startAD Gears up for Second Edition of Hardware Venture Launchpad

Deadline for UAE and global early-stage hardware startups looking to apply is April 15

Press Release

startAD, the innovation and entrepreneurship platform anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, has issued a final call for innovative startups to apply for the second edition of the hardware Venture Launchpad before the approaching deadline of April 15.

The hardware Venture Launchpad is an immersive 10-day entrepreneurship program that will help startups develop a scalable, repeatable, and capital efficient venture from April 29 to May 9, 2018. The initiative is open to UAE and global early-stage hardware startups and is free of charge to accepted teams.

Held in partnership with ADNOC Distribution, Etihad Aviation Group, and Crescent Enterprises, the program is set to culminate in an exclusive Investor Day where the top 10 teams will receive private one-on-one facetime with 10 UAE investors. Finalists will also win a prototyping grant and be considered for investment and ADvance mentoring by startAD, including the opportunity to build their prototype at Al Warsha, the startAD lab.

NYU Abu Dhabi Research Professor of Engineering, Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and startAD Managing Director Ramesh Jagannathan, said: “startAD is focused on developing hardware based innovations, leveraging latest advances in AI and machine learning, as a potential regional core competency. startAD’s strategic partnerships with Etihad Airways and ADNOC Distribution are expected to accelerate and strengthen this vision, and provide a landing zone for successful startups in these key sectors.”

Jagannathan continued: “For example, ‘on demand, full service mobile automobile care’ is disrupting the consumer and professional transportation industry  through key innovations in the hardware space such as smart and safe fuel delivery and dispensation. Aviation industry is heating up with startups that are also now developing low cost, wearable, head-mounted, near-to-eye displays for aircraft pilots, including augmented reality systems, with potential to transform the industry." 

In addition to refining their prototypes, startups accepted into the program will gain a deeper understanding of design thinking methodologies, go-to-market strategies, financial planning including valuation and funding as well as the chance to connect with manufacturing sources and prototyping labs in China.

Promising hardware startups with the vision and drive to build a successful company and who have a tested concept, initial prototype/product and an initial team can apply through the startAD website -

About startAD

startAD is an innovation and entrepreneurship platform, anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, that supports early stage startups in the UAE.  In collaboration with Tamkeen, an Abu Dhabi Government-owned company, startAD seeks to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UAE by offering core programs and entrepreneurship initiatives. Available exclusively to nationals and residents of the UAE, these programs enable the development of technology startups in emerging local industries of strategic importance to the UAE such as energy, aviation, logistics, fintech, smart transportation and facilitate investment in local-based startups.

Selected startups that display outstanding potential and promise may also benefit from ADvance mentoring and seed funding from startAD to help scale their businesses.

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About Tamkeen

Tamkeen is an Abu Dhabi Government-owned company that delivers projects to meet the Government of Abu Dhabi’s vision of knowledge-based development. This is achieved by collaborating with a variety of local and international institutions to enrich the Emirate’s social, cultural and educational infrastructure in line with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

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.