Startups driving AI innovation, VC Funding and the Indian-UAE technology ties key highlights on Day 2
DUBAI, UAE, Oct. 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — AI is booming, and startups are at the heart of this revolution. OpenAI triggered the current AI phenomenon when it launched ChatGPT in November last year. Today, generative AI has the potential to generate up to $4.4 trillion in value across industries. Expand North Star organized by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) hosted AI Monday today to showcase over 400 AI- infused startups. Moreover, AI was a common theme across all the conference tracks.
A panel discussion titled ‘Generative AI Market Map worth $98 Billion: VCs Hungry for Startups in AI & DeepTech: Overhyped or the Next Frontier?’ discussed how AI startup innovations are transforming the enterprise. The session was moderated by Aly Madhavji, Managing Partner, Blockchain Founders Fund.
During the session, the panelists discussed challenges for early-stage startups and what due diligence is required of them as they grow. Dhianu Das, Founder, Agility Ventures, India, Dan Bowyer, Partner, SuperSeed VC, UK and Chirag Gupta, Managing Partner, 8X Ventures, India, noted that a challenging macro environment and tighter spending are pushing companies to reduce costs. To address these pain points, organisations are turning to AI has proved invaluable in helping businesses streamline operations. “Eventually, every business will be an AI business. This demonstrates how transformative AI is. To me, AI is this generation’s internet moment,” said Bowyer.
UAE, Saudi, Lead MENA Fundraising
According to the Q3 2023 MENA Venture Investment Premium Report by startup data platform MAGNiTT, MENA venture funding in the third quarter saw $250M raised across 78 deals, a 32% increase compared to Q2 of 2023. This contributed to $1.4 billion raised through 286 transactions in the first nine months of 2023. Saudi Arabia and UAE led the region in capital raised, with the Kingdom reporting a 172% QoQ increase. Conversely, the Emirates registered a 55% upswing in new funding. By the number of transactions, UAE has seen the most activity, capturing a third of all deals closed in MENA for the first nine months of 2023.
Speaking at Expand North Star AI Monday, MAGNiTT Founder and CEO Philip Bahoshy, attributed to Q3 performance to a series of mega deals ($100 million plus investment deals) across the region. In a media note ahead of the report’s launch, Baloshy noted the rise in new VC funds. In MENA, UAE’s Chimera Capital and Aliph Capital have launched new funds, and in Saudi Arabia IMPACT46 and KAUST have raised funds to deploy in local startups. “We’ll be keenly tracking the pace at which this dry powder translates into investments. In fact, investment activity in Q4’23 will be a good indicator of the strength of 2024’s VC landscape.”
India in the Spotlight as India-UAE Links Deepen
Expand North Star 2023 hosts the largest gathering of Indian startups ever outside India. As India and the UAE continue to strengthen their already solid economic ties, there’s growing interest among India’s tech titans for the UAE’s emerging digital economy. A panel comprising some of India-origin most successful entrepreneurs discussed what the evolving India-UAE story means for startups and the next logical steps for startups from the sub-continent to establish themselves in the Arab world’s second-largest economy.
Rohit Chennamaneni, Founder, Darwinbox, Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Co-Founder & CEO of Urban Company, Amit Zutshi, Founder and Managing Partner of Morphosis Venture Capital Limited, Ramakant Sharma, Founder, LivSpace collectively discussed scaling across borders. They recommended a base revenue of at least $50 million before considering international expansion. To determine true product-market fit, it’s crucial for B2B companies, especially in enterprise technology, to have a strong presence and see through a renewal cycle, the audience heard.
According to the expert panelists, physical presence and local expertise, tailored to the region’s context, are highly effective in gaining a competitive edge. Ultimately, the core principles of B2C should remain consistent, but all other factors, including services, operating models, and initial go-to-market strategies, should be adapted for the specific market.
Hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy and organised by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) Expand North Star marks its largest-ever edition this year, from 15-18 October 2023, at its new Dubai Harbour venue. The landmark global gathering welcomes over 1,800 startups across GITEX Global and Expand North Star from more than 100 countries. More than 1,000 investors with a combined total of over US$ 1 trillion under management are in Dubai, which is rapidly emerging as the heart of the world’s digital economy.
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About Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC):
A global business facilitator since 1979, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) is home to region’s leading purpose-built convention and exhibition centre. DWTC provides a platform for connecting people, products, innovation and ideas from around the world through a dynamic calendar of international trade exhibitions and its own roster of sector leading mega events. As a designated free zone, complemented by award-winning commercial real estate, DWTC plays an integral role in Dubai and the region’s growth story with an estimated total economic output of AED 200 Billion, attracting over 30 Million business visitors to Dubai over the past four decades.
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Zetrix and Beitou Launch Digital ID & Driver’s Licence Services on Blockchain
Service is the first global W3C-compliant Verifiable Credential implementation and will be initially used by China domestic users travelling abroad
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Dec. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Zetrix, a layer 1 public blockchain platform, today announced the launch of its groundbreaking Digital Credentials platform, ushering in a new era of secure, convenient, and interoperable credentials verification. This innovative solution addresses the challenges of traditional paper-based credentials, offering a range of benefits that will transform the way individuals, organisations, and governments interact in the digital realm.
The launch marks the commercialisation of the collaboration announced on 18th September 2023 between Malaysia’s MY E.G. Services Berhad and China’s state-owned Guangxi Beitou IT Innovation Technology Investment Group Co Ltd (“Beitou”), the IT arm of Guangxi Beibu Gulf Investment Group listed as one of China’s Top 500 enterprises.
The launch was held on 9th December 2023 at Ritz-Carlton Hotel Kuala Lumpur and officiated by Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The service initially will be offered to domestic China nationals who can choose to digitise their National ID or driving licence as a Verifiable Credential (“VC”) on Xinghuo International, the international gateway for China’s national Public Blockchain. Through Zetrix, which is integrated with Xinghuo, the National ID or driving licence VC can then be presented abroad to be authenticated by any verifier wishing to verify the relevant identity or driving licence data according to their needs.
Beitou IT’s integration to China’s nationwide police and transport department databases ensures seamless authentication and digitisation of the documents into VCs.
Furthermore, in view of the immutability of blockchain, verifiers will have the assurance of knowing that the VCs and all data contained in the document are true and genuine.
It is foreseen that besides IDs and driving licences, other important credential documents held by individuals or businesses would also be digitised as VCs in the near future.
Enhancing Security and Combating Breach of Data
The use of digital credentials, with the initial pilot of driving licences based on blockchain technology will significantly enhance security and combat counterfeiting of electronic licences. By leveraging on the Self Sovereign Identity (“SSI”) framework, Zetrix’s Digital Credentials platform enables the real time verification of documents digitised as Verifiable Credentials, providing a robust defence against fraud and forgery.
“In addition to ensuring authenticity, documents digitised as Verifiable Credentials offer the ability for selective disclosure or confirmation of data. For instance, document holders can have their age or their home location verified without actually having to provide their date of birth or full address. This is extremely useful as it protects raw user data from being shared unless absolutely necessary, thus reducing the possibilities of cyber attacks,” explained TS Wong, founder of Zetrix.
Lai Shuiping, Chairman of the Board of Guangxi Beitou IT Innovation Investment Group Co.,Ltd, Lai Shuiping, said: “The China-ASEAN digital driving license cross-border verification platform is jointly developed by Beitou IT and MYEG. The platform will continue to expand into providing more convenient services for communication between citizens of China and ASEAN countries, and promote economic development across the entire region.”
“In future, Beitou IT will further strengthen cooperation with Malaysian enterprises in the field of transportation digitalisation, and promote continuous improvement of intelligent transportation in ASEAN countries,” Lai added.
Multi-Chain e-Wallet for International Travelers
Zetrix’s Digital Credentials platform also leverages a multi-chain e-wallet that is able to store Zetrix’s native tokens as well as VCs from Xinghuo International and Ethereum. This feature facilitates seamless cross chain transactions and simplifies identity and document verification across multiple scenarios, enhancing the experience for travelling individuals.
The digital credentials service exemplifies the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards of Verifiable Credentials and Decentralised Identifiers as Self-Sovereign Identity. This will be a key catalyst to enable a greater interoperability across blockchains and decentralised applications.
Zetrix is a layer-1 public blockchain that facilitates smart contracts and delivers privacy, security and scalability. Zetrix’s cryptographic infrastructure can be introduced to multiple industries to connect governments, businesses and their citizens to a global blockchain-based economy. Developed by MY E.G. Services Bhd, the cross-border and cross-chain integration with China enables Zetrix to serve as a blockchain gateway that facilitates global trade by deploying critical building blocks for Web3 services such as Blockchain-based Identifiers (BID) and Verifiable Credentials (VC).
About Guangxi Beitou IT Innovation Technology Investment Group Co Ltd
Guangxi Beitou IT Innovation Investment Group Co. (Beitou IT) stands as a wholly owned subsidiary of Beibu Gulf Investment Group (Beitou Group), boasting total assets exceeding 300 billion RMB. Established in October 2020 with a registered capital of 1 billion RMB, Beitou IT has emerged as the foremost digital company in Southwest China. Beitou IT strategically concentrates on four primary business domains: ITAI project implementation and operation, IT product R&D, integration and sales, and the development of New Infrastructure. Over the past three years, Beitou IT has successfully undertaken numerous government and enterprise-level projects encompassing digital government, digital transportation, digital port, smart court, and enterprise digitalization.
With a workforce exceeding 400 employees, Beitou IT houses a team of hardware and software engineers, where over 50% hold master’s degrees from esteemed universities. The team includes 2 State Council-subsidized experts, numerous district industrial authorized experts, and a Fin-Tech expert from the ‘Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan Talent Project.’ This robust talent pool positions Beitou IT as one of the rare state-owned digital companies capable of independent R&D.
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Sustainability Empowerment, Brand Upgrade VIVOTEK among Taiwan’s Best Global Brands
TAIPEI, Dec. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — VIVOTEK (3454TW), the global leading IP surveillance solution provider, has been selected to the Best Taiwan Global Brands, and consistently earned market recognition. The three development engines of operational excellence, comprehensive brand management, and active promotion of sustainable actions, have elevated the brand above competition to display outstanding brand value.
Best Taiwan Global Brands is organized by the Industrial Development Bureau, MOEA, and valuation is carried out by Interbrand, a global authority on brand valuation; this year, ESG was also included as key standards of valuation. In 2022, VIVOTEK set a record high in revenue with annual consolidated revenue reaching USD $332 million, achieving a growth rate of 82% compared to the same period in 2021. In addition to displaying operational strengths, VIVOTEK also advocated several sustainable actions, while also encouraging its employees to practice environmental protection both at work and in daily life, further earning the approval of the organizer.
“Being selected to Taiwan’s Best Global Brands is a recognition of the company’s strengths,” pointed out Allen Hsieh, VIVOTEK Spokesperson and Director of Global Marketing Division. “Brand power is not just manifested through the technical aspect of products, but also through the CSR aspect. By embedding ESG into our brand’s DNA, we not only adopt sustainable thinking, but also create a differentiated brand image. In the future, VIVOTEK will continue to empower our brand through ESG, while also constantly promoting smart and green innovations of security and protection technology, steering the brand towards greater value of sustainable development.”
Evolution of the brand is the firm starting point of VIVOTEK’s brand management. Through redefining identity and slogan, “We Get The Picture,” VIVOTEK breaks the limitations of the industry to redefine its brand value, establishing its unique status within the security and protection industry. By grasping the opportunity of technical innovation, VIVOTEK combines its hardware advantage and software capability to expand its deployment of security and protection solutions, becoming a leading solution provider, while also actively exploring the market of AI security and protection, such as: successfully launching innovative VORTEX smart cloud surveillance service that focuses on customer needs and accumulating many successful cases around the world. Recently, VIVOTEK was ranked number 12 among a&s Security 50, reaching the highest spot ever, and this is the very manifestation of the brand’s continued improvement of brand competitiveness.
VIVOTEK is a leading surveillance brand that strives for sustainability and began deploying ESG strategy many years ago. Key measures include voluntary publication of sustainability report for six consecutive years, participation in the RE100 global corporate renewable energy initiative, and promotion of renewable energy applications. More recently, VIVOTEK has incorporated the principle of sustainability into its product box design, reutilizing packaging of its products to create eco-friendly smartphone holders. This marks the first time the brand’s innovative sustainability principle has been extended through its products. VIVOTEK also plans to launch a product carbon footprint project in 2024 to facilitate formulation of comprehensive carbon reduction strategy, further strengthening brand development and upgrading sustainable operations.
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Belgian Commitment to Partnership Supports a New Frontier of Europe-US Space Research
BRUSSELS, Dec. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has travelled to Houston, United States, to meet Raphaël Liégeois, the Belgian career astronaut selected as part of the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut class of 2022. De Croo’s visit coincides with the ESA cohort’s familiarisation trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, which is the precursor to a further two years of training, delivered in Houston, to prepare the astronauts for their respective missions on the International Space Station. The visit signals a new phase of the long-standing collaboration between Europe and the United States on space research and exemplifies Belgium’s commitment to partnerships in facing global challenges.
Belgium’s expertise in aerospace, and in science more generally, is internationally recognised – in terms of both training and industry. Belgium is a founding member of the ESA and its fifth-largest funder. The country’s support of the ESA shows its commitment to shaping the development of Europe’s space capability and ensuring that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
“For Belgians, the sky isn’t the limit, the universe is,” said De Croo. “Today, we are very proud to see Raphaël take this important step in his career as an astronaut. He will be an important role model for many generations of STEM students to come. Space research and innovation hold particular importance for Belgium; they are powerful economic drivers which foster the growth of high-tech industries and create jobs – as evidenced by the number of Belgian companies on the cutting edge of aeronautics.”
The 17 members of the ESA astronaut class of 2022 were selected from a pool of over 23,000 applicants. The process, designed to bring together the finest scientific minds that Europe has to offer, took place over a period lasting 18 months.
The selection of Raphaël Liégeois is testament to Belgium’s focus on embracing openness, driven by innovation, partnerships, and diversity, to create solutions that drive progress for all.
Located in the heart of Europe, Belgium is one of the most open economies in the world, counting 11.5 million people with a reputation for innovation, hard work, partnership, and multilingualism. Strategically located between Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Luxembourg, and only a stone’s throw from the UK, it lies at the centre of the richest and most densely populated area in Europe. A member of the European Union, Belgium enjoys full access to the world’s most advanced single market and customs zone which ensures extensive frictionless trade.
Belgium boasts a highly developed transport infrastructure, including the second largest seaport in Europe (Antwerp). Belgium is home to world-leading research and innovation facilities, multinational corporations, and artisanal businesses supported by the investor-centric approach of public services.
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