With Dubai planning to become the smartest city in the world by 2021, the government is backing Startupbootcamp, a European startup accelerator that will work side by side with the city’s plan and help shortlisted startups to come to life. The ten shortlisted startups will be incubated, with a plan to have them expand to various cities within their own countries and across the region. Startupbootcamp kicked off in May and is flying around the world to collect startups from different cities.
So far, the team has visited Austin, Cape Town, Lisbon, Beirut, Cairo, and is currently in Lagos. In July, the team visited Cairo, where they brought twenty startups on board – more than the team has managed to recruit in any other city – to join the accelerator in Dubai. We speak Sarah Shokr, who is responsible for the Egyptian arm of Startupbootcamp’s marketing.
“Startups can be involved in smart government apps, smart retail, urban mobility, or anything that makes city life easier,” Shokr tells progrss. “We are currently in the recruitment phase and have collected 10 to 12 startups from each city we have visited, with an exception of 20 startups from Cairo.” The team will also be visiting Morocco, Nairobi, Jeddah, Dubai, Amman, Dublin, Stockholm, Riga, Singapore, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Athens, and Kiev. Even startups that aren’t able to physically attend the meet-ups in their cities are allowed to register online.
The program aims to accelerate 40 innovative startups working in the fields of Internet-of-Things, connectivity, urban automation, smart transportation, open city data, sustainable cities, living, smart government, and smart retail. Anyone with a startup from anywhere in the world can join until September 15, when applications will be closed; startups will be selected between October 11 and 12.
In October, the 40 runners up will be awarded with a three month acceleration program coupled with mentorship in the colorful working space of the incubator Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Centre (DTec) located in the city’s wannabe Silicon Valley, Silicon Oasis (DSOA). Afterward, the program will select the best 10 startups, providing them with office space in DTec. Startups will receive mentoring from high profile industry experts, access to corporate partners in addition to $20,000 capital investment, as well as access to Startupbootcamp’s global network of mentors, investors, and VCs.
“In order for a startup to fit in as a winner, it must mainly fit in these three criteria: it must be a scalable business that has both plans and potential to grow, it must be inclined to expand within the UAE and the Gulf and must be an existing business model with a prototype – not just an idea of startup,” Shokr lists down.
Other than DTec, DSOA and governmental institutions like Smart Dubai, Startupbootcamp Smart City is supported by the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company rebranded as “du,” Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce, Orange Business Services, VISA, and Dubai’s branch of New York’s Rochester Institute of Technology.