KSA TAQADAM Startup accelerator backed by KSA King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Saudi British Bank (SABB) have invested 100,000 USD in Oman Blockchain startup Cubex, an online marketplace for sea freight, using blockchain to connect buyers and sellers in an auction model. Taqadam previewed 23 startups, eight from Saudi Arabia and 15 international as well as 58 founders during its annual TAQADAM Startup Accelerator Showcase. Startups were selected from the TAQADAM 2021 cohort, which included 37 startups and 100 founders.

Oman startup Cubex Global, supported by Oman Technology Fund (OTF), has previously won the UpLink Ocean Solutions Sprint (Marathon of Innovative Oceans’ Solutions award), a competition launched by the World Economic Forum, to recognize the best innovative technology-based ideas to save oceans.

“Saudi Arabia is witnessing unprecedented entrepreneurial activities and transactions, and this year’s TAQADAM showcase was an incredible opportunity to get a preview of what comes next,” This TAQADAM cohort resembles a sample of the unique breed of startups in the ecosystem tackling white spaces with great creativity and passion. These founders are the driver for change and impact in the region and globe.” said Hattan Ahmed, director of KAUST Entrepreneurship Center.

Following founder presentations, the global judging panel including investors from Sukna Ventures, Falak Investment Hub, and HALA Ventures, selected 10 startups to receive $100,000 in funding each. Chosen startups are:

Lablabee — an interactive Telco Cloud skills platform, that makes learning more accessible and attractive for students and professionals.

Nqoodlet — a spending platform that provides instant issuance to multiple payment corporate cards for team members.

Widebot — a platform that offers the most powerful AI engine for Arabic dialects.

Osool — a digital partner that provides property owners with tools to manage their maintenance projects in one cloud platform.

Cubex — an online marketplace for sea freight, using blockchain to connect buyers and sellers in an auction model.

Omniful — a plug-and-play back-office solution that integrates with the software of the client and utilizes the existing resources to help retailers and dark-stores ship orders in 2 to 7 minutes.

Mismar — a platform that connects car owners with service providers to manage their maintenance, repairs, and spare parts needs.

Thya Tech — delivers AI-based computer vision as a service.

Shopi — a retail platform that provides next-generation e-commerce solutions, connecting all inventory channels in a single place.

Swftbox — a marketplace offering faster deliveries for e-commerce retailers by aggregating and crowdsourcing last-mile logistics.

Now in its sixth year, the accelerator aims to develop early-stage entrepreneurs and their concepts into new, high-potential startups from universities across Saudi Arabia and beyond. TAQADAM will be launching its 2022 cohort and will accept 60 startups into its initial accelerator program.

Accelerator participants will receive up to $140,000 in funding, mentorships from industry leaders and an opportunity to join a thriving community of MENA region startups. — SG

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