Loyyal’s experience with Dubai Future Accelerators
I sit here writing this as we approach the end of what has been an incredibly successful inaugural Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA). As all the companies are working and preparing for the closing ceremony, everyone is a little sad at the thought of it coming to an end and returning to our respective homes.
The level of camaraderie that has been formed, not only between the companies, but also the Government entities and of course the DFA staff, will last a lifetime, both personally and professionally.
We heard about the Dubai Future Accelerator towards the end of the summer as we have been involved with the Government’s Dubai Global Blockchain Council since it’s early days, and as part of the Council, we have been working on a blockchain-based project, namely Dubai Points, using Loyyal’s technology to incentivize tourism. Have a read of “Loyyal Announces Blockchain Based Tourism Program with Dubai Future Foundation” for more information regarding the original announcement at the Dubai Blockchain Conference earlier this year.
In addition to this, I actually grew up in Dubai, during the 80’s and the 90’s (i know how old that makes me sound), so it has been somewhat of a homecoming for me and fantastic to see how many of my school friends and our family friends have stayed and thrived as Dubai has developed. If six degrees of separation applies to the rest of the world, then it’s been more like 1.5 degrees in my experience here in Dubai. In a place where relationships are key to business, this has been great for opening doors in the one of the fastest growing city in the world.
Anyways, back to Dubai Future Accelerator. The program was launched to connect the world’s most innovative companies with leading partners in the Dubai government to test new solutions to key challenges at the city-wide scale. Over 2,200 companies from 73 countries on all 7 continents applied for the prestigious program, and only 30 companies were chosen.
Some notable companies involved in the program, aside from Loyyal of course, include HyperLoop One, Pedago (the former CEO of Rosetta Stone’s education startup), Machine Colony, Consensys, Honeywell, Next Future Mobility and Sure Chill.
The program started on the 12th of September. All teams were flown in from around the world to meet, greet and learn more about the program before getting started. We had various members from Loyyal who attended the DFA during the 3 month period and who have worked tirelessly to make it such a success whilst continuing to expand our global footprint. Team members include myself and my Co-Founder Greg Simon, Stuart Evans, our Head of Global Loyalty Strategy, Matt Hamilton, Director of Strategic Partnerships, John Whitton, EVP Technical Process and Chris Ganga, our Andela resource as we highlighted in my last blog post “Andela meets Loyyal”. Everyone has done a fantastic job and shown great dedication to this historic initiative which we are proud to be a part of — Thank you so much to the team!
My favorite memory from the initiation was the Cultural introduction speech by Abdallah bin Eissa Al Serkal, even having spent a lot of time in the region, I consider myself well versed on the cultural differences and the Arabic way of life. He had the entire audience mesmerized, entertained and very comfortable. Dubai is an incredible place with a rich history and culture, a modern and booming present, and a very bright future. It is a true melting pot of cultures and people, with its foundations in a traditional Arabic way of life.
Seven Government entities took part in this inaugural Dubai Future Accelerator to work with the invited companies to help with the Government’s aim in
“bringing the future forward”.
Loyyal has been hosted and working with Dubai Holding which is an investment conglomerate with operations in 24 countries employing over 22,000 people and manages an AED 130 billion portfolio of assets including Jumeirah Hotel Group (The operator of the world’s only 7* Hotel, the Burj al Arab) among many other verticals. Dubai Holding is able to benefit from Loyyal’s infrastructure offering to drastically save on program operating costs, increase velocity of offerings and better target their consumers in order to increase revenues. They are also able to open up new markets and benefit from capabilities that enable them to unlock relationship value between their verticals.
We were brought to the Jumeirah Emirates Towers (JET) which is one of the prime landmark locations in Dubai, where the Sheikh Mohammed, the Prime Minister’s office is located, as well as many of the important Government departments. This was to be our office for the next three months, located in the retail area of JET, the Dubai Future Accelerator put together an incredible office space that you would expect from a high-tech / media office, with living green walls, space-age furniture, and a great presentation space.
On top of this all, we were given membership to the prestigious Talise gym which as it happens, is about 25 meters from my desk, so i have literally no excuse not to go every single day. It’s going to be hard to adapt to real life again!
A typical day starts at 5am every day (even if we have a late night), I jog into the gym in the dark, work out for an hour and a half, grab a coffee from Maison Mathis (Why don’t we have one of these at home!?) and then jump into the office.
I must speak very highly of Dubai Holding, as we have been working exclusively with them within the DFA, and they have been so involved and vested in our success and the application to their business. I can not say enough good words about how impressed and pleased we have been with not only the outcome but the entire process. Turan Malik, as our contact person within Dubai Holding, made sure that everything moved on as it should in order to reach a positive outcome, he understood our offering and worked with the team to make sure the right people were engaged. All our Dubai Holding liaisons were engaged, interested and wanting to use Loyyal for their benefit. Reaching an agreement and the continued work on a pilot with them has been our aim in entering the DFA, and we have achieved everything we came here to do.
Another great outcome from DFA that I touched on earlier, has been the other teams involved. Working in close proximity with other high-tech and often complementary companies, we have been able to establish great relationships and partnerships going forward, including machine learning company, Machine Colony, that will allow us to offer greater capabilities to future clients.
With the amount of work we are getting in the region and a very positive pipeline of interested clients, we are now opening up an office here in Dubai and will have a permanent team on the ground. We will also make sure to maintain relationships with our new DFA ‘family’ and we are very much looking forward to the future and the growth of Loyyal in the region and globally.
Do we recommend the DFA to other companies? The answer is a resounding YES!
Thanks for reading,
Co-Founder & Chief Happiness Officer, Loyyal