GITEX Future Stars Day One

By Nayantara Bhat

GITEX Future Stars

The 2018 avatar of GITEX Future Stars – Dubai’s annual show for techpreneurs around the world – kicked off on October 14 with energetic crowds filling up the Dubai World Trade Center. Future Stars is an offshoot of GITEX Technology Week, which focuses on young companies and is held in parallel with the main show.

Despite the glitz and glamor of the main show, which features massive displays from big-name companies like Microsoft, Saudi Telecommunications, and Hewlett-Packard, the smaller venue where Future Stars takes place has its own brand of energy. Packed end-to-end with startups from a wide range of sectors – some of them only a few months old – the venue also offers various stages, such as the MUTEK Dome, and attractions for curious visitors.One standout display conceptualized by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre took the shape of a futuristic museum exhibit detailing the UAE’s planned Mars mission in 2020. The exhibit is positioned next to an array of spacetech startups from all over the world, providing a peek into a growing field that until recently was considered impossible for small companies to break into.

One standout display conceptualized by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre took the shape of a futuristic museum exhibit detailing the UAE’s planned Mars mission in 2020. The exhibit is positioned next to an array of spacetech startups from all over the world, providing a peek into a growing field that until recently was considered impossible for small companies to break into.

GITEX Future Stars

Two of the spacetech startups exhibiting at Future Stars hails from Singapore, a place that’s not traditionally associated with space travel. Equatorial Space Industries, founded in 2017, is already planning their first suborbital launch in six months’ time. Aware of the lack of suitable space for rocket launches in Singapore, CEO Simon Gwozdz hopes to find and use land in nearby Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia for this purpose.

Another Singaporean Space Tech startup, Bhattacharya Space Enterprises, hopes to increase general knowledge about space and gamify space exploration through the use of CubeSats – miniaturized satellites measuring 10x10x10 centimeters and made of standard issue electronic components.

Elsewhere, to break up the uniformity of row after row of carefully-categorized startups, the show is peppered with unique hanging basket chairs, small stages for mentorship workshops and talks, large and intriguing displays, and even an air hockey table.

BluePhin, a UAE-based cleantech startup, has created an AI-controlled robot that can trawl small bodies of water like lakes and collect plastic waste, preventing it from reaching the open sea.

BluePhin, a UAE-based cleantech startup, has created an AI-controlled robot that can trawl small bodies of water like lakes and collect plastic waste, preventing it from reaching the open sea.

Day two of the show promises more startups and a new lineup of great speakers and vibrant possibility.