Lebanese startup Spike has been crowned the winner of the 2018 GITEX Future Stars’ Supernova Challenge – taking home the competition’s jackpot $100,000 top prize. The final day of GITEX Future Stars, the region’s most electric startup event, saw 24 awesome startups from around the world battle it out for the MEASA’s biggest startup prize, where winners were announced across nine different categories by a pool of five expert judges.

After a highly competitive round of pitching, the Spike team were named the event’s standout startup, and declared Supernova Champion.  Spike is a mobile assistant that helps diabetics better manage their illness. It monitors the patient’s daily behaviour and jumps in with reminders and tips when needed about insulin, food and other condition-related activities. In addition to that, Spike stores the patient’s data for further analysis and haring with doctors and caregivers.

Spike’s founder, 25-year-old Ziad Alame, was overjoyed to have won: He said: “I was very stressed before my pitch as the competition was tough, but I am so happy I made it as the winner. With the prize money we will invest heavily in advertising, growing the business, making it more solid. We’ll also look at partnerships. Our plan is to go global.”

This year’s Supernova Challenge introduced four new categories – Best Emirati, Best Social Impact, Best AI, and Best Scale Up startups – alongside returning categories: Supernova Champion, GCC & MENA Startup, International Startup, Youth, and Female-led Startup, sponsored by Sharjah Business Women’s Council.

AURA LAB from United Arab Emirates (UAE) won the title of Best GCC & MENA Startup. AURA LAB is a machine-learning perfume retail technology that helps retailers improve their retail experience and help consumers find a signature fragrance. Satellite Vu, a NewSpace company from London, are leading the charge in space-based technology to overcome the challenge of plastic pollution. They were named Best International Startup.

Other winners were:

  • Best Emirati Startup:  Khayati from UAE, a software that assists tailors in improving their communications and marketing with customers
  • Best Social Impact Startup: Labayh from Saudi Arabia, a mobile app that makes counselling easier by connecting individuals with psychologist by in-app messaging and in-app calling, while users remain anonymous
  • Best AI Startup: WideBot from United States of America (USA), the first Arabic-focused bot builder platform
  • Best Scale Up Startup:  Onesoftdigm from Republic of Korea, a portable Body Composition Measurement device
  • Best Youth Startup:  Oliv from UAE, an intern recruitment portal that helps university students and recent graduates in the UAE find internships, part-time jobs and graduate jobs
  • Best Female Led Startup: MAJ Solution from Lebanon, which provides construction and development companies with tools to predict potential early

Prashant K. Gulati, Managing Partner at The Smart Start Fund and a judge of the Supernova Challenge, said:  “It was a pleasure being a judge at the finals of the Supernova Challenge. We saw an exceptional array of diverse talent from all over the world. While a few were selected as winners, I would like to say thanks to all those who participated; they should continue pursuing the great job they are doing.”

Deemah AlYahya, Chief of Misk Innovation, the official and exclusive innovation partner of the challenge, said: “It is our privilege to support the growing startup ecosystem in the MENA region. We are a company that thrives on innovation, and we want to bring our commitment to innovation to the world. Competitions like the GITEX Future Stars Supernova Challenge drive the growth of the regional and global startup ecosystem, and we are proud to be a part of it. The technology that we saw at the Supernova competition has been extraordinary. We are eager to see how these young entrepreneurs take forward their ground-breaking ideas.”

Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of GITEX Technology Week and GITEX Future Stars, said: “The Supernova Challenge is a life-changing platform that transforms the ideas of incredible startups to real-life experiences. All of our 200 plus entrants down to our 25 finalists were bold enough to put themselves forward for scrutiny by not only our esteemed judging panel, but by an audience of their peers. That takes immense bravery.

“Many of the emerging technologies we’ve seen this week will shape our future and the futures of our children. We’re honoured to be a partner of these awesome startups that will go on to achieve big things globally. It gives us immense pride to be at the start of these magical journeys, and joy in contributing to some potentially amazing futures.”

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