selected startups are invited to Dubai for the TURN8 acceleration program, which takes place over four months and includes training, mentorship and an investor demo day for graduates. Each team receives $30,000 in services and seed capital to help them launch their new business.

Kamal Hassan, TURN8 accelerator program director, said: “This is the fourth round of teams that we have hosted in Dubai, and with each round we see more involvement and excitement from the entrepreneurial and investor community, both locally and internationally. It is exciting to see the ecosystem for entrepreneurs come together and watch Dubai grow into a start-up hub.”

The start-up companies that will take part in TURN8 Round 4 include:

Paaltao – a peer-to-peer marketplace for handmade, natural and vintage products from craftsmen and artisans

Swappaholics – an interactive online portal that facilitates the trading of items of similar or equal value

Good Game Network – a web application that matches video gamers of similar skills in competition

Keex – a mobile application that uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to connect people with each other offline

Rishar – a social platform for travelers and commuters that uses big data analysis to improve the ridesharing experience

Melltoo – a peer-to-peer social network for buyers and sellers of second hand items including smartphones, furniture and automobiles

KeepVision – a mobile application designed to monitor school children’s vision using a smartphone

Presella – an event management platform that provides paperless e-ticketing for the MENA region

CABit – a collaborative delivery solution that enables at-home shoppers to have purchases delivered by taxi from specific retailers

NextMart – an online platform that allows consumers to select and order groceries from a website, and receive the goods from the nearest local store

TURN8 Orientation for Round 4 Teams

TURN8 round 4 has started! As always, we scouted for startups all around the globe and we brought the best startup ideas and teams to Dubai to our acceleration program TURN8.

The TURN8 acceleration program is unfamiliar to the new teams, and they may not know what is expected from them at each stage. So to help them understand we always have an orientation meeting at the start of each new round.

What happens at the orientation?

TURN8 teams introduce themselves and give a small pitch about their startup. For round 4, we have ten startups from seven countries!

Vukašin Vukoje and Dušan Zdravković from team Keex.

Vukašin Vukoje and Dušan Zdravković from team Keex.

 

Francis Obirikorang and Michael Ocansey from team Swappaholics.

Francis Obirikorang and Michael Ocansey from team Swappaholics.

 

Giorgi Laliashvili and Zviad Sichinava from team NextMart.

Giorgi Laliashvili and Zviad Sichinava from team NextMart.

 

Konstantin Velickovic and Zorana Lazarevic from team Good Game Network.

Konstantin Velickovic and Zorana Lazarevic from team Good Game Network.

Next, Mohamed Hamdy, TURN8 managing director, provides an introduction about TURN8 and gives them a quick walk through the entire program including phases and gate reviews they have to pass (Design, Prototype, Launch, Deliverables). Teams that succeed in passing all these milestones are invited to pitch to investors on Demo Day to secure further investment and continue to build their dream startup.

Mohamed Hamdy, TURN8 Managing Director

Mohamed Hamdy, TURN8 Managing Director

In addition, Hamdy briefly explains to the teams how the mentorship program works, which is laid out to match our startups with knowledgeable and dedicated mentors to coach them throughout the entire program. He also tells the teams about the series of training we provide. Each workshop is prepared for the teams to cover the areas and topics most important to startups including business model design, corporate structure, digital marketing and many others.

We also make sure that our teams participate in relevant events that could be of benefit to them, such as  pitching competitions, exhibitions and any other events that are important for startups.

TURN8 management and employees are all about helping our accelerated startups achieve unconventional success and amaze the world with their ideas and creations. We invite you to follow their progress on this blog, as well as our social media pages: FacebookTwitter and Google+

If you are interested in applying for TURN8,

Apply Now

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

Reactions only happen once. That’s the motto of Vidium (http://vidiumapp.com/), 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.

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“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.

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“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 SEED ACCELERATOR ANNOUNCES INVESTOR DEMO DAY

A new crop of startup entrepreneurs are preparing to graduate from DP World’s TURN8 Seed Accelerator program. The Fall 2014 class of technology business founders will present to investors and the media at a private Investor Demo Day event on 17 January, 2015.

This is the third round of startups that TURN8 has provided seed funding to and has nurtured from idea to commercialisation in its 120-day program hosted in Dubai. The startup founders in this round come from eight countries including United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Yemen, India, Indonesia, Georgia, Romania and Sri Lanka.

After four months of acceleration, workshops and mentoring, the graduating startups will present their business plans, which range from innovative online platforms and mobile apps to unique hardware applications.

HE Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World and Dubai Ports and Free Zone Corporation, said: “We are keen to support entrepreneurship through programmes such as Turn8 that nurture people with new ideas so they can turn them into commercial projects as part of our role to help build a knowledge based economy that is helping transform Dubai into a global smart city in line with the UAE and Dubai 2021 plan. This will increase the international competitiveness of the country over the long term with innovation and creativity being one of the key drivers of economic growth.”

Yousif Al Mutawa, Chief Information Officer, DP World, said: “This latest round offers another opportunity for investors to engage with more entrepreneurs to help bring their ideas to market and underlines our commitment to support and encourage the development of a culture of innovation and enterprise with Dubai as the hub for such activities.

“DP World supports this initiative in the firm belief that this nation continues to be a place that nurtures and encourages fresh ideas building a smart society where we use technology, innovation and enterprise to drive our ambitions and achieve our goals.”

Round 1 and 2 Demo Days were held in January and June of 2014. Each event attracted regional investors as well as international attention. The TURN8 Investor Demo Day will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel (Tower 1) in Dubai. For more information, visit http://www.turn8.co/demo-day/.

About TURN8

TURN8 is a seed accelerator program organized by DP World and powered by Innovation 360. The program is designed to encourage innovative entrepreneurship worldwide, starting with Dubai. TURN8 seeks ingenious ideas that can be refined and brought to market through a 120-day seed accelerator. Visit http://turn8.co.

TURN8 SEED ACCELERATOR LAUNCHES SEARCH FOR NEW ROUND OF INNOVATIVE START-UPS

Program encourages entrepreneurs to submit their idea online

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, November 24, 2014: Dubai-based TURN8 seed accelerator has commenced the Scouting Phase of its fourth round, searching for early stage technology business ideas at a number of events around the world and via an online portal. 

Founded in 2013 by DP World, TURN8 continues its mission to enhance entrepreneurship and innovation in the region by offering mentorship, training and seed funding to exceptional business start-ups, which it fosters from idea to market as part of a four-month accelerator program in Dubai. 

The TURN8 program seeks innovative businesses or technology ideas in a variety of areas, including Web or mobile applications, e-commerce portals, Arabic content advancements, education and e-learning enhancements, sustainable living technologies, crowdsourced services, social networking innovations and healthcare technologies. 

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply for the program via the online portalIn addition, idea pitching events will be held in select cities including Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as Beirut, Lebanon; Barcelona, Spain; and Nis, Serbia. Winning startups will be invited to Round 4 of TURN8, beginning 1 February, 2015.

Mohamed Elwazer, CEO and Founder of KinTrans and a TURN8 graduate said: “Building your start-up is a very tough process. Entrepreneurs need people around them to offer advice and support, people who you feel really believe in you. I found that with TURN8, and that is what has made KinTrans so successful up to now.” 

For information about Round 4 events, go to http://www.turn8.co/events.

To apply online, visit http://www.turn8.co/apply

About TURN8

TURN8 is a seed accelerator program organized by DP World and powered by Innovation 360. The program is designed to encourage innovative entrepreneurship worldwide, starting with Dubai. TURN8 seeks ingenious ideas that can be refined and brought to market through a 120-day seed accelerator. Visit http://turn8.co.

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!  

TURN8editedinfographic

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