After a four-month journey, four UAE teams pitched their aviation travel startup ideas to early-stage investors, hoping to attract financing that would serve as the wind beneath their wings to turn their great ideas into viable businesses.
The four teams have just concluded a four-month incubator program as part of the inaugural cohort of the Intelak aviation and travel incubator.
In addition to winning a cash prize of AED 50,000 each, which was distributed at key development milestones, the four teams received access to valuable training modules and were connected to various businesses and leadership across the Emirates Group, GE and Etisalat Digital, as well as to external companies and mentors, for consultation and guidance.
The Emirates Group, along with co-founders GE and Etisalat Digital, launched Intelak in an effort to crowdsource the best ideas to make travel simpler, better, and more exciting.
The four travel innovation ideas were selected from more than 125 entries. Winning projects included a new kind of airplane food tray developed by Conceptualisers; a baggage transport application that eliminates the hassle of getting your luggage to the airport, developed by Dubz; an all-in-one travel app, developed by Insaafer; and an Internet of Things-based hardware-software technology that handles baggage check-in from the trunk of a car, developed by Storage-i.
“It has been so exciting to see the level of creativity, home-grown entrepreneurism and hard work on display during this process,” said Rania Rostom, GE’s Chief Innovation & Communications Officer for the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Emirates and Etisalat Digital to encourage and support such a high level of innovation that ultimately could benefit passengers across the globe.”
The recently concluded presentations to investors was not the first time these four teams had to pitch their projects. In order to get into the incubator, they competed as part of a shortlisted group of 18 teams in a filmed pitch competition called Cabin Pressure. They had to present their ideas to judges from Emirates Group, GE and Etisalat Digital, and answer their questions. All episodes of Cabin Pressure can be found here.
The second intake of Intelak begins this month. All innovators, entrepreneurs and students from across the UAE are invited to apply by submitting their innovative travel and aviation solutions on www.intelak.com.