Fourteen teams of aspiring techpreneurs battled it out to attract investors’ attention as they pitched their ideas to the local tech community at the Demo Day of the 8th cycle of Qatar Science & Technology Park’s XLR8 program.

The latest cycle of the intensive two-month training and mentorship program welcomed, for the first time, the three finalists of Season 11 of Stars of Science, Qatar Foundation’s edutainment reality TV show and the Arab world’s leading innovation show.

In another first for XLR8, Demo Day featured an online audience vote to select the top three startups, which received three months of mentorship and a fast-tracked process that will see them being incubated in Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP).

ClassTap, a lifestyle company offering access to every fitness class at every gym with a single membership, won first place, while Fire Cruise, a remotely-operated firefighting vehicle that helps oil and gas companies to safely extinguish fires and reduce accidents, ranked second. Hitch, a pay-per-minute car rental service, allowing customers to plan commutes on the go, came in third.

The event, attended by over 200 people, saw the graduating teams present their startup ideas to an audience of seasoned technology professionals and industry experts, in a bid to secure the support of investors for launching their startups.

Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, Executive Director, QSTP, said: “All teams have demonstrated passion, determination, and truly innovative approaches to be here today. QSTP’s association with these entrepreneurs does not end here; in fact, our journey together has only just begun.

“Our technology development and innovation value-chain is geared towards ensuring that the graduates of XLR8 will develop their ideas and prototypes further, establish viable startups, and drive their businesses to commercial success.”

The teams shortlisted as finalists had to undergo a competitive selection process by QSTP. They included Partix, a mobile app that helps mechanics and car owners find spare parts at the best available price; QashCard, a mobile wallet app offering customers cashbacks for shopping; and Thought Square, a digital platform that gathers innovative thinkers from around the world to co-define challenges and co-design solutions.

Habes Al Howail, Founder and CEO, Thought Square, said: “The 10-week program was very impressive. Each session taught us a new skill to further develop our projects.

“A distinguished panel of mentors guided us throughout the program and enriched our experience through their expertise in the financial, business, design, and marketing aspects.”

Over the course of the program, teams received intensive guidance from mentors who specialize in the commercialization of tech-based innovations, and have years of hands-on industry experience in what it takes to launch and grow tech-based startups.

XLR8 – a key component of QSTP’s mission to create a vibrant tech innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar – helps participants transform their tech ideas into functioning prototypes, in order to further develop them into market-viable solutions. Since its inception in 2015, more than 300 participants have graduated from the XLR8 program.

Source: Qatar Foundation