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startAD’s Hardware Venture Launchpad is a first of its kind event in the UAE that aims to provide a platform for the region’s emerging hardware startups. The recently conducted “Demo Day” of this new initiative provided an insight into what it could entail for the region’s startup ecosystem.

20 teams from emerging hardware companies participated in the inaugural event to present their concepts to a big number attendees, including investors, the media, and the startup community.

“Unlike software startups, which need little to no upfront capital investment, hardware startups need significant infusion of resources, and a strong business model that has the manufacturing details ironed out before seeing the light of day,” stated Ramesh Jagannathan, Managing Director of startAD and Vice Provost for innovation and entrepreneurship at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Jagannathan also added that while the challenges to their mission are rather enormous, startAD is optimistic that it can help make Abu Dhabi a hotbed for hardware innovation.

The event saw three teams walking away with a prototyping grant for turning their concepts into reality. Among the winners were Maia Systems, Team Stealthy, and Startup SMADO.

Led by Saeed Alonfeli, Chief Executive of Maia Systems showcased a real-time data harvesting and analysis system aimed at helping camel racing teams. The system is designed to collect various data such as speed, fitness, and performance of the racing camels.

Team Stealthy came into the limelight due to their MedTech wearable hardware concept. The team demoed a jewelry collection for women that can be worn pre and post pregnancy. The sensors embedded into this jewelry constantly monitor important health data, such as the level of folic acid and vitamin D in the body.

The third winner, Startup SMADO wowed the attendees with its home automation smart device. Dubbed the SMADO Smart Lock, which allows the users to control their office or house doors remotely using Bluetooth connectivity.