Qatar’s Innovation Hub Accelerates Success of Young Entrepreneurs

During the second edition of its recently-held ‘QSTP technovate’ series, Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) hosted a fireside chat with the founders of Metis Labs, a startup that has benefitted from its various support programmes and is now on its way to Silicon Valley.
Dr Maher Hakim, Managing Director, QSTP, moderated the informal discussion, entitled ‘Metis – The road from Qatar to Silicon Valley: QSTP taking a dream team from local to global’, with Metis members Sabih Bin Wasi, CEO and Design Lead; Rukhsar Neyaz, Frontend Lead; and Jiyda Moussa, Backend Lead.

Introducing the Metis team to the audience, Dr Hakim said: “Our panellists are young entrepreneurs who graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) and were able to establish a fully-fledged enterprise after participating in the QSTP Accelerator programme, later benefiting from funding and incubation through more advanced support mechanisms extended by QSTP.”

“Metis is therefore the result of the sequential progress through QSTP’s accelerator, funding and incubation programmes that supports aspiring entrepreneurs in Qatar and advances the country’s technology development landscape.”

While studying computer science at CMU-Q, a Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university, Bin Wasi realised there was a gap in the academic market. The planning software he and his fellow students were using to map out their studies was not user-friendly or intuitive enough, which led to students feeling frustrated and unsure of the best way to plan their courses over a semester.

After months of research, hard work, and development, the student trio unveiled Metis – software designed for elective-based university curricula where students can pick courses for upcoming semesters that can fulfil their degree requirements.

In order to advance their business idea and gain additional mentorship guidance, the team applied to the QSTP Accelerator programme. As part of this intensive course, the young entrepreneurs underwent 12 months of extensive entrepreneurial training and mentorship in collaboration with the Al Faisal-Carnegie Mellon Innovation Entrepreneurship Center. They were offered the support needed to turn their idea into a commercially viable product, with QSTP’s incubation and funding vehicles helping them to support themselves over 18 months.

Addressing the audience, Bin Wasi said: “Young entrepreneurs are presented with numerous challenges during the early stages of their business. For us, one of these was not having sufficient funding to continue our research and development successfully. QSTP was integral to our success in that aspect, which has helped us grow our business idea.”

The entrepreneurs will leave for the United States later this month to participate in the Alchemist Accelerator, Silicon Valley’s prestigious six-month entrepreneur mentorship programme.

“Tech entrepreneurship is an experimental process that requires guidance to ensure its long-term success, so it’s vital to raise awareness about the incubation and other support programmes available for young entrepreneurs,” Dr Hakim explained.
‘QSTP technovate’ brings together the local tech community to engage in discussions on startups, product and services development, innovation and commercialisation.

QSTP, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), is entering a new phase with a reinvigorated focus on innovative solutions to boost tech entrepreneurship in Qatar. It will now operate as a hi-tech business park that brings together technology innovators under one roof, offering state-of-the-art incubation facilities and consultancy services.