San Francisco-based 500 Startups, the most active global early stage venture capital firm, and Misk Innovation recently hosted their first-ever Digital Demo Day to mark the conclusion of the third cohort of the Misk500 Accelerator Program for 16 high-caliber startups. Following the government lockdown regulations, the in-person event transitioned to a digital format for the health and safety of the founders and the wider entrepreneurial community.
As part of the revised strategic plan, the high-profile event was streamed on YouTube, as well as on 500 Falcons and Misk Innovations social media channels. Approximately 12,000 viewers which included investors, government representatives, members of the media, and ecosystem stakeholders from across the MENA region and beyond, watched the presentations.
The two-hour program had a fully packed agenda with Christine Tsai, Founding Partner and CEO of 500 Startups, delivering the opening keynote address which highlighted 500’s mission to uplift people and economies through entrepreneurship--a commitment that is even more critical during these difficult times. This was followed by an update by Sharif El-Badawi, Managing Partner, MENA, 500 Startups, on the success of the Misk500 Accelerator program and its positive influence on the rapidly growing Saudi startup ecosystem, in particular, and the MENA region at large.
Founder presentations kicked-off to a great start with a diverse group of 16 startups from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Jordan. The presentations were followed by a panel of prominent investors who gave key insights into industry trends, and Misk500 Batch 1 graduates who offered important market lessons.
Prior to Demo Day, events company Eventtus created private channels on the 500 Startups App for each startup to interact with attendees and share demo videos, team bios and more.
Commenting on the event, Sharif El-Badawi said:
“We are delighted to have successfully hosted an exciting and memorable one-of-a-kind Demo Day. This batch certainly faced unimagined and unexpected difficulties, but their resilience and determination is a testament to the strength of these founders and it is our genuine pleasure to introduce them to a record number of global, regional and local high-profile audience in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“Holding demo day on a virtual scale was a challenge, but it turned out to be an advantage. More attendees engaged with founders than we expected. We look forward with confidence to see great partnerships come to fruition in the near future. It is evident that these companies offer key solutions that can be adapted in the wider technology world.”
500 Startups launched The Misk500 Accelerator in collaboration with Misk Innovation in January 2019. The program helps early stage tech companies scale. Founders have access to a dedicated Entrepreneur in Residence, one-on-one mentoring with successful founders, pitch coaching, investment readiness programs, investor introductions, as well as the 500 Falcons team. To date, 53 pre-seed and seed stage startups across three batches have graduated from the program with most of them having already raised funds to scale their business to the next level.
The 16 innovative startups that participated in Digital Demo Day include:
- Ajeer: an on-demand marketplace connecting homeowners with trusted maintenance service providers at competitive level of price and quality.
- Appgain: is SaaS that helps mobile marketers get more users and improve retention in one single platform.
- Bankiom: is digital bank that allows you to open a current account and get issued a virtual debit card, on your phone... in 3 minutes or less!
- Bondai: is the first marketplace to help group travellers to discover and book curated experiences in Saudi Arabia.
- Circle: is a mobile app that enables property managers to better engage with their tenants, handle their requests and reduce operational costs.
- Coveti: brings front row fashion at your doorstep with a click of a button.
- DigitaSport: is SaaS that helps sports teams and leagues build their own mobile app to engage with their fans inside and outside venues.
- ElCoach: an on-demand fitness app for MENA. We use AI to create custom fitness and nutrition plans—unique to each user—based on their current stats, workout preferences, and health goals.
- Elva: is the only fully remote medication management and monitoring solution with 7 granted patents that can work with any existing medication.
- Johrh: is the leading online abaya store in the GCC, selling a range of quality designs at affordable prices.
- MWJ: is a marketplace to buy new and pre-owned certified luxury watches in Saudi Arabia.
- Tammwel: is your online gateway to find the best personalised loans for all your needs with instant approval decision.
- Tasaira: is a mobile app that helps Saudi drivers get tailored quotes from trusted repair shops.
- Wee: is the first Saudi provider for electrical scooter sharing services.
- Wuilt: is a website builder where you can create your own Arabic website in under 5 minutes.
- Yovza: is SaaS that helps construction companies from the MENA region digitize their approval workflow to save 70% of their time & efforts presently involved.