Ibtikari's Eight Shortlisted Startups Announced

Members of the judging panel.

Startups include DirectSchool, Jamaliki, Meet the Locals, ReHome, Solarino Energy Solutions, Malena, Vendors, and Artelus

Press Release

startAD and Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development revealed eight startups across a range of sectors and industries that have been shortlisted for the fourth edition of Ibtikari (My Innovation). Taking place until 31 March 2019, Ibtikari will provide five from the eight startups an intensive six-month incubator at startAD, the accelerator and entrepreneurship hub anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by Tamkeen.

The startups include Artelus, an artificial intelligence company that seeks to bring healthcare to roughly one billion people around the world who lack access to basic services; DirectSchool, a scalable mobile app that aims to provide children with safe transport to and from schools; Jamaliki, an online platform that provides access to beauty services throughout the Middle East region; and Meet the Locals, a social tourism startup that will connect tourists with Emiratis.

Also among the eight apps are ReHome, an app that provides people of determination with smart solutions and renovations in their homes; Solarino Energy Solutions, which provides homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to solar energy; Malena, the first mobile application for booking cosmetic and dental surgeries; and Vendors, which helps local businesses sell online by providing them with necessary tools.


“I would like to congratulate each and every one of the talented teams in the shortlisted startups for their successes in the face of strong competition from 100 submissions. These world-class initiatives represent the continuous development of the UAE’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. At startAD, we are proud to be playing a supporting role in driving such growth and innovation by equipping Emiratis with the necessary tools and skillsets to scale their ventures.”

NYU Abu Dhabi Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Associate Dean of Engineering, and startAD Managing Director Ramesh Jagannathan

“The revamped Ibtikari is the result of our strategic partnership with startAD, established in line with our vision to be at the forefront of instilling leadership qualities among our citizens. It is a major addition to our comprehensive range of initiatives and programs designed to meet the requirements of innovative entrepreneurs seeking to establish and expand their frontiers in this country. Our collaboration with startAD seeks to enhance the competitiveness and encourage the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises, while supporting the spirit of entrepreneurship, creativity, and innovation among our youth. We believe that we contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the UAE by recognizing innovation and creativity at all levels and encouraging innovative and sustainable growth within the SME community.”

CEO of Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development His Excellency Abdulla Al Darmaki

Now in its fourth edition, Ibtikari has a new structure that includes three distinct phases: mentorship, network introductions, and investment readiness.

The participating teams will attend a series of training sessions and one-on-one meetings with Ibtikari’s mentors. The program will then facilitate introductions to key corporate partners, prospective clients, and experts in the industry locally and in New York City to help startups expand their network and advance their businesses. Participants will also be considered for potential financial and non-financial support from Khalifa Fund if they meet the criteria.

The program’s third phase will focus on investment readiness evaluation; startAD’s investment advisors will schedule regular meetings with the teams to provide detailed feedback on their business model and external investments it could likely attract. The five selected finalists will be given access to startAD’s prototyping facilities and co-working space at NYU Abu Dhabi throughout the duration of the program.

Ibtikari is one of Khalifa Fund’s core initiatives supported by startAD, which aspires to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UAE and enable the development of technology startups in emerging and significant local industriessuch as energy, aviation, logistics, fintech, and smart transportation.

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.