Intelak, which in Arabic means ‘to take off’ is the first industry-focused aviation, travel and tourism incubator in UAE that has helped three cohorts graduate effectively through the programme. Over the three cohorts, a total of 800 teams submitted ideas for consideration out of which 60 teams were selected for participation in an innovation boot camp. 12 teams were selected to go through the 90-day intensive accelerator programme at the end of which the teams made business pitches to investors as well as key stakeholders to the principal and founding partners.
The success of the startups at Intelak is measured by their continuation beyond the program and to date Intelak has experienced a success rate of about 75%.
Dubz has been one of the first success stories that emerged from the Intelak incubator programme. The startup was one of the winners of the first Intelak cohort. The team behind Dubz pitched a practical and technology-enabled service to collect and deliver passenger baggage before or after flights from passengers’ homes or hotels in Dubai. dnata, one of the world’s largest air service providers and part of the Emirates Group, has acquired a majority stake in Dubz.
Another graduate from the first cohort, The Conceptualisers, have worked on making inflight food trays lighter, ergonomic and more easily stowable. The Conceptualisers have had support from an angel investor and have also partnered up with DIAB, a leading developer of composite core material along with their production partners, suppliers and technology aids to progress towards creation of final pre-production units. The design for the trays have also been patented.
Rent2Mum, a platform that connects families with strollers at the airport and SweepTEQ, a company that detects debris on the runway through autonomous miniature pods, both graduates of the Intelak programme, have received further investment and acceleration from Sheraa, the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre.
Storage-i, an IoT (Internet of Things) technology company focusing on digitisation of physical assets using its generic IoT device, also found success through Intelak. Storage-i founder, Nikhil Goel, founded a Plug and Play company to enable multiple sensors to be connected easily to his device and this granted him one of the top four spots in the Intelak Incubator programme in January 2017. Shortly after graduating from the incubator, he presented his MVP (Minimum Viable Product) at the Dubai Futurism competition, which helped him win an AED 100,000 cash prize.
His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, said: “Intelak has induced a ripple effect of stimulating the broader innovation ecosystem in Dubai and the UAE. With Dubz and our other success stories, we are confident that more innovators in the country will be inspired to step forward to participate with their ideas. In keeping with Dubai’s vision to use innovation as one of the core pillars for progress, Intelak aims to offer a nurturing environment to innovators and in the process, redefine the aviation, travel and tourism space by infusing fresh and creative ideas into the industry.”
The success of Intelak has also led to the formation of the ‘Intelak Idea Lab’- a three week dedicated programme for Emirati Youth to help them translate their ideas into business concepts. The Idea Lab is hosted in participation with Dubai SME and takes place in Hamdan Innovation Incubator every summer. More than 30 Emirati youth have so far passed through the Idea Lab and 4 teams have also gone through the 90 day Intelak accelerator programme following their journey through Idea Lab.