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Meet the 10 Lebanese Startups that Just Championed Flat6Labs Beirut's First Cycle

The accelerator held its first demo day during Arabnet Beirut, where 10 entrepreneurs took the stage to showcase their bold businesses - from 3D printed cement to a peer-to-peer lending platform.

Flat6Labs Beirut, the Lebanese chapter of the regional accelerator hailing from Cairo, crowned a buzzing evening at ArabNet Beirut 2018 with its first-ever Demo Day, where 10 valiant entrepreneurs took to the stage to showcase their startups, after four months building their products. 

The event, held at the Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand Hotel, introduced the 10 startups from Flat6Labs Beirut’s first seed program cycle, as they valiantly plan to disrupt a wide span of industries, from hardware, to FinTech, EdTech, to AdTech. “We are very happy and proud to be part of this dynamic and rapidly evolving ecosystem in Lebanon. The entrepreneurs in this first cycle have been truly amazing and inspiring. We look forward to being the launchpad for many more to come,” said Hany Al-Sonbaty, Chairman of Flat6Labs.

Launched in 2017 in partnership with ArabNet, Flat6Labs Beirut is set to invest in over 100 Lebanese startups over the next five years through its $20 Million fund. "Innovation can and should be the next driver of the Lebanese economy, allowing it to compete regionally and globally. We're excited to celebrate with Flat6Labs Beirut on the graduation of their first cycle of startups, and to be supporting a launchpad for innovative Lebanese businesses that can transform the Lebanese economy," added ArabNet's CEO Omar Christidis. From IoT experts to EdTech pioneers, these are the 10 graduating startups that killed it on stage:

1. Buildink: One of the most innovative startups to present their ideas on stage, Buildink specialises in 3D printing of cement material, using a proprietary cement mixture. Founded by Bilal Farshukh, Moualla El Ilani, Mhmd Bakri, Jad El Itani, Mohyddin Tash and Khaled Bukhari, the startup aims to reduce the time consumed in the traditional building process, through a unique cable robot 3D printer and a custom-made concrete mixture. The entrepreneurs have already secured contracts with several workplaces in need for outdoor furniture, including Flat6Labs Beirut itself, schools and universities. 

2. Finconnect: Offering the "next generation of financial messaging solutions," the startup provides software solutions and services for banks and corporates, facilitating financial message exchange. Founded by Fawaz S.Hanna, Richard Hanna, Ali Younis, and Rida Zaherdine, the startup combines SWIFT-MX compliant Financial Messaging with Web Services technology, and is designed to function as a plug-compatible components, ready to be deployed with little customisation. 

 Fawzi Rahal, Flat6Labs Beirut' Managing Director, on stage at ArabNet Beirut 2018.

3. Flickset: With an engaging pitch on stage and astounding photos of Lebanese filming locations, the startups offers a sort of Airbnb for filmmakers, allowing property owners - from apartments, to garages or uncommon spaces - to rent their locations to content creators. The startup was founded by Rolly Dib, who is also the founder of Olive Tree productions, one of the leading branded content companies in the region, along with Alia Samman, Ali Koubeissi, and Cyril Bassil. 

4. Katana: Providing Internet of Things solutions as-a-service, the startup works across several industries, setting off to take on the GCC region first, with an estimated $11 billion IoT market by 2023. Their first solution, called "Precision Poultry Farming" allows chicken farmers to predict potential problems and optimise their revenue. Founded by RAbih Maalouf and Yolande Abi Dargham, the startup partners with experts across different verticals to provide business-specific solutions across a wide range of industries. 

5. Let'sGrant: Setting off to harness technology to allow borrowers access credit in a fast and flexible way, Let'sGrant offers a peer-to-peer lending platform for personal loans, where lenders can get an additional source of income with minimal operational expenses. Founded by Elie Haddad, along with Stephanie Baddour, Dalida Haddad, and Sari Sahyoun, the startup has signed an agreement with a third party credit provider for credit scores for potential borrowers, and is already negotiating with several financial institutions.

6. Lululittle: Combining storytelling with a socio-cultural approach, the startup founded by Joanna Khoury publishes personalised children's books starring the children as the heroes. The startup capitalises on an interesting demographic: the Arab world and its diaspora, which represents a market of over 50 million. Focusing on internationally-minded "proud parents", "original gifters," and "nostalgic expats," the startup seeks to engage and empower a future generation of global children. Khoury founded the startup along with Fouad Assaf, Marwan Salem, Sarah Oweidah, and Hani Abyad. 

7. Ouda w Dar: A booking platform that simplifies short-term accommodation for hosts and guests, Ouda w Dar setts off to battle giants like Airbnb and Tripadvisor, adding concierge and management services to short-term booking platforms, while utilising them as channels for their management services. Its founder, Sarah Berjaoui, its an experienced hotelier, having managed her family-owned luxury resort in Mykonos to then launch Hotelbrain Lebanon in Beirut. Along with Jad Kaadi and Armand Seukunian, the entrepreneur plans to recruit local hosts and partner with real estate agencies and developers to onboard properties.


8. Personafier: Founded by charismatic brothers Ihab and Bassam Salha, the startup brings content intelligence, offering real-time insights obtained from real people on social media. Starting off with Instagram - one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the past year - their platform reports the fictional persona's most used hashtags, liked hashtags and tagged locations, and activity by days and hours, and followed profiles using information gathered by non-fictional persona samples. 

9. Schedex: Leveraging on the prominence of shift and hourly-based industries - which today represent 60 percent of employment worldwide - the startup offers a scheduling platform that integrates all the business aspects of the company into employee preferences to automatically generate and respond to changes to the schedules with the click of a button. Founded by Avo Manjerian, Hagop Jamkojian, and Joseph Mhanna, the startup works through a B2B subscription-based model. 

10. SpicaTech: Founded by Lebanese gaming pioneer Reine Abbas - who also co-founded Wixel Studios in 2008 - the startup is an online academy for video game production targeting kids and teens, leveraging on an industry that is projected to hit $100 billion in 2018. Driven by the belief in the impact of teaching kids 21st century skills - coding, art, and digital game production - the entrepreneur, along with Christine Vanilian, supports multilingual courses and allows children not only to learn how to make games, but also publish their games on their portal. 

Last month, Flat6Labs Tunis also graduated its first 6 startups in their Demo Day. Check them out here.

Photos: Courtesy of Flat6Labs Beirut.

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