ABU DHABI, 12th January 2023 (WAM) – Innovate, Masdar City’s global initiative to support cleantech companies, returns to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to showcase cleantech start-ups and businesses.
The three-day exhibition begins on January 16. It is supported by Masdar City’s startup accelerator program, The Catalyst, which offers 22 participating companies the chance to pitch directly to an investment committee and win up to US$200,000 in funding.
Ahmed Baghoum, the acting CEO of Masdar City, said: “Since its launch in 2021, Innovate has helped dozens of companies kick off major projects in the region. The magic of seeing startups focus on emerging technologies to help the fight against climate change has inspired us to return this year with an even more ambitious exhibition. With The Catalyst on board, startups will have the chance to benefit from an accelerator tailored specifically to their needs and industries.”
Steve Severance, Masdar City’s director of growth, said: “Linking The Catalyst with Innovate opens the door for aspiring businesses to get our support and funding in the most efficient way possible. At Innovate, companies will be able to pitch their projects straight to our senior directors, and if they succeed, they’ll win our unwavering support. There are many benefits to joining The Catalyst beyond the funding opportunity. We also help member companies gain access to the Masdar City Free Zone and Abu Dhabi’s technology ecosystem.”
In its first edition, Innovate provided support and exposure to 20 emerging companies, some of which decided to return this year. FortyGuard, which offers solutions for optimizing energy resources, was one of them. Launched in 2020, the startup landed Masdar City as their first client through Innovate 2022, and several other deals followed.
“Masdar City is a local ecosystem enabler. Participating in their Innovate program opened a huge door for us,” said Jay Sadiq, FortyGuard Founder and Visionary Chief Executive Officer. “Being in direct contact with major energy officials and decision makers was the highlight of the event for us. We don’t have to look for potential customers and supporters; they came to find us. Today we serve 12 major clients that resulted from our initial agreement with Masdar City.”
Innovate will feature an agri-tech showcase by DANA Venture Builder, an Abu-Dhabi-based venture builder and investment platform for women-led start-ups in desert technology, including agri-tech, water solutions, food security, waste management and renewable energy through regional collaboration, innovation mentorship, impact community and funding.
Another Innovate showcase, hosted by The Catalyst, is called HydroArtPod, a smart indoor home garden with ambient lighting and looks like wall art. Founded by Aline Pate, HydroArtPod is a small, fully automated garden that enables families to grow fresh produce year-round to reduce dependence on food retailers.
In addition to the exhibition, Innovate will host a series of panels covering a wide range of topics, including women leading the way in sustainability and the circular economy.
Innovate is held in partnership with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft for Start-ups, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, the Mohammed bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) and DANA Venture Builder. Each entity will host several innovative cleantech companies covering a range of areas, including clean energy, food security and artificial intelligence.