Key takeaways from Startup Weekend Dubai

Startup Weekend came to Dubai on November 28-30, 2013 at Al Serkal Avenue and what a weekend it was! Following the globally established pattern, anyone with a dream to make it big stepped forward to pitch their ideas to the attendees. The top ideas were voted on and the sixteen teams coalesced around them for a 54 hour dash full of creative, technical and entrepreneurial energy. Finally, with MVP’s in hand and some hopeful proof of market validation, the teams presented their findings to a panel of illustrious judges to determine the top three winners.

At Eureeca we’re intimately involved with startups, providing them with a platform for crowdinvesting which helps overcome one of the greatest hindrances to their success. However, for our CEO Chris Thomas and Head of Business Development Ibrahim Tadros, mentoring startups at the idea formation stage was a breath of fresh air and we at Eureeca are thoroughly impressed with their talent and determination.

Chris says “it was an invaluable experience and a lot of fun.”  While Chris had signed up to mentor teams for six hours, he ended up staying for the full two days. “The pitches were very impressive and even though some ideas weren’t new, each entrepreneur approached the problem from a different angle.”

Another takeaway for Chris was the truly global nature of Startup Weekend. “People had flown in from various parts of the world specifically for this event – Pakistan, Bulgaria, and even the UK. Even though there are Startup Weekend events happening globally, they decided to fly in to this one.  This shows the global reach of Startup Weekend, but also the draw of Dubai.”

One aspect of Startup Weekend that caught us by surprise was the amount of fresh ideas and initiative each team had. Ibrahim noted that the energy was contagious. “I was expecting a lot of the teams to struggle to put together a prototype but was pleasantly surprised that each team had a technical member. I genuinely hope that some of the ideas I saw see the light of day.–”

We wish the best for any of the startups continuing their journey beyond Startup Weekend Dubai. As is with the funding landscape today, many of them will be faced with funding issues, which remains one of the greatest obstacles to any startup’s success. We hope they see crowdinvesting as a valuable alternative for them to seek business finance.

Startup Weekend Dubai was organised by Young Arab Leaders, MIT Enterprise Forum and Girls in Tech.

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