Lightified Receives ALEC Innovation Award at startAD’s Corporate Sprint Accelerator

The winning startup is a professional lighting software-as-a-service (SaaS) marketplace that automates product selection and procurement processes

Press Release

startAD, the global Abu Dhabi-based accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by its partner Tamkeen, announced Lightified as the Corporate Sprint Accelerator program’s winning startup.

A professional lighting software-as-a-service (SaaS) marketplace that automates product selection and procurement processes, Lightfied received the ALEC Innovation Award worth USD 10,000, as a part of the Corporate Sprint Accelerator, which marked its seventh edition virtually this year. The Dubai-based startup’s platform helps save up to two percent of construction costs and 85 percent of the industry’s designers’ time on lighting decisions, as well as generating revenue for manufacturers by connecting them to users. 

The Corporate Sprint Accelerator is aimed at enabling corporates to innovate with global startups disrupting their core businesses, while empowering startups to enter the regional market through pilot projects with leading entities in the UAE. The 2020 program identified 10 startups with strong traction in their home markets and who were best-suited to scale their ventures in the UAE and the wider Middle East. 

Over the last month, these startups have customized their businesses for the local market and built their product-market fit with corporates including ALEC Engineering and Contracting, Oracle Construction and Engineering, and the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC). The program has also granted a number of the startups additional engagement opportunities including potential pilot projects and product integrations. 

Commenting on the Corporate Sprint Accelerator, Research Professor of Engineering, Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship at NYUAD, and Managing Director of startAD Ramesh Jagannathan said: “The construction industry continues to play a central role in the UAE’s economy and is one of the sectors significantly challenged by the global pandemic. Analysts report that the slow productivity growth of one percent per year since 2000 globally indicates the opportunity that technological disruption can bring to the industry locally valued at over USD 1 trillion. Digital technology solutions like AI stand to reduce construction project costs by 45 percent, which is a significant saving for the future development of the engineering and construction sector. The ALEC Innovation Award is an important step in this direction.”


 “AI-led innovation aligned with UAE priority sectors continues to be the focus of startAD’s Corporate Sprint Accelerator, enabling large-scale corporations and global tech startups to work together in developing ground-breaking solutions addressing critical business needs.”

Research Professor of Engineering, Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship at NYUAD, and Managing Director of startAD Ramesh Jagannathan

“ALEC takes innovation very seriously and we are differentiated by our culture that nurtures innovation. Our partnership with startAD is a testament to our commitment towards leading innovation within our industry and continuing to collaborate with the brightest minds. We are thrilled to announce six startup engagements at the Corporate Sprint Accelerator. These ventures will be working with dedicated champions who have had previous experiences implementing different initiatives and digital projects across the industry."

Innovation Manager at ALEC Engineering and Contracting Imad Itani

The startups’ technology-focused products and concepts included wireless Internet of Things (IoT) devices that monitor the strength of materials, wearable smart devices for process improvements, data science as a service for complex projects, ad data twin technologies, mobile facial recognition, project visualization, software as a service (SaaS) for process optimizations, and health and safety management platforms, among several others.

Announcement of ALEC Innovation Award at the startAD Corporate Sprint Accelerator virtual Showcase Day

“Receiving both the ALEC Innovation Award and the opportunity to pilot with the company is a huge achievement for us as they are a major player in the construction industry. We are now looking to implement our technology, to learn from their team, and basically refine our product. We know that if it’s working for them, then it’s going to work for a lot of the rest of our users. It’s a fantastic opportunity with them: the pilot is on a project that is very exciting, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Founder of Lightified Rupert Tait

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. For this edition of the program, construction-focused investors including CEMEX Ventures and NOVA by Saint Gobain were additionally involved.

For more information about startAD and its various programs, please visit

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.