Doha – Qatar
International investors have injected QAR 22.6 million ($6 million) in start-up companies from Qatar, India, Turkey and the US at ‘Make the Deal’, the startup investor matchmaking event, held on the sidelines of Qatar IT Conference & Exhibition (QITCOM) 2019, organized by Ministry of Transport and Communication.
Out of 228 startups – 143 local and 85 international – who pitched their companies, 15 walked away with up to QR 22.6.
The investors, 79 international and 31 local, included IDA capital, Globvestor and Partners, Alfa Ventures and Turk Telecom.
Duha Al Buhendi Digital Incubation Center Manager, commented. “We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to all our winning startups, and thank the investors for their belief in these budding projects. In this third edition of Make the Deal we are delighted to bring together startups and investors from so many countries across the globe. Beyond the financial investments made to these young innovators, we were also pleased at DIC to provide mentoring and guidance in the lead-up to the pitching phase. We look forward to working with those entrepreneurs who decide to become incubated at DIC to harness emerging technologies and create innovative products, solutions, or services that will contribute to Qatar’s digital economy.”
The highest investment of $2 million went to Avanti Learning Centres, an Indian company that takes over small schools, installs learning technologies and trains teachers on them. According to Director and Co-Founder Akshay Saxena, the company started off ten years ago as a charity, working to help students in India get into college. In 2014 they registered as a company, creating machine-assisted learning algorithms that helped students improve their achievements rates by 30%.
“We’ve licensed our product to the Indian government and reached 60,000 students around India. Our goal is to reach 100,000 in 5 years, and that is what we will put this investment to,” commented Saxena.
Driven by MoTC’s Digital Incubation Center (DIC), the third edition of Make the Deal forms an integral part of the Entrepreneurship Zone of QITCOM 2019, held this week at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC).
The programme aims to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship and investment and is an opportunity to connect high-impact technology startups with local, regional and international investors. Before the event, all shortlisted participants were individually mentored by global experts on pitch presentations. The final business pitches were made to investors at the QITCOM Innovation Theatre, where the winners were awarded with investment deals and incubation offers.
Held under the theme ‘Safe Smart Cities’, QITCOM 2019 dedicated an Entrepreneurship Zone to boost investor-startup relationships, inviting innovators and professionals to learn about digital entrepreneurship. Around 300 entrepreneurs participated in the Entrepreneurship Zone activities this year, with 100 local, regional and international startups showcasing their products and services across 5 key platforms: Make the Deal, Idea Camp, Code Camp, Startup Hub and the Innovation Theatre.