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startAD opens applications for AI-focused sprint accelerator programme

startAD, the innovation and entrepreneurship platform anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, has opened applications for its inaugural Artificial Intelligence (AI) Venture Launchpad.

Open to seed stage AI and Internet of Things (IoT) startups from the UAE and around the globe, the AI Venture Launchpad is a 10-day sprint accelerator that helps participants develop a scalable, repeatable, and capital efficient venture.

Teams disrupting industries in financial technology (FinTech), insurance technology (InsurTech), regulatory technology (RegTech), airport operations, predictive maintenance, fuel efficiency, and enterprise solutions through AI with Natural Language Processing (NLP), machine learning, predictive analytics, search, and data analytics are encouraged to apply.

This accelerator is an opportunity for global startups to enter the UAE market and attract potential investments from key players in the region. Teams can apply through startAD’s website [vl.startad.ae]; applications close on 30th August.

Launching on 30th September, the programme is held in partnership with EtihadAviation Group, a diversified global aviation and travel group comprising of five business divisions – Etihad Airways, Etihad Airways Engineering, Etihad Airport Services, Hala Group and Airline Equity Partners; UAE Exchange, the leading global Money Transfer, Foreign Exchange and payment solutions brand; and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi.

The Artificial Intelligence Venture Launchpad will comprise a series of training and mentorship sessions, investor roundtables, pitches, interviews, local customer discovery, and validation activities. Startups will also be trained to develop robust go-to-market strategies. Selected teams are required to attend the full duration of the accelerator.

NYU Abu Dhabi Research Professor of Engineering, Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and startAD Managing Director Ramesh Jagannathan, said, “The UAE, home to significant global industries such as aviation, energy, shipping, transportation, and finance, has a distinct opportunity to be at the forefront of AI growth. Disruptive Innovation creates products and services for which the market does not yet exist. AI and machine learning, in addition to disrupting the market, are disrupting the way our society would live with the onset of the second machine age.”

He noted that the appointment of a UAE Minister of AI is a testament to the government’s commitment to lead this field. “In line with the country’s vision, startAD has created valuable partnerships with major corporate stakeholders in the region and are excited to provide market validation for global AI startups that get accepted into our Venture Launchpad sprint accelerator.”

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