IBM SmartCamp2016: Dubai

More About SmartCamp

IBM SmartCamp is a global pitch competition for early-stage startups hosted by IBM and LAUNCH. This year, SmartCamp stopped in 30 cities around the world. Six Applicants were invited in each city to participate in a half-day startup bootcamp followed by a live pitch competition.

Ten global semi-finalists are invited as VIPs to San Francisco’s biggest startup conference, LAUNCH Festival for two days of exhibiting in a SmartCamp pavilion, mentorship, learning from top founders, and networking. Three finalists will win a spot to pitch on stage in the SmartCamp Global Finals and an interview with Jason Calacanis on his podcast, This Week in Startups. One winner will land a spot in the LAUNCH Incubator, which includes a $25,000 USD investment on a capped convertible note from the LAUNCH Fund.

2016 Cities

This year, Dubai took part in IBM SmartCamp for the first time.

IBM SmartCamp in Dubai

The event was held at Astrolabs on the 15th of December, making Dubai the last stop for SmartCamp 2016. We welcomed six top Dubai startups, six mentors, and six judges.

IBM at Astrolabs

Maged Wassim, Vice President for IBM Cloud accross Middle East and Africa, welcomed the participating startups, and gave them an overview of what IBM is doing with startups.

Maged Wassim, Vice President of Cloud MEA
We, of course, had to start off the event with the IBM Today video.


Startups rotated between experts in business development, digital marketing, branding strategy, UX/UI, and web/mobile development. They spent 30 minutes with each mentor.


Mentors gave their feedback to both the startups and judges.


We had a judging panel of experts in the fields of cloud, payments, airlines, client acquisition, and entrepreneurship.




The first to pitch was Biker.Ae — a social network for bikers, providing more than 200 million riders from around the work a platform to gather and join like-minded people. Biker.Ae aims to make new connections between motorcycle riders without geographical borders. founders during their pitch

Founders, Aliaksandr Shyshuk and Alexandr Sergeyev, both motorcycle riders, told their story with enthusiasm. You can find out more about Biker here, and follow them here.


Bringing conversation to commerce across social and messaging platforms, Botler aims to be MENA’s first Artificial intelligence & chatbot building platform. Their A.I engine will enable anyone to create intelligent chatbots for commercial usage without coding, and provide a smart personal assistant to their users.

Botler’s Taymour during his pitch

Founders, Taymour Sabry and Serag Meneassy, explained their vision to the audience panel of judges. You can find out more about Botler here, and follow them here.

NOW Money

Working towards financial inclusion for the region, NOW Money uses smartphone technology to provide current accounts and a range low-cost remittance options to low-income migrant workers in the UAE.

NOW Money’s pitch

Founder Ian Dillon explained how NOW Money is empowering the unbanked with an interface that is user friendly, in 8 languages and suitable for illiterate or semi-illiterate users. Find out more about NOW Money here, and follow them here.

The PartyUp

The PartyUp is a handy go-to website and app to discover the top spots to party, dine and play in the area. They provide venue owners with a self serve solution, where they can manage and sell their events and offers. They also provide in-depth analytics and can market to targeted customers.

A demo of The PartyUp website and app

Founders Abbas Gassem and Loreno Carrillo demonstrated how their app provides an innovative way to find entertainment through photos and videos, with music and transportation options. Find out more about The PartyUp here, and follow them here.

Smart Labour

Because a smart city needs smart labour, Smart Labour is an app made to educate laborers and blue collared workers. The project is aimed at making the 2 million workers in the UAE happier with audio-based courses and integrated reward programs.

Smart Labour’s pitch

Founder, Abu Muadh, explained how Smart Labour will improve the welfare of laborers in the UAE. Find out more about Smart Labour here, and follow them here.


Universal Linguistics (ULIQ) provides a platform that enables customers to connect on-demand with live certified interpreters and translators who speak the local language and the desired foreign language. They connect brilliant minds from around the world to work together, learn about each other, share ideas, and build a brighter future together.

Damu explaining ULIQ’s vision

Founder, Damu Winston, spoke about humanizing & minimizing language barriers with ULIQ. Found out more about ULIQ here.


People’s Choice

Audience members voted for their favorite startup. And by an astonishing 35% vote rate, Smart Labour was people’s choice for IBM SmartCamp 2016 Dubai!

IBM SmartCamp 2016 Dubai Winner

The judging panel evaluated the participating startups based on market and business model, team, technology, product design.

The winner of IBM SmartCamp 2016 Dubai was NOW Money!

NOW Money and Smart Labour with judges
Judging panel

NOW Money is Dubai’s nominee to be one of ten global finalists to attend The LAUNCH Festival in San Fransisco, March 2017.

IBM SmartCamp 2016 Dubai concluded the local SmartCamp events. Global semi-finalists and SmartCamp updates will be posted through our website and twitter account.