startAD’s Hardware Venture Launchpad Demo Day Showcases UAE Startups

The first-ever program for hardware startups in UAE bridged the gap between emerging startups and local industry leaders

Press Release

startAD’s Hardware Venture Launchpad, the UAE’s first-ever program for hardware startups, concluded with its Demo Day at NYU Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, December 13. More than 20 teams from emerging hardware companies participated in the program and showcased their concepts to investors, media, and the UAE startup community. Of these, three teams walked away with a prototyping grant that will enable them to further develop their products.

“Unlike software startups, which need little to no upfront capital investment, hardware startups need significant infusion of resources, and a strong business model that has the manufacturing details ironed out before seeing the light of day. It is a challenging task, but startAD is committed to helping to make Abu Dhabi the global epicenter for hardware innovation,” said Ramesh Jagannathan, managing director of startAD and vice provost for innovation and entrepreneurship at NYU Abu Dhabi.

"The global Augmented Reality market share is expected to reach USD 133.78 Billion in 2021, Hardware Encryption Market 413.85 Billion USD by 2022, Medical device and technology market - $530 billion in sales by 2021 and IoT Market is forecast to reach $639.74 billion by 2022. We are talking about a market worth a few trillion dollars in the next five years,” he added.

Among the winners was Maia Systems, led by CEO Saeed Alnofeli and supported by Chief Technology Officer David Khayati and Scientific Advisor Hector Hernandez. They designed a premier real-time data collection and analysis system for optimization of camel racing and training regimens. The system collects speed, location, overall exertion and performance data of racing camels.

The product also improves data collection on a camel’s racing fitness by using an integrated time monitor, location tracker, heart rate sensor, and percent effort monitor in a single hardware unit that wirelessly transfers data to a storage and analytic software application for smart devices, and standardizes the camel industry’s performance benchmarking and valuation process.

Team Stealthy were rewarded for their medtech wearable hardware concept; a jewellery collection designed for women pre and post pregnancy aimed at enhancing their wellbeing. The sensor integrated cognitive jewellery ensures vitamin D and folic acid levels are monitored, safeguarding women against deficiency. The Stealthy app integrates all these features along with encouraging the practice of communal wellness activities. The team responsible for this innovative concept included CEO Nadiya-Keya Siddique and Chief Medical Officer Dr Zakiya-Luna Siddique.

Startup SMADO was declared a winner for its home automation smart device called the SMADO smart lock. This device enables users to control the doors via Bluetooth. All that needs to be done is to stick the device to a door and calibrate it. The team members involved in creating this concept were CEO Midhun V Sankar, CTO Jishnu Parambath and COO Ashin Muhammad.

In addition to the three winning teams who received a prototyping grant, team Project Realise won a trip to Shenzhen, China to work with startAD partner labs and gain exposure to the robust manufacturing ecosystem.

The three winning teams along with Project Realise were also awarded IBM cloud credits of up to $120,000; and stand to be considered for ADvance mentoring and seed funding by startAD. The startAD Hardware Venture Launchpad has been supported by IBM, GE and Crescent Enterprises.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.