Tech startups attract growing number of entrepreneurs

Doha: When Rabie Al Ghali was just eight years old, he decided to give up waiting for his school bus. And without his parents’ knowledge, he decided to walk on his own to school. Unfortunately, he got lost along the way for over two hours.

This personal experience inspired Al Ghali, who is now an adult entrepreneur in Doha, to build the Gbus tech startup. Gbus, which is also known as Ro’a Technology, is an online platform with mobile applications that aims to improve school bus performance and students’ safety by sharing valuable information with parents and transport supervisors.

Al Ghali and his team are one of the seven tech startups which won at the Qatar Business Incubation Center’s (QBIC) 12th wave of LeanStartup programme this year. Talking to The Peninsula recently, Al Ghali said most schools in the country lack the proper resources and tools to cope with unexpected major bus delays such as accidents and breakdowns. The team also wants to address children’s safety in buses.

He added: “Through our mobile app, parents will be able to track the school bus and fleet managers will also be able to monitor their fleet in real time. Through the system, parents will also receive automatic notifications informing them of the exact times their children have been picked up, dropped off, or when they missed the bus”.

Al Ghali said Gbus plans to establish its operations in Qatar, which has an estimated market worth QR14m, and in the future further expand in the GCC with QR350m total addressable market and the Mena region with an estimated QR2bn market.

Abdulla Yaya, an aerospace engineer specialising in unmanned aircraft systems design and the founder of AY Tec, is another QBIC awardee. Yaya, who has worked with the UK police for two years, has also led the ‘Team Athena’ in winning first place in the UK and second place internationally at the Royal Society of Mechanical Engineering Humanitarian drone competition.

From there, Yaya created AY Tec, a tech startup company which he said “will truly automate the drone industry”. Yaya now plans to design, test, and manufacture drones in Qatar, as well as license the software that allows customers to control the drone. The company also targets three main markets including the civil governmental, petrochemical, and telecommunications industries with a total global addressable market worth QR23bn.

Aside from Gbus and AY Tec, other tech startup companies that won QBIC incubation awards this year were QutSheet, Not Busy Now, Print-Le, Alternative Operations, and Merwad. The QBIC winners have all been awarded with seed funding worth QR100,000 each and will be incubated at QBIC for the next two years. Majed Abdulaziz Al Khulaifi, Head of Incubation at QBIC, said: “The common theme among the winners is technology, which is the trend now in addition to a mixture of applications and business services. They have been chosen for their innovative ideas. For the next two years, they will also go through one-to-one coaching to ensure that their products will be successful in the market”.

According to innovation intelligence company UBI Global, the five key technology trends shaping the innovation landscape in 2019 are the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Health, and Gamification. The UBI Global report added that these tech trends are what most startups are currently focusing their efforts on, and what most incubation programmes are also supporting.

Source from: The Peninsula