TrustChip and Pivot win startAD’s DeepTech 2020 Program

Group photo of all teams at virtual showcase day.

The seven-week DeepTech program develops cutting-edge research projects into entrepreneurial ventures

Press Release

TrustChip, a startup focused on preventing intellectual property theft in the chip design industry; and Pivot, a startup focused on predicting and quantifying property risks from hazards such as climate change and sea level rise, have each won the Innovation Grant of USD 10,000 in the DeepTech 2020 Program by startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), and powered by its partner Tamkeen. The DeepTech program helps drive progress in UAE priority industries by creating entrepreneurial opportunities from pioneering NYUAD research, and enabling these technological innovations to be available to the wider market.

Now in its second edition, the 2020 DeepTech program worked with eight research projects ranging from map-based AI platforms for rapid tracing, testing, and tracking of infectious diseases including COVID-19, to firefighting drones designed for skyscrapers. Over seven weeks, the program trained teams on entrepreneurial principles that can enable startup growth. 

Speaking on the conclusion of the DeepTech program, Research Professor of Engineering, Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship at NYUAD, and Managing Director of startAD Ramesh Jagannathan, said: “Investment in groundbreaking innovations has soared over the past five years, with global private investment in scientific entrepreneurism, or deep tech, having risen by 22 percent to USD 17.8 million in 2018. Abu Dhabi is poised to become a global technology innovation brand and Deeptech innovations by definition create brands. A truly impactful educational institution is not just about academic scholarship, it redefines the quality of life through paradigm-altering contributions to society and economy. Developing new solutions in the deeptech arena presents an exciting opportunity for researchers, entrepreneurs, and for the wider MENA ecosystem to make new scientific discoveries and bring them out of the laboratory and into homes and businesses across the world.”


“Through the DeepTech program, startAD is committed to unlock the entrepreneurial possibility of some of the most cutting-edge developments from the NYUAD community. My congratulations to TrustChip and Pivot for their success during this program; I look forward to seeing the future development of their projects.”

Ramesh Jagannathan

Commenting on winning the 2020 DeepTech program, Jiayun Sun, founder at Pivot said: “Through our customer discovery and interactions with other partners at the DeepTech Program, we learned how to channel our solution to be more meaningful in addressing current gaps in the industry. Winning the Innovation Grant has been very encouraging and I'm looking forward to further developing our project with startAD. Speaking from my personal experience, I always had an interest in entrepreneurism, however had reservations to explore it due to the perception about entrepreneurship among researchers. I recommend fellow research colleagues to explore research commercialization. It will change your perspective of startups from a highly practical point of view."

Marios Sazos, a founder at TrustChip, and one of the winners of the 2020 DeepTech program, commented on his experience, saying: “The DeepTech program has been a great opportunity to gain the skills and learn the mindset of an entrepreneur. We are excited about winning the startAD Innovation Grant and are confident to take further steps in commercializing our technology and making it more relevant to the needs of the market." 

Since the foundation of startAD in 2016, it has worked with 20 leading UAE entities. Participants of the program have raised USD 50 million in investment, secured 50 pilot projects with corporations, and created over 250 jobs worldwide.

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.