Qatari startup ADGS receives first grant to support development of cyber security product
Qatar Foundation Research Development and Innovation (QF RDI) recently launched a new funding initiative ‘Innovation Coupon’ – signing an agreement with its first beneficiary ADGS – a local SME that sells a suite of products that utilise artificial intelligence (AI), behavioural biometrics and emergent behaviour.
The signing ceremony was held at the QF RDI offices, led by officials from both organisations.
Innovation Coupon is aimed at Qatar-based SME or startups in all sectors and industries that are engaged in the development of new technology-rich products and services. The fund is designed to benefit companies that have the needed capacity and technical knowledge to develop their product or service but require more support to resolve a specific technical or business problem. The fund may award up to 50% of the problem-solving costs for a period of up to six months.
Dr Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research Development and Innovation at Qatar Foundation said that the development of the Innovation Coupon highlights their commitment to foster local product innovation and support the development of the SME sector in Qatar. He said that the initiative will support startup businesses to overcome many of the growth challenges they face and the fund can help them improve vital aspects of their business.
We are proud to be supporting entrepreneurship in Qatar this way, and we are confident that the Innovation Coupon will act as a vehicle to push forward the growth of many more promising local startups who are producing innovative solutions for Qatar, the region, and beyond.’
Beneficiaries must use at least 25% of the awarded amount to cover the contracting costs of a local research institute – such as QF research institutes and QF partner universities – or other local expert company or individual, thereby taking advantage of the local innovation ecosystem in developing new products and services.
Innovation Coupon will support its first recipient, ADGS, by supplementing their capacity to further develop their cyber security product, STROKK. The software adds an organic security layer on any system, in any language, and renders stolen passwords useless to hackers by learning the way an individual types to clearly recognise the user. STROKK is currently being purchased by customers in industries that are highly sensitive to cyber security such as finance, banking, defence, the armed forces, and intelligence services in several countries.
ADGS is working to port its security solution from a Windows to a Unix-based environment. The ADGS team will use the funds from QF RDI to employ external support in order to allow the company to continue its expansion.
The funds were awarded after a rigorous assessment process where applicants are required to specify how the money will be spent, and the major milestones to be met.
ADGS President, Hassan Al Ansari said they are very proud to be the recipients of the very first coupon from QF RDI. He said that the funds will allow them to resolve a process that will ensure they continue delivering their innovative product to local, regional and international markets.
After the completion of the funding cycle, beneficiaries are expected to report on the progress of the innovation for a certain number of years to allow QF RDI to assess the impact of the funding provided.
Dr. O’Kennedy said the mechanics of the programme allow QF to ensure the funds are supporting committed SMEs that will deliver impact in the local economy.
The size of the innovation ecosystem in Qatar is such that we can allocate greater resources for a higher number of SME. This enables us to transfer expert knowledge from our side to the SME to help them innovate in the local economy. We even provide support to startups by helping them build a strong application for the fund. For next year’s cycle, we expect to have a bigger budget to benefit more companies.’