Monday, June 1, 2020

GITEX Future Stars Day Four: Racing to the Finish Line


The startup wing of Dubai’s massive tech show comes to a close

Slam Dunk? GITEX Future Stars wraps up on October 17 after four days of pitches, investor meetings, and networking.

After four action-packed days at the GITEX Future Stars show in Dubai, hundreds of early-stage companies around the world began the final push to secure funding, raise awareness for their products, or achieve other goals.

Future Stars, while not as heavily trafficked as the main GITEX show, still boasted a large number of tech enthusiasts and investors, and opportunities for founders to pitch, present, and otherwise showcase their companies. Many companies hoped to expand into the United Arab Emirates, while UAE-based startups sought out investment, with some even launching their platforms during the show.

Vesna, a UAE-based healthtech startup working towards breast cancer prevention, said that their booth received a lot of foot traffic, as their idea of creating a virtual assistant to guide women through self-examinations and next steps was new to most visitors.

The Little Cat is equipped with a laser pointer, the positioning of which can be controlled by an app. The higher up the wheel it’s placed, the faster the cat will run.

South Korea-based startup the Little Cat could be seen from across the hall thanks to the three giant bejeweled hamster wheels sitting in front of their booth. Founder and CEO Daeyong Kim came up with the idea for a weight control device for cats after his own cat passed away from obesity-related issues. Representatives at the startup’s booth commented that their goal was to find a distributor in the UAE and begin commercially retailing their product. In this regard, they were successful and received a few offers from distributors.

Izabella Naessa, founder of social enterprise solution provider GetBee, says that the goal for her company was to build awareness and meet investors to grow the company. GetBee gives small businesses and social enterprises with fewer resources access to professional lawyers, doctors, and consultants by setting up low-cost video calls through their platform.

“We really want to showcase and create exposure about what we are doing, but get investment too of course, because we have to shift gear and need investors to grow faster,” said Naessa.

While some responses were mixed, the startups exhibiting at Future Stars have largely come away better off than when they arrived.

“Somehow, it could have been better,” Naessa adds, “but they created schedules to have meetings with some of the investors, which was nice. We’re going to have other meetings outside GITEX, but GITEX made those connections possible.”

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