Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald:

startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by Tamkeen, has opened applications for its immersive Venture Launchpad sprint accelerator.

Open to Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and hardware startups with solutions for industries including construction and real estate, this edition is organized in partnership with IMKAN, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Abu Dhabi Municipality, and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC). Applications are now open; deadline to apply is March 24.

Scheduled to run from April 20 – 30, selected participants are required to attend the full duration of the sprint accelerator. Startups will have access to a series of free mentorship sessions with leading global experts from prominent organizations including UC Berkley, HAX, and NYU Shanghai, in addition to trainers from startAD and the program’s partners.

Venture Launchpad will end with the Showcase Day, where startups will present their ventures to matched investors and members of the UAE entrepreneurship ecosystem. The winning startup will receive the IMKAN Innovation Award worth $10,000 USD. Meanwhile, all of the accelerator’s selected startups will have the opportunity to secure pilot projects with the program’s partners.

Research Professor of Engineering, Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship, and Managing Director of startAD Ramesh Jagannathan commented: “The global Engineering and Construction (E&C) industry, worth more than $10 trillion per year continues to play ‘catch up’ when it comes to digitalization. There is a total of 4,000 active projects worth an estimated $313.6 billion underway currently in the country, making UAE uniquely poised to lead the digitalization of the sector globally.”

“With smart cities enabling greater opportunity for businesses, enhanced citizen engagement and economic development, the UAE is focused on achieving its smart city goals in line with the UAE Vision 2021.Venture Launchpad aims to support these goals by providing construction and real estate startups with a unique opportunity to advance these sectors. By partnering with key government and corporate entities such as IMKAN, we are able to foster startups, validate their businesses and collectively work towards building the UAE as a smart innovation hub,” he concluded.

CEO of IMKAN Walid El-Hindi added: “We are proud to be a partner within NYUAD’s accelerator, startAD.  As the Launchpad’s first real estate development partner in the program’s history, we view our desire to support young companies through mentorship and exposure to institutional knowledge as mutually invaluable. Not only is there an extraordinary return for IMKAN, but our involvement will likewise bolster the development of the start-up ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, thus supporting a major tenet of the Emirate’s 2030 Vision Plan. The power of co-creating with entrepreneurial and young thinkers has immeasurable potential for the innovative trajectory of our company.”

The sprint accelerator immerses startups in robust local customer discovery and validation activities through trainings, partner roundtables, investor pitches, and ecosystem showcases.

Since the first cycle in September 2017, participating startups have raised $8 million in investment, secured numerous pilot projects, and have been recognized with global design and product awards.

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