The 54 hours of startup weekend started on December 8th, 2016 at 6 PM, with more than 50 participants attending and 19 pitches presented, each pitch had 60 seconds to sell their ideas to the audience, some of the pitches are Aqar call, Almoalem, Buy for me and Mulakhas. The participants voted their top 10 pitches that had the chance to create teams and start turning their ideas into a winning business concept that is scheduled to be presented on Saturday 7 PM.
Hisham Khalifa, the founder of Mulakhas, which is a system that has two purposes, the first is to allow different users to analyze different Arabic content on the internet by understanding the sentiments behind the content, negative or positive, and the second purpose is to create an effective summarization tool for Arabic content. Mr. Hisham was asked where did he get his idea from and he stated that in his previous company he used to work with different media companies and he found it to be an issue to find a reliable Arabic content analysis tool, therefore, he came up with this idea to create that tool that makes it easier for companies to understand their middle east market.
Mr. Hisham was asked what did he focus on when creating his team, and he said that he is a core developer, and he was looking for designers and native Arabic speakers to make sure that his offering is linguistically correct and he does not have to worry about it. He was also asked about what makes his idea a million dollar idea and what differentiate it from the others, and he answers by saying that his idea taps on the Arabic internet itself as there are over one hundred and forty million internet users in the middle east and it will keep on growing and this can be monetized in the way this system is going to work, and it is not going to be an easy sell, but an important system for the companies to have, as it will help international companies understand what the Middle East public’s opinion about them and how they can react to that which will allow them to step out of the dark.
Khalid Albalooshi, who is participating in Startup Weekend for the third year in a row, was asked about what makes him keep on coming back to participate in the competition and he answered that by saying that it is mostly to have fun and network, because startup weekend is not only about winning and creating products, but also fun and networking, and when asked how do you feel about coming back for the third time he said: “It feels like home.”
In an interview with Moayed Ahmed, Khalid Alshaikh and Ahmed Samara, engineers participating for the first time with their idea “ARCH VR”, which is a virtual reality experience of buildings before it is being built, as what is happening right now is that clients get 2D and 3D visualization of their buildings which does not allow them to fully understand their design, but with VR, the clients will have the ability to walk inside their designs entirely, and allow them to make instant changes in their design, which will allow for cost optimization since changes will be made in the conception phase and not later after building the building. This idea is not limited to buildings alone, but also events and exhibitions. When asked where did they get their idea from, Moayed stated that the idea was on his mind before but it was not applicable unless complicated means are used like a projector and other equipment, but with VR tools it made it easier to turn it into reality. Adding to that, Khalid stated that both himself and Moayed are actually engineers and that is where the idea came from, by merging both their expertise together, architecture engineering and civil engineering, and utilizing on the new technology.
The team was formed by having someone who have technical expertise in developing a software using Sketch up, 3D MAX and other types of engineering softwares, and a marketing person who can sell the product to clients. When asked, what makes their idea a winning concept, they answered by saying that it is a solution that allows for a fast process optimization in any construction, development or production that could take place, and a factor here is time as it is the most important thing, and time wasted is a time that you cannot get back and our business saves the clients’ a lot of time which is the most precious thing.