An innovative idea to assist people in Qatar with their regular budgeting when shopping and spending, will soon become a reality thanks to the acclaimed XLR8 programme of Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP).

The brains behind KARTY – founder Mohammed Suleiman and co-founder Abdulaziz Al Marri – are urging fellow entrepreneurs to follow their example and sign-up now for the popular accelerator programme.

KARTY is a FinTech start up, which has developed a pre-paid bank card under the same name, that can be topped up using a debit or credit card and is associated with an app to monitor purchases and help with budget management. KARTY emerged as winner of the 10th Cycle of the XLR8 programme, which held its Demo Day last month.

KARTY aims to improve daily user spending experience through technology that leverages transaction data to provide a rich, customised user experience, Suleiman explained.

It is the first bank card and FinTech startup in Qatar to simplify and deliver a user-friendly digital budgeting and planning experience to retail customers, aiding their financial vocabulary and awareness through powerful analytical tools.

Suleiman and Al Marri said that improvements on their original concept for KARTY was made possible because of the guidance and support from expert mentors, and the strong innovation ecosystem at QSTP.

XLR8 motivated us to go ahead and execute our idea even as we were solving multiple problems within the domestic market. The programme helped us plan our business better and connected us to brilliant industry mentors.

According to Suleiman, they learned several key concepts and tactics such as customer traction testing and pitching skills, as well as an overview of relevant financial legislations in Qatar.

The hands-on mentors at QSTP really gave us tremendous support, providing experienced insights that elevated our plans.

Explaining the motivation behind KARTY, Al-Marri said, “Citizens and residents in Qatar struggle with budget planning and allocation, analyzing monthly spending, and experience lengthy processes when moving money among family and friends. We would like to solve all these issues – and more – through KARTY.”

Having experienced the benefits of getting into the XLR8 programme, Al Marri lauded the intensive training and mentorship programme’s significant contribution to establishing local start ups which lead to economic diversification.

We felt the XLR8 programme was tailored to us, and each team received dedicated attention and mentorship. For enterprising youths like us, it is a perfect guide to the world of tech start ups and entrepreneurship.

XLR8, says Al Marri, plays a major role in building and growing the tech start up culture and ecosystem in Qatar, improving the country’s private sector and helping transform start ups into small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) that contribute to the community, and to the country’s economy.

QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation, is a leading technology hub in the region offering support, expertise and infrastructure necessary for homegrown tech-based start ups to gain momentum and thrive.

The 11th cycle of QSTP’s XLR8 will take place virtually, giving innovators and entrepreneurs a fantastic opportunity to leverage the strengths and benefits of the 10-week programme from the convenience of their home or personal workspace. Application deadline is 25 December.

Since the programme started in 2015, no less than 26 start ups have been launched. Some 157 teams have participated in the programme – 380 people in total. A thriving network of 30 experienced mentors is dedicated to assisting participants.

The programme is open to innovators and entrepreneurs with tech-based service/product ideas, but require training, mentorship and a physical space to evaluate its commercial potential.

For more information and to apply for Cycle 11, visit qstp.org.qa.