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Emirati Robotics Startup Earns Public Prize At Seedstars Summit 2018

Among eight Arab startups competing in Seedstars Summit 2018, Junkbot Robotics receives a gift from Veuve Clicquot.

One of the highlights of the Seedstars Summit's winners announcement on April 13th was when the public got to vote for its favourite startup; the UAE-born Junkbot Robotics. In turn, the Canton de Vaud's Office for Economic Affairs has honoured the Emirati winner with a gift from Veuve Clicquot - a Swiss Champagne House.

Junkbot is a DIY robotics kit that enables its young and old users to create and build working robots out of almost anything; from plastic bottles and old CDs, to wooden spoons or even cardboard. They have also designed a program to encourage kids to learn how to build their fully-functioning robots through the core STEAM concepts of analytical thinking, problem solving, prototyping, lateral thinking, and building.

“For a long time, we’ve been seeing entrepreneurs in the region trying to copy-cat what was happening in Europe or trying to move as quickly as possible move to the US; but finally we are seeing entrepreneurs understanding more and more that we have got huge problems to tackle in our own homes, and thanks to technology and the support of initiatives, we can start building real solutions for real pains in our region; that’s biggest potential,” Seedstars' co-founder, Alisée de Tonnac, told Startup Scene earlier in the Seedstars Summit 2017, where six startups got crowned as winners, two of which were Arabs. Jordanian sign language startup, Mind Rockets, was awarded the Public Vote, while Emirati educational platform, Asafeer Educational Technologies, was given the TRECC Transforming Education Prize, nabbing a $50,000 grant. 

Rooted from Switzerland, Seedstars is a group with the mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. Being the first global startup competition focused on emerging and fast-growing markets, Seedstars World connects stakeholders, builds companies from scratch with public and private partners, and invests in high growth startups within these ecosystems. For five years now, it has built a network in over 65 countries, with the teams traveling the world to source innovative startup investment opportunities.

“What’s so interesting in the Arab world is the sheer volume of people with similar cultures and interests,” says de Tonnac. Last February, seven Arab startups other than Junkbot participated in the Seedstars Summit. WNNA from Bahrain: an AI-driven contextual search that utilizes Big Open Data & Semantic Web to provide users with personalized recommendations and actions. Widebot from Egypt: the first bot builder platform in the MENA which allows anyone to build their own intelligent chatbot without any coding in only 10 minutes. 3oun from Jordan: an on-demand mobile application that connects you with vetted handymen around you. General Senses from Kuwait: Kuwait’s leader in sensory and experiential technologies, with emphasis on pioneering VR, AR, and natural human interfaces. Vision in Motion from Lebanon: provided by their security cameras, the Lebanese startup empowers businesses with insights on how their customers are moving, where they spend time, and what they look at. Hooplacar from Morocco: it connects brands with drivers to create on-vehicle advertising campaigns, live-monitored through GPS tracking and marketing KPIs. Favizone from Tunisia: a personalisation solution that enables retailers to deliver recommendations across e-shop, emails, and messaging apps. 

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