Fourteen teams of aspiring techpreneurs battled it out to attract investors as they pitched their ideas to the local tech community during Demo Day of the 8th Cycle of the XLR8 programme of Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), held earlier this month.

The 8th cycle of the intensive two-month training and mentorship programme welcomed for the first time, the three finalists of Stars of Science Season 11, Qatar Foundation’s edutainment reality TV show and the leading innovation show in the Arab world.

QSTP Demo dayIn another first for XLR8, Demo Day featured an online audience vote to select the top three startups, which received three months of mentorship and a fast-tracked process to be incubated in QSTP. ClassTap, a lifestyle company offering access to every fitness class at every gym with a single membership, won first place; while Fire Cruise, a remotely-operated firefighting vehicle that helps oil and gas companies safely extinguish fires and reduce accidents, ranked second. Hitch, a pay-per-minute car rental service, allowing customers to plan commutes on the go, came in third.

The event, which brought together over 200 attendees at QSTP, saw the graduating teams present their startup ideas to an audience of seasoned technology professionals and industry experts, in a bid to secure the support of investors to launch their startups.

QSTP Demo DayAccording to QSTP Executive Director Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh,  all teams demonstrated passion, determination and innovative approaches.

QSTP’s association with these entrepreneurs does not end here; in fact, our journey together has only just begun.’

He said that their technology development and innovation value-chain is geared towards ensuring that graduates of XLR8 will develop their ideas and prototypes further, establish viable startups, and drive their businesses to commercial success.

The competing teams shortlisted as finalists had to undergo a competitive selection process by QSTP.

Teams included Partix, a mobile app that helps mechanics and car owners find spare parts with best available price; QashCard, a mobile wallet app offering customers cashbacks for shopping; and Thought Square, a digital platform that gathers innovative thinkers from around the world to co-define challenges and co-design solutions.

Habes Howail, Founder and CEO of Thought Square, said the ten-week programme was very impressive.

Each session taught us a new skill to further develop our projects. A distinguished panel of mentors guided us throughout the programme and enriched our experience through their expertise in finance, business, design, and marketing aspects.’

Over the course of the programme, participating teams received intensive guidance from mentors who specialise in the commercialisation of tech-based innovations, and have years of hands-on, industry experience in launching and developing tech-based startups.

XLR8, a key component of QSTP’s mission to create a vibrant tech innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar, helps participants transform their tech ideas into functioning prototypes, to further develop them into market-viable solutions. Since its inception in 2015, more than 300 participants have graduated from the XLR8 programme.

Through this programme, QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation, contributes to Qatar’s journey towards a sustainable and diversified economy, in line with the broader vision of Qatar Foundation.

For more information on QSTP programmes and events, visit their website at qstp.org.qa