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Winners Announced for startAD's AI Venture Launchpad

Shortlisted startups showcased to investors and experts after being selected from more than 200 global applicants

Press Release

startAD, the accelerator and entrepreneurship hub anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by Tamkeen, announced Synx, Pand.ai, and AIMLedge as the winning startups of its inaugural Artificial Intelligence (AI) Venture Launchpad.

Synx, which uses a service that automates time-consuming machine learning processes, allowing data scientists and engineers to train, deploy, and run models at scale, was selected by both Etihad Aviation Group and UAE Exchange as the winning team.

With its pitch, Synx received the Etihad Innovation Kickstarter Award, which will enable the startup to launch a paid proof of concept at the Etihad Innovate Lab. The Synx team will then present their solution to the Etihad Innovation Committee.

 

“startAD is a strategic partner for us in our innovation journey and this is our second time taking part in the Venture Launchpad program. It has been an enriching journey so far. We value the opportunity to interact with seed stage startups who challenge us to look at our business problems with a new lens. We look forward to identifying partners who can present innovative solutions and opportunities to Etihad.”

Digital and Innovation Director at Etihad Aviation Group Tristan Thomas

Synx also won the UAE Exchange Innovation Award, which includes a cash prize of $10,000.

Chief People Officer of UAE Exchange Greg Shuler said: “The visionary policies of the government and active enthusiasm of private organizations in the UAE have created a nurturing environment for innovation to thrive, enabling the UAE to emerge as the hub for innovation in MEA. As an organization which closely engages with the startup community, we are committed to supporting the startup ecosystem in the region with industry engagement support and corporate mentorship opportunities. We see our partnership with startAD as an initiative that opens new avenues for tomorrow’s leaders. I congratulate the participants and the winners of the 10-day rigorous accelerator program.” 

Meanwhile, ADNOC Distribution has backed both Pand.ai and AIMLedge to work on proof of concepts.

Pand.ai builds intelligent chatbots to help companies improve conversion rates of site visitors into customers. Serving a range of sectors, including finance and insurance, Panda.ai are able to realize a tenfold increase in conversions.

AIMLedge, which was established earlier this year in Singapore, works to enable customers to easily develop and deploy customized deep learning solutions. The team specializes in analytics applications for edge devices, and can reduce development times by 80%.

 

"Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning are propelling the growth of entrepreneurial digital economies around the world. Industrial sectors such as aviation, logistics, energy, and finance, which are Abu Dhabi’s strategic competencies, are leading this disruption. startAD and its AI Venture Launchpad program are bringing together cutting-edge global AI startups to scale with Abu Dhabi corporate leaders as well as the academic and entrepreneurship community, positioning the capital as an ecosystem that will lead this change.”

Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NYU Abu Dhabi and the Managing Director of startAD Ramesh Jagannathan

Held in partnership with Etihad Aviation Group, UAE Exchange, and ADNOC Distribution, the AI Venture Launchpad is a 10-day sprint accelerator that provides startups operating across a range of industries with the skills necessary to develop a scalable, repeatable, and commercially viable venture. Other participating startups will also have the opportunity to work on proof of concepts with startAD’s partners.

The AI startups concentrate on disruptive technologies across a range of key sectors, including finance, insurance, regulation, airport operations, predictive maintenance, fuel efficiency, and data analytics. More than 200 startups from around the world applied for startAD’s AI Venture Launchpad, 10 of which were shortlisted and completed the 10-day training session.

Since 2016, 80 startups from 15 countries have graduated from startAD’s Venture Launchpad program, raising more than $4 million in investments and grants.


About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students 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 120 nations and speak over 120 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.