Twelve aspiring tech-startups earned the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a live audience at the highly-anticipated Demo Day of the 12th XLR8 program cycle of Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), held on 28 March.
The community-based event invited entrepreneurs, investors, students, and industry experts to view and assess the commercial viability of the participating team’s tech-based ideas. To further celebrate Qatar’s culture of innovation, members of the public also attended the event. Three winners were selected – ArtLab in first place, Gadgetry City in second place and Sanad in third place.
Running twice a year with a maximum of 30 teams, XLR8 takes tech-based services and products from the ideation stage to a validated, minimum-viable product. The intensive 14-week pre-startup program provides aspiring entrepreneurs with training and mentorship to facilitate and accelerate the transformation of their ideas into tangible business ventures that address current market demands and bridge the gap between innovation and commercialization.
QSTP’s Executive Director, Yosouf Al-Salehi, commented: “With each XLR8 program cycle, we are bolstering Qatar’s pipeline of innovative thinkers and tech creators, whose contributions can not only advance the national entrepreneurial ecosystem, but also help shape the future of technology, businesses, and society in our country and beyond.”
“Congratulations to the winning teams! Every year, the participating teams present impressive and groundbreaking ideas and this year’s cohort is no exception. We look forward to seeing their progression as they move to the startup development stage and, eventually, commercialize their technology product or service, making their way into the mainstream marketplace.”
Demo Day is designed to give XLR8 participants hands-on experience of pitching their tech-based ideas to attract potential investors and launch their startups. The three winning teams will benefit from mentorship from QSTP’s network of industry experts and investors including an office space in QSTP’s Innovation Hub.
Gaetno Pullara, CEO & founder of ArtLab, first place winner, expressed his gratitude to QSTP and said: “After more than 20 years of experience working in the construction field, this is the first time I’m participating in an accelerator program, and QSTP was very helpful throughout this journey. The QSTP XLR8 program helped us to develop a business model, create our value proposition and taught us how to create a concise pitch. I wish everyone can at least experience the XLR8 program once in their lifetime.”
Commenting on ArtLab’s future plans, Pullara continued: “We would like to create a hub with a permanent workshop and a laboratory in Doha where we will use the latest technology in 3D printing to recycle plastic to create interior designs for buildings instead of using gypsum. Our goal is to reduce costs and use more durable and sustainable materials.”
As part of its mission to foster the local innovation ecosystem and boost economic prospects, QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI), supports tech-based entrepreneurship ventures in Qatar through incubation, funding, training, mentorship, and connection to the regional and global tech innovation ecosystem. Via its year-round programs, QSTP works to accelerate product innovation within the private sector and encourages new product development, innovation, and collaboration with QF’s research institutes.
To find out more about the winning teams of the 12th XLR8 Demo Day and all 12 participating startups, please visit https://qstp.org.qa/xlr8/demo-day/