Turkish tech startup Ollang wins the London Business School MENA Startup competition

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Turkish tech startup, Ollang was crowned the winner of the inaugural London Business School MENA Startup Competition 2022 that was backed by global giants, Amazon Web Services Activate, Strategy&, part of the PWC network, and regional telecommunications powerhouse Zain, marks the first time the London Business School has brought its highly successful entrepreneurship model to the Middle East.

Ollang, a provider of end-to-end human powered AI localisation through subtitles and dubbing for video and audio, and runner-up Vaqat from the UAE, an online platform for companies outsourcing intern support, were announced during the finals held last week in Dubai at the DIFC campus. The 12 finalists made their pitches to the prestigious judging panel made up of Roger Rabbat of Strategy&, Manya Pamnani of Dubai Cultiv8, part of Dubai Economy, Jane Khedair, Executive Director of the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital, Philipp Pabst of Dubai Future District Fund and Haya AlMana, currently heading Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Zain Kuwait.

London Business School is leading the charge for entrepreneurs, recognised as being a powerful hub for its global network of alumni entrepreneurs. Its highly successful London-based Incubator has supported and developed over 100 new ventures, helping them to raise an impressive £100 million in seed capital; and it was recently reported in Business Leader, the School’s alumni raised almost $4 billion of funding for their companies last year.

Commenting after the final, one of the competition judges, Jane Khedair, Executive Director of London Business School’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital (IEPC) said “This competition has exceeded our expectations and we look forward to expanding our involvement in the startup community in the Middle East in the near future. The innovation and entrepreneurship on display was truly inspiring. Tech startup Ollang, were worthy winners, though I have no doubt many of the finalists will go on to great success with their ventures. I very much hope that this competition can provide the platform for LBS’ next unicorn business and develop the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow.”

The London Business School model provides mentorship to startups and access to VCs and has a proven track record of success. Over 93% early-stage companies supported by the London Business School programme over the last 5 years go on to sustained business success.

Ollang, the winning startup provides end-to-end human powered AI localisation through subtitles and dubbing for video and audio globalisation teams, changing the way people communicate. It merges human intelligence with the AI automation power and brings out a technology that it calls: Ollang Augmented Intelligence.

On winning the event, Ebru Yildirim, Founder of Ollang said “It is a huge honour to be announced as the winner of the inaugural London Business School MENA Startup Competition 2022. The finalists we participated alongside brought incredible ideas and innovation to the competition. We are extremely grateful to be recognised in this prestigious event and to take away the coveted prize. The opportunity provided by the school, the Entrepreneurship Club and Institute of Entrepreneurship and Private Capital is fantastic for startups, helping inspire new entrepreneurs in the region. We are excited for what this achievement means to us as a business, and as we now strive to go to the next level and continue to grow.”

Ollang walks away with a $15,000 cash prize along with runner up Vaqat receiving $5,000. Beyond this, the competition gives startups the opportunity to develop traction for their companies, reach a wider audience, gain financial investment with access to VCs, exposure to the London Business School global network, and increase their media exposure.

Runner-up Vaqat, founded by LBS alumnus Daniel Robaczewsk, is a platform where companies outsource intern-like tasks to pre-vetted students and can hire the best of them full-time. This platform enables employees to get an intern on-demand, for students to explore various careers, while talent acquisition managers can identify top talent.

Speaking at the event, co-founder and CEO of Livspace Anuj Srivastava and LBS alumnus said “Being a part of the LBS MENA Startup competition has been really inspiring and amazing. It was heartening to see and hear the finalists who have come up with some really exciting and cool ideas. Startups have always been the centre of innovation and incubation of innovative solutions, and it is vital that such forward thinking solutions and services get all the recognition they truly deserve. As a proud alumnus of LBS, I was elated to be at the event and supporting the LBS Middle East fraternity as they enable these incredible entrepreneurs to shape their business journey.”

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