Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund selects 11 firms for latest accelerator round

Selected companies include eight UAE businesses, as well as firms from the US, France and South Africa

MBRIF Accelerator team on the pitch day for winter cohort applicants. Courtesy MBRIF
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF), an initiative by the UAE’s Ministry of Finance, chose 11 new businesses for the latest round of its accelerator programme.

The companies joining the 2020 winter cohort will bring the total number of firms participating in the accelerator to 39 since its launch in December 2018.

“New members have demonstrated the power of entrepreneurship that is rooted in making a positive change. In turn, they have our country’s commitment to help their businesses flourish,” said Fatima Alnaqbi, chief innovation officer at MBRIF and a representative of the Ministry of Finance.

Eight of the new members are UAE-based businesses. These include Farmin, a company that uses artificial intelligence to improve farming profitability, and Food-ATM, which allows blue-collar workers to eat for free using a smart card topped up by corporations as part of their corporate social responsibility budgets.

“The strong presence of local UAE businesses in the winter cohort reflects the ever-growing entrepreneurial spirit present in our country,” said Ms Alnaqbi.

The other three businesses came from the US, South Africa and France.  The French firm was Toucan Toco - a data storytelling platform that raised €12 million (Dh48.9m) last year and has a client list of more than 100 Fortune 500 companies.

The winter cohort was chosen to join the MBRIF Accelerator as part of a special edition application process held during Dubai's Gitex trade show, which aimed to attract the most innovative start-ups that attended the annual technology event.

MBRIF is open to companies that are already operational and beyond the “ideation”, or concept stage, both globally and in the UAE – provided they have a base in the country and seek to operate and grow in the Emirates.

They also must operate within industry sectors prioritised in the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy, including renewable and clean energy, transportation, education, technology, healthcare, space and water.

MBRIF was launched in 2016 but began operations at the beginning of 2017. Its accelerator programme offers members access to coaching and aims to enhance growth potential of innovative start-ups shaping the future of the UAE’s economy. The accelerator offers a tailored programme to companies covering five key areas: articulating strategic direction; articulating and validating a business model; access to clients and markets; access to finance; and defining a people strategy.