Speed@BDD Graduate 9 Startups in Largest Cycle Yet

Lynn Bizri, Jul 07 2017

Speed@BDD, a Beirut-based startup accelerator, held its 4th Demo Day yesterday. 9 startups (the biggest batch so far) pitched their businesses and showcased their products in the presence of investors, officials, students, and media representatives after completing the 3-month acceleration program.

During the acceleration cycle, Speed@BDD invested $30K in each startup and provided services such as free hosting, product and business development, financial advisory, legal services and mentorship from key experts in various industries.

Having attended the launch of the 4th cycle earlier this year, it was impressive to witness how the startups had grown, matured and pivoted over the course of the past three months, transforming their ideas and MVPs into a market-fit product. Among the 9 startups, several were already online and functional, and 2 of the startups, Cherpa and Neotic, had already received investments by Demo Day.

Head Start to Success
Cherpa and Neotic also came out as the top 2 startups in the fourth cycle, and were selected for the LebNet Ignite acceleration and mentorship program in Silicon Valley.

The two-week program is powered by the Blackbox Connect accelerator, and is designed to help Lebanese startups scale globally through trainings and mentorship sessions with VC’s, successful founders and experts in team composition, product launches and business and growth strategies.

In addition to being chosen to head to Silicon Valley, Cherpa were also the lucky winners of the ‘Speed Boost’ a new financial initiative by Speed to support selected startups post-graduation. The Speed Boost consists of a $50K invstment from 5 investors that include Elias Houayek, B&Y Venture Partners, Phoenician Fund, Berytech Fund II, and MEVP.

Meet the Graduates
From fashion and gaming to fintech and music, the startups fall under a variety of categories, and embraced technological trends such as AI, machine-learning and robotics.

Cherpa
(previously Smart Interactive Breadboard)
Cherpa is an online platform that teaches robotics and electronics to youth in a fun and interactive way. From building and coding projects to interacting with virtual missions, Cherpa is introducing a new dimension that reshapes the world of robotics.

Over the past 3 months, Cherpa have launched the coding section for Beta testing, converted 70 of their 100 test users to paying customers, and qualified as semi-finalists in MITEF’s Pan Arab Competition. Cherpa are looking for $250K in funding.

Fig
Fig offers users a solution to rediscover clothes shopping in a conversational and personalized way. Through its artificial intelligence powered chatbot for Facebook messenger, users can discover clothes from shops and brands they love.

Over the past 3 months, Fig have created an AI powered chatbot for Facebook messenger in 2 months, launched in beta with 100 users and are currently training their bot to make even more intelligent conversations. Fig are looking for $200K in funding.

Grey Imp (previously known as Van Ahmar)
Grey Imp Studios is a game development studio focused on creating experiences that interact with gamers in an emotional and intellectual dimension. The studio specializes in story-driven games and complements them with creative game mechanics and controllers.

Over the past 3 months, Grey Imp Studios has created the Impire, Grey Imp Studios’ lore and identity, as well as built and optimized the demo of their first game, Starborn Chronicles, in Unreal Engine 4.  

Groovy Antoid
Groovy Antoid is a team of indie game developers based in Beirut and focused on creating 2D mobile games with simple mechanics, lovable characters, and strong IP potential. Their first release ‘Fat Bunny’ is already gaining traction on the app stores and helping the team develop a sustainable, data-driven formula for their studio’s future releases.

Over the past 3 months, Groovy Antoid have launched ‘Fat Bunny’ on Android and iOS, gained 20,000+ early adopters with no marketing spend, and have been featured on Google Play’s Early Access. Groovy Antoid are looking for $120K in funding.

Harold
Harold offers a disruptive Classified Ads assistant that allows users to optimize the time, price and platform choice of their online transactions. The solution understands users’ buying and selling needs through its tailored artificial intelligence.

Over the past 3 months, Harold has expanded its scope by pivoting from a multi-posting solution to a Classified Ads assistant and has built the data collection tool that will fuel Harold’s Artificial Intelligence algorithm. Harold are looking for $150K in funding.

Living Book
Living Book is a production and multi-store publishing platform that allows creative people to collaboratively create, publish, and sell personalized interactive and printed books for children aged 2 to 10. Children all over the world will be able to enjoy reading and parents will able to engage their kids by creating personalized copies in digital and print.

Over the past 3 months, Living Book have finished the alpha version of the story editor, created their first interactive story, and developed a functional bookstore that enables creators to submit their books.

Neotic
Neotic is a trading support platform that allows traders to test trading strategies and leverage artificial intelligence to receive trading recommendations without writing a single line of code. The artificial intelligence is based on a machine learning algorithm that integrates corporate fundamentals, historical prices and financial news.

Over the past 3 months, Neotic have closed a seed round of funding from 3 angel investors, have fully revamped the user experience to optimize onboarding traders, and have refined the trading algorithm to include simultaneous long and short hedging techniques. Neotic are looking for $600K in funding.

Trybe (previously Rave)
From big room electro to seedy backroom techno, Trybe is the world’s first community based electronic music discovery app. Trybe empowers fans to instantly discover what’s trending in the electronic music world, from the biggest new tracks, mixes and podcasts all the way through to the hottest events, festivals, and electronic music news.

Over the past 3 months, Trybe have developed a free on-demand electronic music platform with 2+ million tracks, brought Philip Straub, CEO of Tital International, on board as advisor, and established partnerships with Ibiza Sonica, Blend Athens, Flex Vienna and Loud Music Festival. Trybe are looking for $200K in funding.

Wanowi (previously known as Bidappeal)
Wanowi is a thrilling 15-min online auction platform that allows users to buy trendy and exclusive products that are otherwise hard to obtain, at discounted rates.

Over the past 3 months, Wanowi launched their website with 4,000+ users, revamped the entire user experience of their platform, and establish multiple sourcing relationships. Wanowi are looking for $100K in funding.

Apply Now for the 5th Cycle!
Do you think you have what it takes? Applications are now open for Cycle V in September 2017. The program will be open to startups at the idea or minimum viable product (MVP) stage, and will run for 3 months. Selected startups will receive up to $30,000 each, and will also benefit from free working space, product development and business development workshops, accounting services, legal services, and mentorship in exchange for a 10% equity stake.

Full details can be found on Speed@BDD’s website.

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