The EdTech startup is based in Gaziantep and focuses on bringing marionettes to the 21st century. This was the roadshow’s second Demo Day, following Ignite 2018 in Amsterdam.
By SWB Team
Syrian entrepreneur Juman Jamal Sakkae won the $8.000 first prize of the Startup Roadshow Second Demo Day, held at the Beirut Digital District on December 14th. The EdTech startup, founded alongside Hamadah Gubran, is based in Gaziantep (Turkey) and focuses on bringing marionettes to the 21st century, through a program that combines education with entertainment.
The Demo Day marked the conclusion of the Startup Roadshow, a competition for Syrian startups organized by Jusoor and SPARK, in collaboration with Startups Without Borders across 5 cities in the Middle East. Last November 28th, five of the 10 finalists pitched at the Ignite 2018 conference in Amsterdam; while five finalists who were not able to travel to Amsterdam due to visa restrictions made their way to Beirut for the Second Demo Day.
Five Syrian entrepreneurs pitched in front of a panel of judges that included Nicolas Farah, project officer, entrepreneurship at SPARK, Ramy Boujawdeh, deputy General Manager at Berytech, Maya Rahhal, Managing Director of the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab; and Lea Batal, Country Representative and Partnerships Coordinator at Kiron.
Agri-Answer, an AgriTech application founded by Masaoud Ali and Doaa Al-Ibrahim, won the second prize, taking home $4.000 in funding. The startup, based in Erbil, offers farmers solutions to manage their crops through seasonal subscriptions. Torever, a mobile app that helps travelers plan their trip while accessing services on the go, won the people’s choice award, taking home $3.000.
The roadshow, which started last September, toured the Middle East and held a series of bootcamps in Beirut, Erbil, Amman, Gaziantep and Turkey – cities with large communities of Syrian refugees.
Shiffer, a peer-to-peer shipping platform founded by Azhar Al Madani in Erbil, Iraq, won the first prize, while the second place was awarded to Fadfed, a HealthTech startup founded by Syrian entrepreneur Ibrahem Ahmed, which offers users access to mental health through a mobile app. Sharqi Shop, an e-commerce platform for Middle Eastern crafts founded by Saleem Najjar, was awarded the YAG Audience Prize, provided by the Young Advisory Group.
With the closing in Beirut, the competition thus crowned 6 winners, doubling the prizes and allowing all participants to pitch in the finals.
The winners cover a wide range of industries, including AgriTech, e-commerce, HealthTech and EdTech. Dania Ismail, Board Member and Director of the Entrepreneurship Program at Jusoor, announced during Ignite 2018 that there will be a second edition of the Startup Roadshow in 2019.