ArabNet Team, Dec 22 2016

Speed@BDD held its third Demo Day, on Tuesday December 20, 2016, at the Lebanese American University (LAU), in collaboration with LAU’s Alumni Relations Office. Five startups pitched their businesses and showcased their products in the presence of more than 250 investors, officials, students, and media representatives after completing the three-month acceleration program.

During its acceleration cycle, Speed@BDD invested in each startup $30,000 in cash and its equivalent in-kind services covering free hosting, product and business development, financial advisory, legal services, and mentorship from key experts in various industries.

“The value provided to the startups goes beyond our in-house resources. We have created a network of 70+ mentors who are actively involved with the founders on their journey. We also recently joined the Global Accelerator Network, which provides us with access to a pool of worldwide mentors from 70+ international accelerators. In addition, startups receive GAN perks amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings to run and grow their businesses,” Sami Abou Saab, CEO of Speed@BDD said during the welcome note at LAU.

Since the beginning of its operations last September, Speed@BDD has accelerated 18 startups (including international entrepreneurs) and home grown ventures, and attracted quality diaspora entrepreneurs to secure acceleration and funding from Lebanon.

Dentiflow is a cloud-based practice management software tailored for dentists. It allows them to optimize and manage every aspect of their business, covering patient records storage, dental charting, scheduling, and billing in an intuitive manner.

Parkr is a mobile platform designed to provide commuters with simple means to locate and reserve parking spaces. It functions as a marketplace for underutilized parking spots. Owners of these spots now have an additional revenue stream while commuters have access to a wide array of parking options normally unavailable to them.

Petriotics is an online platform that allows pet parents to discover high quality pet supplies and ship them straight to their doorsteps. The platform analyzes purchase history and reminds pet parents to re-stock on pet food so that they never run short. Petriotics also designs entertainment kits composed of treats, toys, and accessories, which are tailored to pet parents’ needs.

Tradimum is a cloud-based work management platform for small and mid-size businesses. It allows users to simultaneously manage customer relations, human resources, documentation, finance, and inventory. All modules are connected to provide the users with a full overview of their business.

Wango® (short for "Wanna go") is a women-friendly dating app with a Gentlemen’s Touch that helps users all the way from engaging in conversation to planning the first date. It’s all about manners, respect, and safety.

New Deals 

Speed@BDD’s new GAN membership has provided founders with numerous advantages on a global scale, as Speed@BDD recently sealed the deal with its strategic partner, the Beirut Digital District (BDD), to offer its startups free hosting at the heart of Beirut after their graduation. This new addition ensures that each startup receives 6 months of free desk space as well as preferential discounted rates on the following 6 months of hosting.

Speed@BDD will also be collaborating with LAU on the “Achieving Creative Entrepreneurs” (ACE), a new entrepreneurship initiative of 5 full-day workshops, spread over two months delivered by Speed@BDD mentors. The initiative will cover the basics of entrepreneurship, including business models, pitching, and marketing, in order to help students transform their ideas into innovations.

“We are working with 13 local universities to get Lebanese talent on board the entrepreneurial journey. We are also reaching out to the top 25 US and European schools to get the diaspora back to set up shop in Lebanon,” added Abou Saab.

Following international accelerators’ standards Speed@BDD is setting a precedent in the local market by becoming the first cash investor to no longer require preferred shares. The accelerator’s shares will be similar to the founders’, i.e. common shares. This applies retroactively to Cycles I and II startups.  

Speed@BDD is currently accepting applications for its fourth batch, which is due to start in March 2017. The acceleration program welcomes startups at the Idea or Minimum Viable Product stages, willing to commit to the three-month acceleration in Lebanon. The application deadline is January 22, 2017 and the full details can be found on Speed@BDD’s website.

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