startAD opens applications for Venture Launchpad 2019

Scheduled to run from Apr 20- 30, selected participants are required to attend the full duration of the sprint accelerator.


Abu Dhabi – startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by Tamkeen, has opened applications for its immersive Venture Launchpad sprint accelerator.

Open to Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and hardware startups with solutions for industries including construction and real estate, this edition is organized in partnership with IMKAN, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Abu Dhabi Municipality, and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC). Applications are now open; deadline to apply is March 24.

Scheduled to run from April 20 – 30, selected participants are required to attend the full duration of the sprint accelerator. Startups will have access to a series of free mentorship sessions with leading global experts from prominent organizations including UC Berkley, HAX, and NYU Shanghai, in addition to trainers from startAD and the program’s partners.

Venture Launchpad will end with the Showcase Day, where startups will present their ventures to matched investors and members of the UAE entrepreneurship ecosystem. The winning startup will receive the IMKAN Innovation Award worth $10,000 USD. Meanwhile, all of the accelerator’s selected startups will have the opportunity to secure pilot projects with the program’s partners.

Research Professor of Engineering, Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship, and Managing Director of startAD Ramesh Jagannathan commented: “The global Engineering and Construction (E&C) industry, worth more than $10 trillion per year continues to play ‘catch up’ when it comes to digitalization. There is a total of 4,000 active projects worth an estimated $313.6 billion underway currently in the country, making UAE uniquely poised to lead the digitalization of the sector globally."

“With smart cities enabling greater opportunity for businesses, enhanced citizen engagement and economic development, the UAE is focused on achieving its smart city goals in line with the UAE Vision 2021.Venture Launchpad aims to support these goals by providing construction and real estate startups with a unique opportunity to advance these sectors. By partnering with key government and corporate entities such as IMKAN, we are able to foster startups, validate their businesses and collectively work towards building the UAE as a smart innovation hub,” he concluded.

CEO of IMKAN Walid El-Hindi added: “We are proud to be a partner within NYUAD’s accelerator, startAD.  As the Launchpad’s first real estate development partner in the program’s history, we view our desire to support young companies through mentorship and exposure to institutional knowledge as mutually invaluable. Not only is there an extraordinary return for IMKAN, but our involvement will likewise bolster the development of the start-up ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, thus supporting a major tenet of the Emirate’s 2030 Vision Plan. The power of co-creating with entrepreneurial and young thinkers has immeasurable potential for the innovative trajectory of our company.”

The sprint accelerator immerses startups in robust local customer discovery and validation activities through trainings, partner roundtables, investor pitches, and ecosystem showcases.

Since the first cycle in September 2017, participating startups have raised $8 million in investment, secured numerous pilot projects, and have been recognized with global design and product awards.


About startAD

startAD is an Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator steering seed-stage technology startups to launch, develop, and scale their ventures. Anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi and powered by Tamkeen, an Abu Dhabi government owned company, the accelerator equips startups to pilot solutions with industry leaders, while enabling corporates to innovate with startups disrupting their core businesses. 

startAD has the unique domain expertise and state-of-the-art facilities to develop startups with a focus on hardware and AI, as well as other solutions in priority industries including aviation, energy, sustainability, construction, and security. Enrolled startups benefit from  startAD’s extensive range of programs and global network of investors, mentors, and experts, in addition to access to startAD’s seed fund for local startups.

About Tamkeen

Tamkeen is an Abu Dhabi Government-owned company that delivers projects to meet the Government of Abu Dhabi’s vision of knowledge-based development. This is achieved by collaborating with a variety of local and international institutions to enrich the Emirate’s social, cultural and educational infrastructure in line with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from 120 nations and speak over 120 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.

© Press Release 2019

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