Fin Tech Focus

On the path to success

September 23 - 29, 2020

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Gulf Weekly On the path to success

An online market for regional artisans, a collaboration platform for freelancers, a property management portal, an online Gold Souq and a virtual-reality design house won top honours at the Standard-Chartered Women in Tech competition, organised by Bahrain FinTech Bay, writes Naman Arora.

Bahrain Popup Shop, Tribepod, uRento, My Gold Souq and Mavi VR Studio were selected out of 10 finalists after they completed an eight week-long incubation and training period and pitched their digital solutions virtually to a panel of judges.

Abdulla Bukhowa, one of the judges and chief executive of Standard Chartered, said: “We heard some amazing ideas from all teams and it was a very difficult decision to narrow it down to just five winners. We want to wish all the teams the best of luck and hope to hear their success stories as they grow.”

A mix of established young companies looking to launch a new product as well as brand new start-ups with ideas to shake up traditional business models were part of the incubator programme.

During the eight-week incubation programme, they got the opportunity to build on their ideas, interact with each other and learn from industry professionals.

The Bahrain Popup Shop, formerly known as Bahrain Popup Market which was organising showcases for local artisans across the kingdom, plans to take its platform online and offer regional handcrafting artisans a means to easily market and sell their products.

Jayne Houghton and Maha Alsahhaf, founders of Bahrain Popup Shop, said they beyond thrilled and honoured to have been chosen as one of the five winners of the competition.

“Covid-19 may have interrupted our business activities but this competition has given us the opportunity to pivot into something that’s much needed for designers and artisans in the Middle East,” said Jayne.

“We’re excited for our website to launch on October 1 and for all our vendors to showcase their products,” added Maha.

Led by Hanar Al Balooshi, Tala Barbir and Ahmed Al Balooshi, TribePod is creating an collaboration and project management platform for Middle East corporations and freelancers to work together in ‘tribes’.

The uRento team, founded by Ruby Mirchandani and Juan David Landazabal, plans to revolutionise the real estate market by providing a payment portal for tenants and landlords to interact.

Mavi VR Studio, founded by Moayed Ahmed and Shahad Alzaki, is using virtual and augmented reality to reshape traditional design by helping clients visualise their projects before construction.

My Gold Souq is launching an online marketplace for gold, aiming to modernise a traditional Gold Souq setting.

The team is led by siblings Amy and Priyesh Vaya, who are hoping to build on their family’s four generations of legacy as gold merchants in the Manama Souq.

Amy added: “It is an honour to be counted among the incredible women who have won the Standard Chartered Women in Tech competition, and I am grateful for the opportunity to take my idea forward.

“Gold jewellery has been my family business here in Bahrain since the 1930s, so this is more than a passion for me, and I think it’s high time for the industry to modernise. We will be using the prize money to launch our website, which is nearly ready.”

Each of the winners walked away with a prize of $10,000 (BD3,771) which they will be investing to grow their operations.

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