Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program Invites Applications from Startups in Early Childhood Development

Jul 03, 2023

Techstars, the most active pre-seed investor in the world and the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority have opened applications for the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program powered by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority and the Abu Dhabi Investment Office. The Anjal Z program invites startups that operate in the early childhood development space, with a focus on families and children aged 0-8, and are dedicated to tackling challenges within the following four pillars: Health & Nutrition, Early Care & Education, Child Protection, and Family Support.

The program welcomes applications from all ECD startups. However, this year, it is especially interested in startups that harness The Power of AI to tackle ECD challenges. The ten-week program would be taking place from November 2023 to February 2024 with a four-week break for the Christmas holidays. Eligible startups can apply until August 27, 2023.


The Anjal Z program by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) is in its fourth running year and second year of partnership with Techstars. The program offers mentorship, localization, and funding support to selected startups to promote innovation in early childhood development. Its main aim is to empower global startups in the ECD space to localize their solutions to the UAE and support local startups to address critical ECD challenges across Abu Dhabi and the UAE. The program will accept applications for two distinguishable program tracks: Ignite and Launch.

Ignite Track: This track is for founders with an MRR of less than USD 20k (or similar traction), who have not raised more than USD 250k and have a team of less than 5 people. These founders will get access to our virtual world-class Masterclasses, Mentorship, Pitch Feedback sessions and so much more from leading industry-specific experts!

Launch Track: This track is for seasoned founders with an existing customer base and traction that meet certain criteria such as having an MRR of more than USD 20k (or similar traction), have not raised more than USD 1m, and having a team of more than three people. 

In addition to having access to Techstars’ world-class masterclasses, mentorship, pitch feedback sessions, the startups on the Launch Track will also be invited to take part in a four-week all-expenses paid expansion and localization program in Abu Dhabi, and have access to one of the Middle East’s largest economic hubs. These selected startups will also benefit from equity-free funding of up to USD 270,000  to support their localization efforts through a strategic partnership formed with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), the front door to the Abu Dhabi ecosystem for investors. Finally, the Anjal Z program is supported by Hub71. Hub71 is Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem that enables founders by providing access to global markets and a network of partners, a capital ecosystem, and a vibrant community filled with highly skilled talent.

Discussing the next wave of ECD-focused startups in Abu Dhabi, Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Director General of ADIO, said: “Innovations born from Abu Dhabi’s education and healthcare systems are creating outcomes with the potential to greatly benefit young people in the UAE and around the world. As the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Programme welcomes its fourth cohort, the Abu Dhabi ecosystem to pioneer transformative solutions to overcome key early childhood development challenges. ADIO shares the mindset of these innovative companies and is ready to accelerate their growth and expansion within and beyond Abu Dhabi.”

Also Speaking about the announcement, Dr Yousef Al Hammadi, Executive Director of the ECA, added: “The first three cohorts have been fantastic, and have proved that technology has a key role to play in solving critical ECD challenges. I am confident that the next cohort will enable us to continue our journey toward achieving the ECA’s mission of ensuring every young child is healthy, confident, curious, and is able to learn and develop strong values in a safe, family-friendly environment in Abu Dhabi. I believe that with the assistance of the mentorship and funding available in the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst program, the select entrepreneurs can make an important contribution to society.”

Commenting on the latest cohort of the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program, Techstars Senior Program Manager, Zoe Evans said, “The opportunity that the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program provides startups is completely unique.  Not only does it enable founders to grow their startups through the knowledge and support they receive from the Ignite Track but it provides up to $270k non-equity funding and a Go To Market Strategy for those established Launch Track startups who want to scale in the UAE by launching their solutions to the children and families of Abu Dhabi. ”

Founders interested in joining the Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst program apply here until 27 August 2023. If you have any questions, contact us at

About Techstars

Techstars is the most active pre-seed investor in the world having invested through its accelerators in more than 3,700 companies that have a accumulative market cap of USD100.3 billion. Founded in 2006, Techstars believes that entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone and great ideas can come from anywhere. They are on a mission to invest in an unprecedented number of startups per year enabling more capital to flow to more entrepreneurs around the world. Their Ecosystem Development project is designed to bring opportunities to startups in communities all over the world so that they can grow and thrive. Techstars have a portfolio of over 1,700 companies in 1,000 startup ecosystems around the world and continue to add 500 companies annually. For more information please visit 

About The Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) 

Founded in 2019, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA) is a government entity based in Abu Dhabi, overseeing the early childhood development sector in the region. They work with service-providing entities, ensuring that the entities have the right policies and legislation in place to encourage holistic early childhood development. Their startup program, Anjal Z (Generation Z), has supported 32 early and growth-stage startups through three successful cohorts since 2020.  For more information, please visit 

About the Abu Dhabi Investment Office

The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) is the entry point for local, regional, and international investors to the Abu Dhabi ecosystem. Working with ADIO, the UAE capital’s central authority for investment, the private sector can access long-term, commercially sustainable opportunities to grow with Abu Dhabi. These include access to Abu Dhabi’s land bank, large-scale government infrastructure projects, and growth-enabling support in line with the development of Abu Dhabi’s priority sectors and ADIO’s focus on scalability, innovation, and sustainability. ADIO’s work with the Abu Dhabi ecosystem - government partners, sovereigns, and national champions - is a catalyst for the development and diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy driven by the increased participation of the private sector. Investors can contact ADIO through its head office in the UAE capital or via one of its eight international offices located in Beijing, Frankfurt, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, and Tel Aviv. Visit for more information.

About Anjal Z Techstars Founder Catalyst Program

Anjal Z, an initiative led by the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), aims to instill entrepreneurship and innovation in early childhood development. The initiative’s name refers to ‘Generation Z’ in Arabic and to the generations inspired by the late founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The high-impact program empowers startups from all over the world to localize their solutions (interventions) across Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Anjal Z also engages, through its youth challenge, university students interested in entrepreneurship and its potential to solve modern challenges, to come up with innovative solutions to various early childhood development challenges, learning in the process how to take the solutions from the idea stage to startup. For more information, please visit